Every year around this time, I decide that this is the year that I will buy a sequin dress. I put one in my online shopping basket, sometimes I make it far enough along to find out how much shipping will be. And then I put it off and make excuses until the dress is sold out and I'm kicking myself for not acting sooner. Every year.
This year, I decided things would be different. Who needs to buy a sequin dress? Hasn't my motto become "I could make that"? I started looking for some good holiday fabrics and there were one or two out there that had some promise. But there really wasn't anything that wowed me on my typical sites.
So, I decided to team up with one of my favorite local fabric stores, District Fabric, to find the perfect fabric for my New Year's dress. Ashley has done an amazing job bringing together some of the most unique and exciting fabrics that I've seen in a long time. She specializes in finding high-quality fabrics - everything from laces to shirtings, velvet to wool.
Here in Seattle, we are so lucky to have her shop just down the street. District Fabric doesn't carry their full selection in an online shop, just a few featured fabrics each month. I am so excited to work with Ashley and the District Fabric team to help share some of the holiday looks that they have available this year.
But first, on to the dress! The geometric pattern in this fabric is unbelievable. I just can't get over how perfectly inspired by the 1920's these sequins are. I didn't want to pick a pattern that would cut into this too much and take away from the original fabric, so I decided on a simply shift dress - the Scout Tee lengthened into a dress.
I know that when working with sequins, you’re supposed to mark the seam allowance and then remove all of the sequins within it. But let’s be honest – that takes way too long when you’re super excited about your project! So full disclosure: I didn’t remove my sequins before sewing the seams. I used a denim needle and just went for it. And it worked! If the pattern were more technical with pleats or darts, I probably would do it correctly and remove the sequins in the seam allowance. But for basic seams, a denim needle is good enough.
A couple of other tips when working with sequins:
- Don't use your good scissors! You will destroy them.
- If your fabric has a pattern, like mine, consider re-tracing your pattern so that you're cutting out whole pieces instead of cutting on the fold. It's very helpful to make sure everything is lined up correctly and cutting flat will be much easier.
- Cut out your pattern from the back side of the fabric (don't forget to flip pattern pieces if needed!)
- There will be sequin parts everywhere. It's inevitable. Lay down a sheet ahead of time or have your vacuum ready. Or just know that your floor might sparkle for awhile.
- Don't use your serger - the sequins will ruin the blade! Stick with your typical zig-zag stitch.
- Use a pressing cloth and no steam.
- If you're sewing the correct way (i.e. removing sequins and not just using a denim needle), you should choose your needle type based on your backing fabric.
- Sew slowly. Things can get real crazy, real fast.
I used a rayon twill that is heavy enough to be opaque, but still has a beautiful drape to it to line the dress. Figuring out how to go about lining this dress though? That seriously messed with my head. There are next to no tutorials on how to line a dress that has sleeves. After a long time spent searching, I finally found this tutorial. It’s not exactly what I was looking for, but I was able to make it work by basting the sleeves onto the body of the dress before attaching the lining to the armholes. Read through it a few times before taking a crack at it – it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work at first, but somehow this weird fabric taco thing turns into a lined dress. It’s basically sewing magic. I’ll try to make my own tutorial in the next couple of weeks, since images are always so much more helpful and there's clearly a need!
Below are some of my favorites from District Fabric's collection this year. You can call or e-mail District Fabric directly to ask any questions that you might have about the fabric or to place an order if you like. I'm happy to answer anything I can too! These fabrics are flying out the door though - they've already gone through an entire order of the blush sequins! Don't put it off like I always do...you'll end up kicking yourself when they sell out...
Rose gold geometric sequin – clearly, this fabric was destined to be a shift dress. The Scout Tee is an obvious choice, but it could also be amazing as a Laurel Dress.
$19.95/yd. 50" wide, polyester netting and sequins
Grey Knit with Silver Striping – this is a lightweight, jersey knit with thin, silver stripes running through it. We’re seeing the Cowl Neck Top as the perfect holiday separate.
$6.95/yd. 60" wide, polyester/lycra
Silver and Black Sequins – line this with some black jersey and you’ve got yourself a jaw-dropping Morris Blazer.
$23.50/yd. 50" wide, polyester
Silver Lamé – this is a soft, lightweight polyester with just a bit of drape. It would work best with patterns that have a bit of structure to them, like the Riding Peplum. Both the front and the back side of these fabrics are gorgeous.
$7.50/yd. 60" wide, polyester
Red Sequins – also available in a deep purple, these sequins have just a bit of stretch and would make a great Pleated Pencil Skirt.
$39.00/yd. 48" wide, nylon netting, polyester sequins
Copper Lamé – such a showstopper! It’s even better in real life. There’s very little drape to this fabric, so we’re thinking something structured like the Lexi A-line Top. Just wear a camisole underneath it! This material isn’t the softest…
$3.50/yd, 44" wide, polyester
Silver Lace Sweater Knit – the delicate lace pattern in this sweater knit would make an amazing Laurelhurst Cardigan. It has just a bit of sheen for holiday party layering.
$19.95/yd. 50" wide, polyester/spandex
Metallic Grey Sweatshirt Knit – hand’s down, this is going to make the best holiday Linden Sweatshirt. Maybe some season’s greeting applique while you’re at it?
$19.95/yd. 60" wide, cotton/rayon/lycra
So what's on your holiday sewing list? What patterns are you most excited about this year? Have you found any fabrics that you can't wait to cut into?
And don't forget! District Fabric has even more amazing holiday fabrics in their shop - if you're in the area, make sure you stop by! And if you're not nearby, shoot Ashley and team an e-mail to find out what they have available.