Welcome back to our 12 Days of Project series! To view all 12 of our holiday projects, from DIY decor to giftable projects, click here.
Sewing with sequins is easier than you think! Although a few extra steps are required, the results are worth it! Today we’ll be offering tips on sewing with 3 popular types of sequin fabric: Mermaid sequin knit fabric, embroidered sequin taffeta fabric and larger sequin fabric on a stretchy mesh backing.
Finally we’ll show you how to stabilize sequin fabric for other purposes, like the sparkly clutch bag project tutorial at the end of this post!
Shop all sequin fabrics on fabric.com by clicking here!
Tips for sewing any sequin fabric:
- When cutting any sequin fabric, use non-fabric scissors or rotary cutter.
- Use a 100/16 Universal Ball Point Needle when sewing through sequins.
- Never use an iron directly on sequins. Use a press cloth with a low heat setting when needed.
This unique sequin fabric is so much fun. The density of the 2-faced sequins creates movement and dimension. But with so many sequins, they will inevitably be cut and sewn – which requires some extra attention when creating seams.
Pull off any loose sequins, and shift all the sequins away from the edge.
Bind the seam with tulle or tricot. Sew the desired seam allowance, but add a strip of tulle to the seam as you sew. Once the seam is sewn, wrap the seam with remaining width of the strip and zig zag stitch to secure onto the seam allowance. Then, hand whip stitch the seam flat. The results are a stable flat seam, with no scratchy sequins or cut edges poking through.
Very commonly, sequins will be sewn in a sporadic embroidered design onto a woven fabric, such as satin or taffeta. For apparel, this type of fabric requires a lining anyways, so the comfort of the seam is less important.
Be sure to sew with a ½” to 5/8” seam allowance, and press open the seam allowance with a low-heat iron setting and a press-cloth. The seam will lie nicely, the sequins are small enough to not cause too much commotion when cut or sewn within a seam.
Large or irregular shaped sequins
Larger sequins, or irregular shaped sequins, can create seams that might warrant a liability waiver if not sewn properly. When cut or sewn into a seam, they can protrude out, causing sharp edges and immovable sequins.
Prepping this type of sequin fabric for sewing is the most labor intensive, but yields the best results!
Remove sequins from the desired seam allowance. It’s best to clear ½” – 5/8” for a 3/8” seam allowance. You can always cut down the seam allowance later if needed.
Removing each sequin?!? That will take forever! Fear not – there’s a tip for that...
If the sequins are uniformly sewn in rows on lengthwise grain – you are in luck. On the back, with a seam ripper, find the fine threads that form these sequins rows. Use your seam ripper to gently undo those threads and gently pull them… 1 - 2 backing threads should be available to pull out. Flip to the front, locate the sequin at the top of the row and then pull…. The whole row of sequins should pop off the front.
Note: Sequins that are applied in rows will have a machine-like grouping, so one set of rows may only go for 12- 14” and then the next group of rows starts. The method in step 2 will only work per grouping, so stop at the groupings’ intersections to repeat the process.
For removing sequins around curves or the crosswise grain, you will have to remove the sequins individually. It actually goes by quicker than you think.
Use tape! Gently maneuver the sequins away from the newly-bare edge and use 3”- 4” strips of tape to secure them out of the way temporarily. The less sticky the tape the better – to dull the tape, just apply and remove it on your clothes once or twice before applying to the sequins. Trust us, this will help so much when the tape has to be removed.
Use a walking foot. Once the sequins are removed, what’s left is a very lightweight, sheer, stretchy mesh fabric. Sew that as you would normally, with 2mm length stitches and a size 75/11 universal ball point needle.
Once your seam is done, you can remove the tape and shape the sequins back into place. The seam is free of any poky sequins, sharp edges, pleasant to touch and almost completely unnoticeable.
Note: We are aware that you are human, and catching the occasional sequin in the seam is inevitable despite your best efforts. And that’s ok! There’s a tip for that...
Use snips to carefully cut the sequin out of the seam. Since the sequin is larger, you can give it a little shapely trim so it looks similar to its friends, and push the cut sequin remnant into the seam, and maneuver it out on the underside of the seam with tweezers. This tip is performed in Step 6 of the Clutch Tutorial below.
Stabilizing mesh backed sequin fabric
Sequin fabric comes in a lovely variety of weights, designs and backings. Mesh-based sequin fabric usually has a bit of stretch and drape, so stabilizing this type of sequin fabric is great for accessories, crafts and home décor.
