Sewing 101: Sewing With Sequins

Sewing 101: Sewing With Sequins

Created by: Nikki Johnson of fabric.com

Sequins can be seen everywhere lately, from fashionable apparel to home decor. Their glitz and glamour are adding sparkle to everything, and we at fabric.com are totally on board with sequins and the newest sequin craze – Mermaid Sequins!

We recently added a few more to our selection, and thought it would be the perfect time to show you how to work with them for your next project. Whether you’re making a simple sequin pillow or a glamorous gown, these tips will help you tackle your project.

Like the fabrics you see here? We used:

1) Starlight Sequined Mermaid Red Twinkle. This one would make an outstanding costume! Can you imagine how well those sparkly colors will light up?

Sewing With Sequins

2) Starlight Sequined Mermaid Emerald. This one is the classic mermaid sequin to me, it would look right at home on a Siren in the depths of the ocean.

Sewing With Sequins

Sewing With Sequins

3) Telio Flashdance Mermaid Sequin Knit Ecru Gold. This one makes me think of a wedding. It would be just beautiful for bridesmaid’s dresses, swags or table runners for your special day.

Sewing With Sequins

4) Telio Flashdance Mermaid Sequin Knit Blue Black. This one is so stunning, with matte black on one side and a dark matte purple/blue on the other, it would look equally at home on a mermaid tail as a dragon’s scales.

Sewing With Sequins

When choosing the sequin fabric for your project, or the project for your sequins, keep in mind what you’re looking for. Some sequin fabrics have a little stretch, like the Glitz Sequin & Mesh Collection and the Telio Flashdance Mermaid Sequin Knit Collection. This makes them a little easier to work with. You can make form fitting dresses, skirts, and costumes with ease. This comes from sewing the sequins onto a fabric with stretch. The Glitz are mesh fabrics, and the Flashdance is sewn onto jersey.

Our Starlight Sequin Fabricsare sewn onto a polyester lining for a sturdier finished fabric with zero stretch. These can still be used for apparel, but you’ll want to stay away from figure hugging dresses and skirts (it might be a little challenging to move in them!)

Regardless of your sequin project, you’ll want to use a lining for any garment. The back of the fabric is not comfortable against the skin, due to the threads that keep the sequins attached on the face side.

The hardest part about sewing with sequins is that needles have a hard time sewing through them, so you have to clear the seam allowance free of them in order to sew properly. It is the safest method, with the best finished result. It’s also the easiest on your sewing machine and needles. However, we’ll also show you how to sew something without clearing the seam allowance if you want to go that route.

Preparing Your Seam Allowances

For each method, mark your seam allowances before cutting so you don’t go too far in.

Method 1:

This method keeps the line of stitching intact, which keeps the sequins in the rest of the line of stitching from coming out unexpectedly. Using a pair of scissors, lift a line of sequins up so that you can see their bases.

Sewing With Sequins

The threads go through those little holes that you see there. You will want to cut the sequins so that those little holes are exposed, and you can work the rest of the sequin out. Those little suckers can be very stubborn!

Sewing With Sequins

Continue until you have your desired area clear of sequins.

Method 2:

With a seam ripper and working from the back of the fabric, rip out the stitching in your desired area until there aren’t any more sequins.

Sewing With Sequins

Both of these are time consuming, but worth it if you are making something that you have to look at every day. If you don’t clear the seam allowances, you’ll end up with broken needles and jagged sequins from the right side of the seam.

After you clear the seam allowances, sew in the method best for your fabric. For the sequin knits, you might want to use a jersey needle and a zig zag!

Sewing Without Preparing Seam Allowances

Sewing With Sequins

If you aren’t planning to clear the seams, you CAN sew anyway. Be careful, however, because a lot of broken needles can occur, which can be a bit of a safety hazard! Needles breaking and flying off your machine can be very dangerous, so if you’re going this route, be extra careful.

Use a needle that is thin and sharp, not a heavy duty or denim needle, because they will get stuck in the sequins.

Use a long stitch length and go slowly!

Sewing With Sequins

If you can, try to stay in the channels between rows of sequins to minimize your contact with them and risk of needle breakage.

Happy sewing with sequins!

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