Monday, December 2, 2013

Agenda's Blue Period

Hello, hello!  I hope all my American friends had a lovely holiday weekend.  Hubby and I headed to Michigan to spend some time with my extended family, so the latter part of my weekend was filled with catching up on laundry and household chores.

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:

with flash

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?

31 comments:

  1. Wow - I think you just refuted all my excuses for never sewing with sequins! This looks so chic and fancy! I can't wait to see the shoes you pick out to go with this. I hope you get to post pictures of the top and your finished coat soon. For being busy lately, you've gotten a lot done!

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    1. Thanks, Shar! I guess I have managed to finish a lot. It just seems like I'm behind because I have so many ideas in my head, LOL!

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  2. Ooh, this is so glamorous! I'm so excited to see how you decide to style it!

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    1. Thanks, Sonja! I'm finding this a little tricky, color-wise. So I've ordered some more sequins in gold :-) I think I'm hooked!

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  3. Cute top. Most sequined tops are cheaply made and are scratchy. One would have to pay big bucks to get a nicely made one like from J. Crew.

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    1. Thanks, Stef. I got away cheaply this time, but the more fancy sequins I've found at our better fabric store are $30 - $45 a yard. Fortunately, I only need a yard for a top!

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  4. Fantastic! I love the keyhole opening and the sheer hem - I bet you rock this hard! I have some black and gold sequin fabric from the Textile Outlet, too, and I've been wanting to make a skirt and top from it but I've been nervous about the sequins. Maybe I can borrow some of your moxy!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I found these tiny sequins to be very easy to work with. For larger ones though (I'm working my way up to them!) I'll probably remove the sequins in the SA. I'd love to make a skirt too, but I'm finding that the sequins accentuate all the curves - not sure I want to do that on my bottom half!

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    2. That's exactly what I want to do to my bottom half!

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    3. Your bottom half doesn't have as many lumps as mine, LOL! I have recently been enticed by a sleeveless sequin shift I saw on the Banana Republic website. I could probably do that. I'm sure I have a similar pattern in my stash!

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  5. Fancy! Looking forward to seeing how you style it! I'm glad that it came together so easily. I also only seem to hear the nightmares (carefully removing the sequins from seam allowances, etc) so have been reluctant to give it a go.

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    1. Thanks, Sara! If you can find tiny sequins like this, I think it's pretty easy. Also, the backing was knit mesh, so it had a little stretch which I found helped me in matching seams.

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  6. this is great! i've never been interested in actually sewing with sequins, but you completely have me re-thinking! and since you seem to have a bottomless closet of amazing shoes, i'm sure there's something in there!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I'm suddenly nuts about sequins - I've already planned out my next version! And I'm starting to think about adding sequin fabric in on some clutches . . .

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  7. The top looks wonderful. You will be finding sequins for years to come. They seem to be able to hide everywhere!

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda!

      After I washed the sequin piece and dried it in the bathtub, Hubby later said, "What are all these metal circles in the tub?!" LOL!

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  8. Fabulous idea, and now I want one! Looking forward to seeing you style it :D

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  9. Oooh, gorgeous! Strangely I've been thinking of a sequin top myself, you've encouraged me that it's not as hard I think it might be.

    Can't wait to see it modelled, and your knitted coat.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! Funny - we seem to be on the same wavelength lately!

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  10. Lovely top, I can see this looking very evening wear worn with a pair of wide legged black pants, or funky with a pair of cigarette pants.

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    1. Thank you, Kristy! I was thinking the same re: the two styles of pants! But for now it's probably going to get styled with jeans :-) Also need to figure out some jewelry that won't get lost in all this sparkle. I think the neckline needs a little something.

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  11. You made it!!! I'm doing a little dance right now because I'm so excited to see your top! It looks great! I was actually regretting not purchasing some of the silk chiffon because it's such a good match. Oh well, I'll just have to take another trip down there :-)

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    1. I'm glad - I was a teeny bit worried I might be stealing your thunder, since you bought the fabric before me. I really liked the silk chiffon - I can see using that again. I think you do need to make another trip down there ;-)

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    2. Not at all! If anything, your version inspires me to get off my lazy butt and start making my own :)

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  12. Ooooh, this just looks so fab!! Can't wait to see you modelling it.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty! I figured this would be right up your alley!

      I've also been inspired by you in the shoe department: hunted down those gold PLV pumps!!

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  13. This is a great top, and it looks even better in person ;)

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