Sequins and a girl's best friend
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 3rd December 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Sewing friends are the best as my friend @jenerates proved when she sent me the remainder of her Minerva sequined strip fabric from the top she had made. I hope you all enjoyed her post.
Jen knows my daughter is a big fan of anything that sparkles and when I showed Eve the fabric it took her a good milli-second to decide she would like a pair of flared trousers for her work’s Christmas party, and guess what, I had a good 5 weeks to get them made. Wooohooo.
The first step was to find a suitable pattern and I have found the Lekela website is a good starting point for patterns searches. Eve liked one of the flared trousers they had, #5005, so it was purchased, printed, stuck together, cut out and with the help of an old quilt cover a toile created to check the fit. I find trouser fitting one of the hardest fitting processes there is and getting a decent fit took a while but I finally got there and then used the toile to adjust the pattern ready to cut out the fabric.
The orientation of the fabric ended up out of my hands due to the amount of fabric I had. I would have loved the stripes to have been vertical, both for visual reasons and as this would have eliminated some of the pattern matching, but there was not enough fabric for this. So a horizontal stripe it was. The lack of fabric did dictate that I could only match the pattern and not the colours, but I think I just about got away with that. However, the pattern still did not fit on the fabric and I was beginning to regret allowing my daughter the choice of flared trousers. Then I remembered when flares were first a thing in the 70s, instead of buying a new pair of flared jeans people would unpick the seam from the knee down and insert a godet. So back to the pattern and after a bit of cutting and sticking, a godet pattern piece was created. At this point I had not cut out the waistband as I wanted to think about that when the trousers were sewn together.
Now that I had all my main pattern pieces cut out I could move on to the next stage of this make and that was investigating the method I was going to use to create the seams. The issues I was going to have with this fabric were two fold, firstly the fabric is see-through so the seam would need to be neat and minimal and secondly, neither the fabric nor the sequins were going to be comfortable against the skin.
Lots of ideas and possible problems had gone through my head. I had considered overlocking the side seams of each piece before sewing together, binding the side seams with some satin bias binding, overlocking or binding the seam allowance together after sewing or using satin bias binding to cover the seam. The other decision I had to make was whether or not I removed any sequins that were in the seam allowance before I started. So using some of the scrap fabric I started testing.
As the pattern only had a 1cm seam allowance seam binding before sewing was not going to work so I had a look at what my over locker could do. First I over locked the seam without removing the sequins in the seam allowance. That was not going to work. Next I removed the sequins and sewed the two pieces together. As the sequins are added to a netting background there is no fraying, so in theory no need to finish the raw edge. This could work, but the fabric was still quite visible on the seam line. So then I over locked the seam allowance together and that I thought was a good finish, still visible but neat.
So then the mammoth task or removing the sequins started. I marked the 1cm seam line in chalk on the fabric and then with a pair of decoupage scissors, I removed all the sequins from the seam allowances and also from the darts. I have estimated, as I am a bit of a nerd sometimes, that I removed over 6,000 sequins.
The next job was to sew the darts, which in itself was nothing exciting, but it did produce a Eureka moment for the creation of my seams. After I had sewn the darts I checked them out to see how looked and noticed how good the small seams looked through the netting, “as if they were a rolled hem”. That was it. Back to some spare fabric to test if I could use the rolled hem function on my over locker to finish my seams. They are not a tiny rolled hem and it does wobble slightly when I go over the sequins, but I love them. One of the things that has surprised me about this fabric is the fact that it irons so well. I did use a silk organza ironing cloth just to be safe, but I had no issues whatsoever. This, I believe, makes this fabric suitable for more tailored items.
From here the construction of the trousers was very straightforward until I got to the waistband. I decided that adding a waistband would be too complicated with the see through fabric and the sequins, so I opted for a wide black elastic to finish the waistband off. I am more than happy with the finish, though more to the point my daughter loves them.
I hope you all can see that this fabric, though a little time consuming removing the sequins, is really easy to sew and decide to use it for a sparkly little Christmas outfit of your own.
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