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A few years ago when flip sequins were all the rage among tweens, I bought a length of flip sequin fabric and never used it because I had no idea how to sew sequins.
I was sure they would totally mess up my scissors, my sewing machine, my life.
But I finally decided I needed to do something with at least some of that fabric so I determined to learn how to sew sequin fabric so that I could make a fun flippy project.
I happened to get a square of black satin-like fabric as an add-on when I was buying some other fabric in a destatsh group, and I decided combining that with sequins would make a fun sensory pillow for my daughter.
Preparing for Sewing with Sequins
The main thing you need to know when it comes to how to sew with sequins is that you don’t actually want to sew them at all.
This kind of flippy sequin fabric is made by sewing individual sequins to a base layer of fabric. In order to sew it (and if you’re being really fancy, to cut it) you need to make yourself a selvedge or seam allowance that you can sew on so you won’t actually sew over any of the sequins with your machine.
This removal can be accomplished with a seam ripper or tiny scissors that you use for trimming thread. I found the scissors to be faster, but try both and see what works for you.
How to Cut Sequined Fabric
If you’re cutting out a lot of sequined fabric, it makes sense to make a clear path for cutting as well. Otherwise you can just flip the sequins as best you can and use inexpensive scissors to cut the fabric. Definitely do not use fabric scissors. I actually used utility scissors we keep in the kitchen and use for things like opening packages and boxes.
Caution: if you are cutting sequins, they can go flying and the edges where you cut them can be sharp. If you don’t already wear glasses, some kind of eye protection isn’t a bad idea.
If you’re cutting more than a square for a pillow (say, garment pieces), you’ll want to pay attention to the direction the sequins lay on the fabric when you cut it so that your pieces will match.
You’ll also only want to cut through one layer at a time, so if pattern pieces would normally be cut on a fold, make sure you flip the pattern over when you cut the second piece so they will fit together correctly.
How to Sew Sequins
Once you’ve prepared your fabric it’s actually not any different to sew with sequins than it is to sew any other fabric. Just stitch slowly so that you can ensure you’re staying in the seam allowance where there are no sequins.
You can pin or use clips to hold pattern pieces together. If you need to press your seams, use the lowest heat setting you can (many sequins are plastic and can melt in high heat) and use a pressing cloth to protect them.
If you’re making a garment out of sequined fabric you might want to line it with quilting cotton or another fabric that is nicer to have against the skin. Or if you’re making a skirt you can just wear a slip.
Caring for Sequined Fabric
Garments made with sequins are best professionally dry cleaned. You definitely don’t want to put it in your washing machine. I think you could get away with spot cleaning or very gently handwashing at home, but since I’ve only made a pillow so far I’ve yet to test that theory.
I am thinking hard about a skirt with a panel of sequins along the bottom edge now that I know how to sew with sequins. I’ll let you know if I ever make it!
Sensory Sequin and Satin Pillow
This is a really fun, fast and easy sewing project for a tween’s room or for anyone else who loves sequins.
I happened to have a 16-inch square pillow that had seen better days, so I used that as my base. I wrapped it in a layer of batting just to make it a little fluffier. You can make a pillow form to the size you want or use an old pillow you have on hand.
Cut your fabric to the size you need plus seam allowances. I used half an inch but whatever you like is fine. Prepare sequined fabric as needed for sewing. As mentioned above I used a piece of satin on the back and sequins on the front, but you could make yours sequins and minky, faux fur, flannel or just sequins on both sides.
Place fabrics right sides together and sew all the way around three sides and most of the fourth side, leaving a space about six inches wide unsewn.
Flip the pillow cover right side out and poke the corners so they are nice and pointy. Put the pillow form into the pillow case. Sew the gap by hand.
Now that you know how to sew sequins will you try it? If you’ve already done it I’d love to know what you made!