Friday, January 15, 2016

Ohhhh, so sparkly!!! A sequined top!

The end of December marked my 45th birthday. Originally I was planning a big ole super fun and crazy house party to celebrate my birthday and New Years. However... With the onset of pancreatitis in November and ensuing health crap I decided to scale back a bit and go for a small gathering to be able to sit around our big table and play some fun party games. This worked out great! Since I can't eat anything fun and the most exciting thing I've had to drink in months is ginger ale, at least I could partake in some Cards Against Humanity and some fun Left Right Center. 

Everyone else got to drink and eat the fun stuff and I thoroughly enjoyed the merriment! (And the lack of hangover in the morning!!)

Being silly with my girlfriends!

I decided to mark the occasion that I would tackle a sequined top! I have always wanted to make somethings out of sequined fabric. Now, I'm not talking about the knit fabric with sequins fused into it. I'm talking about hi end real sequined fabric where each sequin is individually attached to the backing fabric. 

What a perfect challenge to end 2015 with!!! 
I picked up the fabric on my travels at Les Fabriques in Southern Virgina. 

I'm glad I gave myself plenty of time to make this top.
Let me briefly outline the steps and the estimated time of each one. 

Step one. Choose an appropriate pattern from pattern stash. Well, there wasn't one. I mean I had plenty of contenders but for real sequins there really needs to be a minimum of seams and no darts. Not that those aren't doable, just not for my first sequined garment! And upon a Google search many sequined garments are a very simple shape and looser silhouette.  Time spent: 2 hours

Step two: in the end I choose my TNT tank top/camisole pattern that started as a Silhouettes pattern. It has evolved over the past couple of years into something of my own. This is a simple pattern with just 2 pieces. A front with darts and cut on the fold and back cut on the fold. Now for another change! I decided to re-draft the front piece to eliminate the darts. After I redrafted the front piece and walked the side seams I quickly sewed up a muslin to check fit. Time spent: 2 1/2 hours

Step three: cut out the front and back pieces. I did this with a heavier pair of scissors that just cut right through the sequins! I then had to spend some time aligning all the sequins in the right direction and checking for missing sequins and any damaged sequins within the body of the cut pieces. Ugh.... When I talk about aligning the sequins, I mean that the sequins are attached by a little hole at the top of the sequin. Then the hang free at the bottom. As you handle the fabric, have it lightly folded or even turn it upside down these sequins have the tendency to flip up and get stuck under the row above. It's wonderful having them hang free because as you move in the garment there is this very light tinkling sound of the sequins. Time spent: 3 hours
Here you can see see what I mean about the sequins being flipped up.

Step four: trim all the sequins out of the seam allowances. Oh jeez! I really could have used a bottle of wine for this step!!! Time spent: 3 hours

Let's do a quick recap here... I've now spent over 10 hours and I haven't even started sewing yet...
This better turn out to be a damn nice top!

Step five: sew the side seams and the shoulder seams. Time spent: 15 mins

Step six: make and apply bias facing for the armholes and neckline. In order to do this I had to make a trip to the fabric store. I was originally just going to use some bias strips of cream silk organza but I didn't like how it looked. The bias facings needed to be a bit more substantial and match the sequins and give some depth and definition. At this point I only had time for a trip to JoAnne's, New Years was just 3 days away! Luckily, I found a poly charmeuse in a perfect match. I much prefer working with silk but with the poly charmeuse being used on the bias I was able to coax it into submission. I hand sewed on the facings. Time spent: 5 hours 

Step seven: make a facing for the hem. Nope, no time. I skipped this step completely!!! After all the netting not the sequins are attached to does not ravel so I just carefully trimmed the backing so you can't see it and left it at that. Time spent: 10 mins

Step eight: last step!!! With just a couple hours to go until my guests arrived I was furiously hand sewing on sequins to spots that had no sequins. There were just a couple spots in the yard that I had bought that was missing a couple and of course they were in the middle of my top! I also had to sew some back onto the seam allowances specifically around the neckline where I had to take them off to apply the facings. These were just at the very edge. Time spent: 1 hour

Overall time spent: 17 hours for a simple tank top with a front and back piece and bias facings for armholes and neckline. Whew! 

Was it worth it?? YES!! I love the top! This will be in my wardrobe for many years :) 

Such a fun an pd beautiful top! I love the feel of it, very smooth and cool and the drape is just beautiful and liquid like. 

Have you sewn with sequins? It was a fun process, just leave yourself plenty of time!!

Happy sewing! 


  1. It looks fabulous on you, Steph. You did a great job. I think I might be ready to tackle sequined fabric soon.

    1. Thank you Wendy! It was quite a challenge. I think you would be up to the challenge :)

  2. Happy Belated Birthday, and what a lovely top. Turned out great!


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