But yesterday I finally finished seaming together my dark blue knit coat (photos to come), and today I made a deep blue sequined top.
Sequins!!!! They're currently EVERYWHERE in my house. No matter how much I vacuum, I still find more! But it's worth it, because I love my new top. Of course, there's a little back story.
I've been wanting a sequin shell for a few years. At one point I bought one, but ended up returning it because 1) I wasn't quite sure I could rock a sequin top and 2) the sequins were scratchy so the top was uncomfortable. But I couldn't get it out of my head, and continued to look for one that would work for me.
A couple months ago, when a bunch of us Chicago bloggers went to the Textile Discount Outlet, my friend Debbie and I got super excited over some remnants of dark blue sequined fabric. She ended up buying a couple pieces, but I chickened out. And I'd regretted it ever since! So when she asked me a couple weeks ago if I wanted to go back to the outlet with her, I vowed to get some of that fabric if I could. Debbie helped me pick through what was left in the box; most of the fabric was gone but we managed to find one piece I knew I could squeeze a little top out of.
Before we even went to the outlet, I'd decided to use a Burda magazine pattern. This is design #118B from the 12/2012 issue. I tried to link it up for you guys, but it looks like this is one of the few patterns that's not available as a download.
As you can see, it's just two pieces, with darts at the front and a keyhole opening at the back. The pattern calls for using binding to finish the neck and sleeve edges. I wanted to use silk satin but couldn't find any in a coordinating color. Debbie came across a silk chiffon that was a good match though, so I decided to use that to make my bias strips. I only needed a half yard, but when I got to the cutting counter I found out that any fabric under a certain price (which I've forgotten) has a minimum purchase of one yard. So my sequin fabric cost me $4, and my chiffon for the binding was $8!
The sequin fabric was crazy wrinkly, so when I got home, I hand washed it and let it dry over my shower curtain rod. It came out perfectly flat!
I managed to quickly trace out my pattern pieces over the weekend. I knew I was taking a risk, but I decided not to do a muslin for this top. I did do some flat pattern measurements though, the result of which was that I traced my normal EU size 38 at the bust and graded out to size 42 at the hip. I didn't want any tightness around the hips - this fabric needs to flow freely! I crossed my fingers and didn't do any other adjustments (like the sway back and small bust adjustments I often need). And it turned out quite nicely! I'm going to save modeled photos for another day, as I've got contractors here today installing a new furnace. But if you want to see a quick little selfie, you can head over to my Instagram page (link under my profile in the right sidebar).
I was a little nervous to start this top, never having sewn sequins. But I finally decided to just go for it. I cut out my pieces single layer with my rotary cutter. It was super easy and didn't seem to hurt my blade, although I was prepared to sacrifice it. (I cut out my chiffon with the same rotary cutter afterward and it was fine.)
I already had my walking foot on my machine from making the coat, so I tried it out on some scraps of seqin fabric, and it sewed just like regular fabric! So easy! And I discovered that I could finger-press the seams open and they stayed - I didn't bother removing sequins from any of the seam allowances like I've read about. Mind you, these sequins are quite small, so they don't really get in the way of the seams. I even left them in the darts!
Some time in between buying my fabric and tracing my pattern, I decided that since I had a full yard of the chiffon, I may as well line the top to the edge, to make it more comfortable against my skin. I'm so glad I did it this way instead of making bindings. It makes the top feel very luxurious. The lining is hand pick-stitched to the outer all the way around the neck and armholes so that it won't peek out. I didn't even bother to take a picture of the stitching, because the thread was a perfect match. But here's the lining:
The sequin fabric had a nice, sheer border that I wanted to use, so I didn't add hem allowances to my pattern pieces. With the lining's hem turned back it is shorter than the outer, so that the border remains sheer:
I used my "lightning bolt" stitch for the lining hem, which gave it a nice, corded look.
And here is my finished top:
|and without flash|
|the keyhole opening closes with a hook and eye|
Sewing this sequin fabric was so much easier than I expected it to be. Honestly, the hardest part of making this top was figuring out how to insert the lining. I did it wrong the first time and had to pick out two seams - after I'd trimmed them back to about 3/16" of course! But I got it right in the end, and I'm glad I made the mistake and figured it out because now I'll know how to do it in the future. I also made things a little easier for myself by hand-basting the darts and keyhole opening before sewing them on the machine. I used a slightly longer than usual stitch length but didn't have to adjust the tension at all. And (shhhh!) I found I could even iron over the sequins with no ill effect!
I love my new top - the fabric has a heft and drape that feel so luxurious to me. Yes, the sequins scratch my arms a little if I have them down at my sides, but for a $12 dollar top that looks much more expensive (IMHO) I will make myself live with it!
Now . . . what shoes to wear with this?