Tuesday, 24 December 2019

How To: Sequin Shift Dress with Long Sleeves and Matching Belt

Time for the traditional Christmas Dress project! I was shopping for faux fur for the massive fuzzy coat I was going to make for Lapland, when I saw this DELICIOUS sequin fabric in a window and it hit me like a glittery tornado that I didn't have a single. sequin. dress.

Some critical tips for sewing sequins:
  • Have a vacuum handy for the cutting part. Sequins will be everywhere no matter what you do. Cut one layer at a time, sequins facing down.
  • For comfort, avoid the kind of sequin fabrics with no stretch. Not only is stretchy fabric more free to move in, but it flows on the body much prettier. HOWEVER, stretchy sequin fabric will also stretch downwards due to the weight of the sequins. I first cut my dress piece at 90 cm long shoulder to hem, tried it on my body, and realized it hung 10 cm too long. So check how much your fabric increases in length from the weight.
  • To make it easier for yourself, pick a fabric where the sequins are sewn on in a kind of random way. There are ones that you can brush into different directions and the colour changes, or just more neatly sewn ones where the sequins have a clear direction. The randomly sewn ones, where there's kind of a pile of sequins sewn on, are much more forgiving (no need to think in what direction you'll cut your pieces)
  • Some people like to remove the sequins off  seam allowances, to make sewing easier. Personally I don't like to do that, since it risks creating seams where you can tell that the sequins end. I just sewed right over the sequins...
  • .. But either way, use the right needle (and prepare to lose a couple). If you're removing sequins from seam allowances, European size 70 (American 10); If sewing over sequins, European 90/American 14. In either case: sharp, definitely bust out a brand new one. PRO TIP: wear glasses while sewing. You never know when the needle will land on a sequin at the wrong angle, snap, and fly god knows where.
  • If you need to press your seams, do so through a pressing cloth not to melt your sequins
  • If your sequins themselves are super scratchy (which becomes an issue around non-sequin removed seam allowances and the hem), the best way to address this is with a lining. Mine were fine so I didn't line.
  • And whatever you do.. don't try to finish your seam allowances with your serger. Take it from me... Your serger will not like it:D I just left my seam allowances raw. Naughty.

TOOLS:
2 m of stretch sequin fabric  Scissors  |  Pins  Thread & Sewing machine  |  Bias tape for finishing neckline

I. My cut pieces with measurements. This resulted in a loose fit EU36/US4. Note I cut so I had the factory edge at the hem (with a border of just the mesh with no sequins). I used that later to hem.
II. First pinned & sewed the shoulders.
III. Then used the arm hole curve to guide cutting the sleeves..
.. Which I pinned on and sewed.
IV. The last bit of construction was to pin and side the underarms and sides.
So I had a dress! Just needed to take care of finishes..
The neckline I did with bias tape, hand sewing on the reverse.
On the hem, I finished the mesh border with my serger, folded that on the reverse, and hand-sewed.
And the sleeves... I liked the raw finish, so just sewed a zig-zag a couple mm from the edge and left it at that.
V. I still had a bit of fabric left so I decided to make a matching tie-on belt. I had to cut it in two pieces to get a long enough belt..
.. Which I just sewed into one long one, folded in half width-wise, and sewed around leaving a gap to pull right side out.. then hand-sewed the gap closed. 
Happy Christmas!!
xo,

Julia

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