Sequin Fabric Sewing: The Perfect 7 Steps

Sequin fabric, the peacock of the fabric world. So lovely, so sparkly, and so difficult to resist. However, many of our customers are confused about how to sew it. Many clients, in addition, ask this question in person or onn social media. Today, we'll give you some pointers that will aid you in any case.

There are already a lot of fantastic sewing with sequins techniques out there that have helped me along the way, but I thought it would be worthwhile to offer my two cents on what has worked for me and where I've fallen into trouble.

1) SELECT A EASY PATTERN

To begin, check to see if your fabric has any elasticity. Sequin fabric can be stretchable (hello, ice dance costume!) or not, so pick a pattern that works for you. Because sequins are much thicker than conventional fabric, you'll want to go with a simple form with few pattern elements. (This will also assist you with tip number two.)

Choose a dress pattern like the Mesa Dress, which has a simple front and back and no darts, instead of one with princess seams (check out my sequin Mesa Dress here). Try a Lou Box Top or a Nita Wrap Skirt from one of my patterns for separates. Both passed the sequin test with flying colors. Victoria shared a sequin Lou Box Top on Instagram last month that is to die for. It's a pretty simple form with only two pattern pieces, and I've included directions for lining it as well. Last month, I made a Nita Wrap Skirt out of sequin fabric and posted specific instructions here.

2) INCLUDE AN INTERIOR LINER

As someone who hasn't worn a lot of sequin fabrics, I had no idea how scratchy and uncomfortable they are. Choose a pattern that contains a lining or add one to the pattern when sewing your own clothing.

3) MAINTAIN YOUR EQUIPMENT

Sequins are nastier than they appear, and they will dull any blade. So, instead of using your serger, cut the fabric with an ordinary pair of scissors. I used a leather needle and sewed right through the sequins, as suggested by By Hand London. The fabric is pierced with a leather needle, and I had no troubles.

BONUS TIP: If your sequin fabric is stretchy, make sure you use a stretchy stitch. (However, don't use the serger.) I went with a small zig-zag stitch, which worked perfectly.

4) SEQUINS WILL BE USED EVERYWHERE

Cover the place where you'll be cutting the sequin fabric with a drop cloth. This was particularly problematic when I constructed this sequin dress and cut the sequins out of the hem allowance. I'm still discovering sequins a year later (which may say more about my housekeeping ;).

5) DON'T SWEAT

It's fine to leave the sequins in the seam allowance if you're lazy or short on time, and your sequins are little. That is, admittedly, a touchy subject. It's a personal preference, however, I found sequin removal to be extremely time-consuming and not worth the effort.

There was no convenient way to remove a bunch of little sequins at once because I was working with a serpentine design. It took hours, and my hand hurt from gripping the seam ripper so tightly. I might spend the extra time to remove the sequins if I was going to wear the sequin clothing frequently or for a highly significant function. However, I've only worn my sequin clothing once (or never! ), so spending hours removing sequins and making a huge mess wasn't worth it to me.

In this post on the We All Sew blog, Sara does an excellent job of explaining both ways (removing and not removing the sequins).

6) PRESS BUT DON'T IRON

Although the heat from an iron can harm the sequins, you'll want to make sure the seams are as flat as possible. You'll need some pressure to flatten the sequins if you're not removing them from the seam allowance. Finger pressing can sometimes work, but if you require greater effort, a rolling pin or something similar can be used.

7) REMEMBER NOT TO TOPSTITCH

With sequin fabric, a topstitch will not work, but since you've added a lining, you can slip stitch the hem to the lining. If your cloth is elastic, make sure you use a stretchy hand stitch. Fortunately for you, I have a lesson right here on how to accomplish it.