Recently I've been working on sewing a sequin dress, so I thought it appropriate that I share my top tips for working with this tricky and sometimes bothersome fabric (some of which were found out the hard way!!).
I hadn't sewn with sequins before and it was on my sewing bucket list, hence why I gave it a whirl. Halfway through the sewing I held it up to my friend and in a moment of hesitance asked "is it too much?" she replied "it's a sequin dress Gemma, what did you expect?". Naturally I soldiered on, keeping everything crossed that I'd be able to rock the spangly, sparkliness that sequins bring to a frock:)
Here are my tips for working with sequins:
1. Can you sew through your sequins?
First of all, test sewing on a small piece of the fabric.
I always start by test sewing on a small piece of the fabric. Some sequins will need to be removed at the seamline as they are too chunky to sew through and will result in broken needles. Luckily I chose a fabric that had micro sequins, which I could sew through and this definitely made my life easier. If you do need to remove the sequins for sewing try to cutting the sequins themselves away rather than cutting the thread that holds them to the garment. Often sequins are sewn on continuously so if you remove one it will continue to unravel.
2. Use a denim/jeans needle in your sewing machine.
A denim needle is a great option for sewing with sequins as it nice and sturdy. Buy a pack though as the odd one might still break.
3. Hand sew sequins back on at the end if you loose too many.
If you have a section that looks a little sparse or bald keep a collection of sequins that have fallen off and sew these back on by hand to rectify this.
4. Encase the raw edges of your garment
As well as lining my dress I used the netting at the selvedges of the fabric to bind the raw edges of the fabric. This reduced the number of sequins falling off my dress.
5. Line your garment.
It's definitely worth lining sequins as they can be uncomfortable to wear, particularly where they might rub.
6. Use a similar fabric for a toile
If you like to make a toile when you sew, use a similar fabric to the sequin fabric. A lot of sequin fabric will have a percentage of stretch, so if you want to make sure you use fabric with a similar stretch.
7. Use Iron on Interfacing to add structure
I needed my sequin fabric to be more structured and have less drape so I applied iron-on, woven interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. I found that this made it easier to work with.
8. Don't use your best scissors
Your scissors or rotary cutter will dull when cutting sequins so don't use your best pair.
9. Use a pressing cloth and start with a low heat
Take care when pressing. Start with a low heat and definitely use a pressing cloth. Try and press from the wrong side of the fabric where possible.
10. Accept that you WILL end up with sequins EVERYWHERE!!
Happy sewing with sequins!!