Sunday, December 1, 2013

Inspired By: Festive Sewing

Hello and Happy December to you all! Since Christmas parties, work break ups and the like are just around the corner, I've been thinking Festive Sewing lately. After all, given my RTW ban this year, if I want something new I've got to DIY it. So I have!

Going back over my Pinterest boards I noticed I've pinned rather a lot of versions of these sequinned skirts:

Sequins are not really the kind of fabric I usually gravitate towards, but I really like the way this is "festive" without being too glitzy.... sequins for the introvert, if you like!

Then I found some fabric at Spotlight that I loved - a kind of muted bronze - and that decided it. I had some black silk chiffon that I thought would work as a sleeveless Style Arc Tiffany Blouse to go with it, but in the end I really wanted a top with a higher neckline to go with a mini (though not quite as mini as above!). Plus, to be completely honest, I couldn't face the thought of sewing chiffon just yet....

So instead I went with the Laurie Tee from Named Patterns. I've been wanting to try their designs since I saw them, so it was a good excuse!

At first I'd planned to use BHL's Charlotte Skirt pattern and lop off some length. But then I found New Look 6107 in amongst my patterns and thought its lower waistline and fewer darts might work better.

I already had a similarly coloured stable knit in my stash which I used to underline the sequins, since it's quite drapey and I wanted a more structured look. I used a lightweight fuse in the waistband, but I think if I ever make another I think I'd use something finer still; the seams got quite bulky.

I finished the inside seams with a zigzag stitch, but the hem I covered in wide organza ribbon folded in half and then stitched it down by hand. The raw edges where the sequins are cut are quite scratchy and I thought that the organza might give any tights I wear a fighting chance!

Now I'm not claiming to be an expert at all after one skirt, but just in case someone out there finds it useful, here are my thoughts on sewing sequinned fabric:

1.  Pick a pattern with as few seams as possible! There's no disguising seams or making them subtle - keep it simple :)

2.  Don't skimp on the basting if you underline it. Really. Do more than you think you need - it's worth it to have fabric that doesn't slip around or apart when you come to machine it. I found it really helpful to baste around the darts too.

3.  This didn't seem to be an issue with this particular fabric because the sequins are so tiny (see below), but for most of the other fabrics I saw I think it would be wise (and kinder on your machine and needle) to remove sequins along the seam lines. I've had to do that with beaded fabrics in the past, and I think most sequin fabric might require similar treatment. (I kind of wish I'd removed all of the sequins from all seam allowances in order to "de-bulk" the seams too) In which case...

4. all the removed sequins to hand sew back on once seams are sewn. Dull but again worth it.

5.  A longer stitch length seems to give a smoother finish. I used the 3 1/4 setting on my machine.

6.  Hand finish wherever possible!

I'm sure that's not a comprehensive list, but those are my discoveries anyhow. :)

On to the top. This probably shouldn't have worked - which is no comment at all on the pattern, believe me! It's drafted for knit fabrics, and this is a woven with a little bit of spandex thrown in. I couldn't find any knits that were fine enough for the blousey look I wanted. So I got this, hoping that since it's a looser fit the lesser stretch wouldn't be too much of an issue. And it wasn't - in the body. But the neck...well, let's just say I'll be doing hair and makeup after I've got it on! I cut the neckband piece on the bias, and that's the only reason I can get it on at all.

You can see that even with the bias cut, I've stretched it a little getting it on and off...

The only modifications I made to the pattern was to shape it at the sides a bit. I'll probably only ever wear it tucked in, but just in case I do wear it out I need a bit of shape for flattery. Boxy cuts don't really work on me. It's a great pattern though, and has definitely whetted my appetite to try more Named designs.

I've had a bit of a think about how else I can wear the skirt; I'm really trying to get a bit more adventurous when it comes to styling. I think it'll work for winter, with opaque tights and a cropped jumper/sweater. And I think, under certain circumstances, it could be dressed down with a slouchy tee, sandals and a denim jacket. Or it could work with a cardi, or a white shirt, or singlet top. It's actually more versatile than I first thought!

But, I have two questions that I'd love some advice on:

1: All my choices above work I think, but are pretty "safe" colour combinations. What colour or colours would you pair with bronze?

and 2:  How on earth do you wash/clean/ care for sequins??

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Have a wonderful week :)

Danielle oxo


  1. Oh so stylish! You know I think black or white are just fine to pair with the skirt. I hate this term but the skirt is such a 'hero' piece that I just don't think you need anything else! The photo on your dummy actually looks navy and that looks great too! Your skirt is amazing, I just love it! Do you have any of the top fabric left? You could always do a keyhole opening at centre back for the top and bind it in self made bias to prevent further stretching.....

    1. Oh and ps - gentle cold hand wash, and expect to find sequins all over your house each time you wear it, especially if they are glued not sewn on!

    2. Oh, they're sewn - and my house is already virtually carpeted in them just from the cutting out. I've decided to think of it as a festive touch...Excellent, thanks - if I can avoid drycleaning that's wonderful :)
      I did wonder about a keyhole opening actually! I think I'll wear it a few times and see if the neck bothers me before I attempt it though - there are so many other projects I want to get on with!

  2. Turquoise/ teal goes well with bronze in my opinion. Good luck!

    1. I would never have thought of that! Thanks, I think that would work beautifully :)

  3. Oh, beautiful!!! I love it! I am working on a sequin make just now too - I'm doing a Scout - not much point in me making a pencil skirt at the moment, no matter how much I love them. Your fabric is exactly what I was looking for, but couldn't find in my local shops. I could have bought it online, but didn't have time - I want it for Saturday night and bought the fabric on Sunday!

    I agree with AriB - teal would look beautiful with the bronze (in fact your blouse looks quite teal in some of the photos above), as would burgundy. Black is an obvious choice, but easy. Cream would work too. You could actually almost treat the bronze as a neutral (albeit perhaps not an every day one). I bet it would go with loads of colours. What about pastels? Forrest green? Olive? - might be too similar. Mustard? Now I'm just randomly naming colours, and I'm realising all of my suggestions are quite wintery, when you are in the middle of summer! Look at Pinterest for more styling ideas.