Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Make Your Own Sequin Dress for the Holidays

DKNY Sequin Dress, $345, Bloomingdales

Sequins, sequins, sequins! Holiday Fashion 2011 is one big sparkly mess. You, you smart little sewist you, can whip up your own little one-of-a-kind sequin number for far less than you'd pay in the better stores. Just head over to NYC's Garment District, specifically the north side of W. 39th Street. Most of the stores there have loads of sparkly sequin fabric priced between $10 and $30 a yard; feel free to negotiate your way to a lower price with the sales staff. The stores I'd start with are G&R, Gate 232 (this store keeps changing owners and names; just look for lots of tacky signs in the window and on the street), and Logo. And if you have any tips for sewing sequin fabric, please comment here. I may be sewing my first sequin dress and I could use some help!

G&R Fabrics

G&R Fabrics

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At November 2, 2011 at 6:42 AM , Blogger Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Never sewn with sequins - but don't some people cut off the sequins from the seam allowances (by snipping the sequin itself - and not cutting the thread it's attached to the fabric with) to make stitching through the machine easier?

At November 2, 2011 at 8:35 AM , Blogger sewingkm said...

I've been advised not to use a serger when sewing sequin fabric as it can mess up the loopers.

At November 2, 2011 at 11:09 AM , Blogger Mary Beth said...

Several points:
1) Wear glasses while sewing sequins. **This is very important.** If one flies off and hits you on the eyeball you could end up in the hospital. Even a pair of sunglasses will do. Just something you can see through! Even goggles would work. Seriously!
2) Spray the entire fabric with Tri-Flow, a lubricant, which you should be able to buy at a fabric store. Do this is in a plastic bag in a ventilated space. The spray will keep evaporate and will make sewing the sequin fabric easier.
3) A little sequin fabric goes a long way. Try just doing a yoke, a hem or even a belt. A lot of RTW clothes are sequins on the front only ...Makes sitting down a lot more comfortable.

At November 2, 2011 at 12:15 PM , Blogger Clio said...

Oh, I've done two projects that had a little bit of sequins involved and my immediate reaction is to say "Beware of flying sequins!" and get ready for some hand stitching to re-attach sequins that you remove from near the seams. (I used sequins from the remnant fabric to do this.)

One of the things I did not anticipate (and maybe this was a symptom of cheap fabric) was that, when you cut the fabric, you have to knot off all the ends of the threads that attach the sequins to avoid losing them. Maybe there is a better solution to this problem like dealing with the sequins before cutting?

At November 2, 2011 at 3:16 PM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

I do clip the sequins themselves, without removing the thread. But I have also HAND SEWN a few sequined projects, when I really want it to look great, so I can navigate safely with a needle.

At November 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I have a shift dress pattern that was made for me and maybe I'll try this.

Given the warnings about the potential hazards, I'm wondering if I should try sewing it by hand. I sewed a dress completely by hand this summer except for the stay stitching, and while not the fastest thing to do, it wasn't impossible.

I have some access to experts and if I learn anything new in coming weeks I will post a comment.

New York Sewer

At November 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lindsay/Meg:

Several months ago, you asked for recommendations for tailoring classes in New York City and I mentioned certain FIT offerings.

For a person with little or no sewing experience, I also recommend Menswear Sewing (MW 142), which is open to non-degree students in its evening sections. You learn to sew a men's shirt on an industrial machine. (Home machines are not considered to produce a sufficiently good stitch.)

It's very demanding for a person with no sewing skills, but a student who gets all s/he can from that course will have an excellent foundation for the machine stitching aspects of tailoring. The class is also a prerequisite for the Menswear Tailoring classes unless you have a significant sewing background and want to apply for a waiver.

I think registration has opened for Spring 2012, or will shortly.

New York Sewer

At November 2, 2011 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Nancy K said...

I take it that you'll be sewing that sequined dress that Annie wants. Glad you found reasonably prices fabric.
There was an article in Threads a while back on sewing sequins and they sewed a top by hand.

At November 4, 2011 at 10:48 PM , Anonymous Connie (Grandma C) said...

The most important thing is that sequined fabric has a nap. If you sew one direction, the sequins are all laying flat, and you can sew along lickety-split, but if you sew the opposite direction, your presser foot will continually get caught on sequins and they will flip up and get twisted under the foot. They are kind of layered one on top of the other in most sequined fabrics, almost like shingles on a roof. So if you sew in the direction where the sequins are laying flat, it's much easier. HTH

At November 7, 2011 at 9:14 PM , Blogger SEWN said...

Thanks for spending my money! ;) I'll let you know how I make out with this awesome sequined fabric.

At November 7, 2011 at 11:23 PM , Blogger The Slapdash Sewist said...

I've only used the terrible glued sequin fabric from Joann. It basically has to be sewn by hand. If sewn by machine, you have to stop every 4 or 5 inches to clean off the needle with a q-tip dipped in alcohol. Highly do not recommend.

An unrelated question I've been meaning to ask the Garment District guru--where does one go to buy interfacing? It's one of the things I'd like to get next time I'm in New York. Our local indie stopped carrying some of the nicer ones and now stocks almost exclusively Pellon.

At November 11, 2011 at 11:49 AM , Anonymous Begum Design said...

Slapdash Sewist - Mood has very reasonably priced interfacing - think $2.50/yard, for 60" yards. I have also been recommended recently to I bought some interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply but haven't used it yet. It's around $8/yard, but again, it's for 60" wide yards, and they cut a 38" yard. Another blogger (garment-district based, so with easy access to Mood and others) recommended Fashion Sewing Supply as the highest quality interfacing they have ever used. Good luck.

At November 14, 2011 at 7:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I've never hemmed a dress with sequins. How do I do it? Thanks for your help!

At November 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM , Blogger Meg said...

Anonymous, I've never sewn a sequin dress so I'm not the one to ask. But when I'm trying to figure out garment construction I often head to the store and see how the RTW industry handles things. Macy's has a ton of sequin dresses in the store now.

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