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All you need to know about sewing with two-way sequins

I was a bit over excited on our last trip to Empress Mills when I discovered the magic sequin fabric they have in stock.

I had seen a Facebook video showing how this fabric changes colour when you stroke it, but I hadn't quite realised how cool it would be in real life.

The excitement was enough to encourage me to overcome my fear of sewing sequins and try and run up something in time for the party season.  So I came away with three-quarters of a metre of bronze (turning to silver) fabric and a plan to make a simple skirt.

This fabric has stretch so I knew I could eliminate a zip and waistband from the start.  I used a basic skirt pattern which only includes darts at the back.  

Cutting Out

The front and back pieces were cut out on the fold.  The stretch of the fabric goes around my body and even though the fold is quite bulky, I weighted the pattern down rather than using pins.  I had a go at cutting with scissors but this felt quite "crunchy" so I used a rotary cutter knowing the blade might not manage both layers at once but I felt it would be better to replace a blade rather than buy a new pair of scissors, and that I could always go back and re-cut the second layer.

It was probably lucky I had my glasses on at the time as sequins did have a tendency to fly around, but thankfully not to eye level. Just be warned that it can be a messy job!

I marked my darts with a chalk pencil and managed to pin but also used some wonder clips to hold the fabric in place (these made life much easier).

Sewing Up

I used a strong polyester thread and size 70 needle and set the machine to a stretch stitch to complement the stretch in the fabric.

 It was fairly hard to keep a very straight line when sewing but the fabric is quite forgiving on the right-side so don't worry too much.  Once sewn, I snipped the darts open on the wrong side to decrease the bulk and help them to lay flatter.

I stitched the side seams using the wonder clips rather than pins, sewing at a slow pace to make it easier to hold the weight of the fabric.

Some tutorials mention unpicking the sequins along your seam allowance but I didn't have the patience to try that and it seems fine.  The only downside is that you have some sequins touching your skin along the seams of the skirt.  This wasn't a issue as I had already made the decision to line the skirt in a fine knit stretch lining.  A regular anti-static lining would not complement this type of fabric.

I also used the stretch stitch to sew up the lining which was an exact copy of the basic skirt pattern.  I joined the waist seams of the skirt and lining, right sides facing.  Once they were stitched together I flipped the lining to the inside of the skirt.

Can you press sequins?

In order to get the waist to lie flat, I did press the lining gently using a damp muslin on top. This worked fine, but if in doubt do a test on an offcut of your fabric first to ensure the sequins don't melt.

Finishing Off

The skirt did fit fine at this point but as the weight of the fabric is quite heavy and there is no waistband or fastening, I decided to add a band of 1" wide elastic on the inside.  I measured this to fit my waist snuggly and stitched it into a circle first.  I then marked the quarter points of the circle and matched these to the side seams, centre front and centre back of the skirt, pinning it in place (clips wouldn't suffice here). I stitched the elastic on with a large zigzag with the right side of the fabric facing upwards, stretching the elastic band to fit the skirt as I went.  I moved the sequins around the waist of the skirt so that they were facing the direction I was sewing in, because the zigzag secures the sequins in place and this made it easier to sew (I also had a lighter thread on the bobbin to match the elastic on the inside). 

I have left the bottom edge of the skirt as a raw edge because it doesn't appear to fray and would become too bulky if turned under and hemmed.

By playing with the sequins you can create different looks to your garments and it will be a great talking point!  The skirt took me no more than two hours to sew up and I really love it. The approximate cost for the finished garment is £30. 

I can wear the bronze easily in the day time and here I matched it with my wool cape and flat shoes.

I can then turn the sequins around to silver and pop on my heels for dressing up ( I also thought it might be quite handy if you spill anything as you can effectively cover it up!) You can also have a mixture of the two and make stripes or patterns.

If you are inspired to have a go then you can buy fabric, thread and other accessories by simply clicking here.

Thanks for reading!  

You can watch my short video of the skirt in action here too.

Read more highlights from the blog:

Patrick Grant and Community Clothing in Blackburn





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