Use Heat n’ Bond Lite to fuse the sequins onto the desired backing. In the example shown, we’ve taken the stretchiest, drapiest sequin mesh fabric with teardrop-shaped sequins and fused it to sturdy double-sided quilted broadcloth in a similar shade to create a study, stable piece of sequin fabric.
Heat n’ Bond Lite allows for 2 fabrics to be fused together.
Follow the directions on the Heat n’ Bond packaging, but lower the iron setting to mid, and use a press cloth so the sequins or mesh doesn’t melt.
Note: If using mesh backed fabric with small or regular sized sequins, like this fabric, it is not necessary to remove the sequins from the seam allowance edge to fuse it to another fabric. This example shows that because the sequins on this fabric are larger and irregular shaped.
When ironing on the Heat N’ Bond, test on scrap fabrics first! This will help you to gauge how much pressing and how long to press is required.
We loved this tear drop sequin fabric so much, that if stabilized we knew it would be an amazing clutch bag for holiday and special occasions. Let’s make it now!
Clutch Bag Tutorial
This clutch bag features a double-slider zipper closure, and a clean finish lining. This project is fun, easy and you’ll love the results!
Supplies Needed and Cutting Instructions
Cut (2) 13 ½” x 14” pieces of each:
- Tear Drop Sequins & Mesh Blush
- Double Sided Quilted Broadcloth Peach
- Heat N’ Bond Lite
- Art Gallery Blush Hex Rose
- Dogwood Purse Double Slider Zipper 12"
- 70 Peltex Ultra Firm Sew-In Stabilizer or Pellon 520 Deco Fuse
Step 1: Prepping the sequin pieces
Referencing the above sewing tips for sequins and the video, prep the sequin fabric by removing the sequins ½” around the edges and fuse it to double-sided quilted broadcloth. Then tape the edges to secure the sequins away from the edges. This is sewn with 3/8” seam allowance and ¼” seam allowance for the zipper application.
Sew the double-slider purse zipper to the top 13½" edges. A zipper foot is optional here, or you can use the far left position setting with a regular presser-foot.
Tip: As you sew the zipper, slide the zipper pull out of the way, so it doesn’t shift your straight stitch.
Sew the top edges of the lining fabric to the zipper. Fold the lining back, and top stitch.
Pinching the zipper ends out of the way, sew the lining right sides together, leaving at least an 11” opening at the bottom.
Open the zipper slides at least 10” before you sew the sequin pieces together. This is key to be able to easily flip right side out in Step 6.
Right sides together, sew the sequin pieces together carefully. Be very aware of your seam as you sew to not catch any taped-off sequins. If you catch a few, it’s ok!
Flip the bag rightside out and remove the tape. Don’t pull on the tape as it will pull the sequins. Peel back the tape carefully, loosening the sequins with your nail or seam ripper as you go. If any sequins are stuck in the seam, use your snips to carefully cut them out, give the sequin a shapely trim, and push any remaining cut sequin parts into the seam.
To stabilize the bag, cut 2 pieces of Pellon 520 Deco Fuse.
- 12 ½” x 6 ½”
- 12 ½” x 7”
The 6 ½” tall piece will be fused to the backside of the front piece of the clutch, and the 7” tall piece will be fused to the back, the difference in height will enable the clutch to fold over properly and consistently.
Insert a Deco-Fuse piece, fusible side down, through the opening of the lining, onto the double sided quilt fabric. This takes some maneuvering. Push the piece down as far as it will go, lying flat on the quilted fabric and not overlapping any side seams. Following the directions for 520 Deco-Fuse, take your iron inside the opening of the lining, inside the bag, and iron to fuse the stabilizer. Repeat for front side.
Tip: Iron the bulk of the deco-fuse first and let cool, then hit the missed edges and corners.
Note: Fabri-Tac and 70 Peltex is also recommended for faux leather or vinyl fabrics since they cannot be ironed. The sequin fabric can handle the heat from the iron because the double sided quilted fabric backing serves as a barrier to the heat.
Top stitch the lining opening closed, tuck inside, you should have a square shaped bag. Fold the bag towards the front, where the 12 ½” x 6 ½” stabilizer piece was applied.
Other Fabric Options
Not into the glitz and glam of a sequin clutch? That’s ok! This same project tutorial works perfectly for faux leather clutch, and it’s much faster without all the sequin prep-work.