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sewing with sequins

sewing with sequins

If you’re a bit of a magpie like me, a video I posted on social media of these gorgeous sequins may have caught your eye. The fabric (from Minerva Crafts) had been in my stash for a while and finally made it on to the cutting table! I hadn’t sewn with this type of fabric before and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on it for anyone considering making something similar (scroll to the end for tips). I decided to keep things straight forward and make a simple clutch bag because let’s face it, with this stuff it’s the fabric that really does the talking!

Reversible mermaid sequin fabric detail

This fabric is gorgeous and so tactile. It’s generally referred to as reversible sequinned fabric although some stores call it ‘mermaid’ fabric because of the way the sequins mimic fish scales. If you haven’t seen it already, they’re a different colour on each side and can flip direction for different looks.

Handmade sequin clutch bag with zip

I drew a pattern for a very simple clutch that just has a slightly curved base to give a nicer shape when it’s full. The bag was a birthday gift for my Grandmother, she’s very glamorous and has much more opportunity to use a sequinned bag than I do!

Sequin mermaid fabric in black and red

There are various different types of sequin fabrics. Some are fine, small sequins which are glued on to the base fabric, some are thicker, larger sequins that are either attached in rows on one continuous thread or individually sewn on such as the one I have. They’re attached to a lightweight net/mesh backing fabric which may or may not have a stretch content.

Handmade red sequinned clutch bag with silver zip

My fabric has a small amount of stretch on the crosswise grain and because I chose to make a bag, I felt it was important to remove the stretch factor so that the bag kept a nice shape when full of party essentials! To do that and to add structure, I mounted my black lining fabric to fusible foam and then underlined the sequin fabric with the same black cotton so that the white foam wasn’t visible through the sequin mesh.

Reversible sequinned mermaid fabric clutch bag

A couple of people on Instagram had recommended removing the sequins from the seam allowance. I started this and quickly decided that it was too tedious for my liking so I popped a leather needle in my machine and sewed very slowly to see how it coped. It was absolutely fine so I was pleased not to have spent time removing the sequins! I would say that if you were making clothing rather than a bag, you would want to remove them or enclose all seam allowances to avoid any scratchy skin situations. As my bag was fully lined I didn’t need to worry about that!

Handmade sequinned evening bag

For anyone considering making something similar, I have a few tips to consider:

  • Decide which colour you want for your ‘main’ side and cut the pieces with the sequins running in the correct direction
  • Never use your best scissors for cutting sequins
  • The fabric is quite shifty! Hand baste the stitching line (in contrasting thread colour) before cutting, to mark pattern pieces
  • Underline for stability and to prevent see-through areas affecting final look
  • Cut on single layer, right side down so the sequins don’t ping up into your eyes (sharp edges!)
  • Remove sequins from the seam allowance if not using a lining/binding the seams
  • Use a leather needle in your machine
  • Use longer stitch length and sew slowly until you know how your machine copes
  • Have a vacuum cleaner at the ready - the sequins get everywhere!

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