Ah, the annual birthday dress! This is fast becoming something I really look forward to sewing and this year it was all about sequins – a) because I love them, b) it’s my birthday and c) Frocktails was on Saturday night just past, meaning I needed something a bit flashy and fun to wear! It was an epic night – 28 other sewing bloggers rocked out in some gorgeous dresses, with ladies as far as the ACT, Tasmania, AND Queensland all hitting Melbourne for the weekend. A delicious dinner and many many cocktails were enjoyed by all, not to mention the serious sewing skills on display! More on that a little later…
But first, the dress! It’s a navy blue matt sequin fabric, which in the main – sewed very easily. The underside of the fabric is kinda scratchy (and see through!) so I lined it all in a navy blue viscose knit – both fabrics from Tessuti.
The pattern is Marfy 2940 – I actually have two more versions of this dress mid-way through construction right now (including that red version I mentioned a while back). The only reason this one is finished over the others is because, well – I put a deadline on it! In comparison to the other versions which I hope to be able to show you soon, this is a slightly modified take on the design lines provided by Marfy. The two contrast panels at the waist in the dress sketch below are actually overlays to the dress pattern and not ‘structural’- the pattern is effectively a simple sheath dress with darts emanating from the waistline for shaping and a zip up the centre back. In order to minimise mixing seams and sequins, I took out the centre-back seam (and zip) and the horizontal waist seam, cutting the dress out in four pieces (front, back and sleeves) and leaving the stretchiness of the mesh backing the sequins to take the hit for fit.
I had no idea how the sequins were going to handle the ‘draping’ at the front, so to test before cutting I thread traced then hand sewed them all together. It came up really nicely (albiet being seriously upstaged by the sequins) so I decided to push ahead with the rest! I liked how neatly the pleats came together with hand sewing as opposed to machine sewing, so the darts were also sewn by hand. Yeah… this dress took a long time to sew.
Thank you all for your tips and hints on sewing with sequins – I took them all on board and it worked a treat for me:
- Sewing with the biggest, fattest machine needle for knits I could easily get my hands on (a 90/14 jersey needle from Schmetz) and on a low speed so the sequins could be gently ‘pushed’ out of the way rather than broken through. I still went back over the seams to check from sharp/damaged sequins but found none.
- Cutting out with regular (but sharp) paper scissors so as not to ruin my good shears.
- Using a fabric facing to hem the dress so as not to catch sequins on stockings should I decide to wear them.
To that list, I will add my own recommendation. If you’re not wearing safety goggles/glasses whilst cutting, then make sure you cut with the sequins facing down. I initially didn’t and had quite a few of those micro sequins flick up in my face (and everywhere else) but didn’t think much of it. An hour or so later and my eye started tickling. I had a hunch on the reason why… and look what I found!! Yes, a half-cut sequin, happily lodged in my eye. Thinking about what may have happened there had I not got it out before it slipped into my eye socket gets my heart rate up a little!!! Thanks to a steady hand and some tweezers that sucker was removed, sans injury.
I would recommend this pattern for stable knits (like ponte) to minimise issues with fit as I barely made a single change to the ponte version I have half complete of this, whereas the weight of the sequins changed the location of the waistline and darts by dragging it down. I had to take it in quite a bit, too. To keep everything in place, I stab-stitched the sequin mesh and lining together around the neckline and sleeves.
This dress is a definitely not a shrinking violet, and I certainly can’t see it getting as much wear as last years birthday dress… but hey. Sparkly!!
Time for some gratuitous pictures from Frocktails!!
So much fun! All photos from the night have been uploaded to my Flickr stream, so if you’re keen to have a look, pop on over there.
Oh, and one more super exciting thing…. Mr poppykettle proposed – we’re getting married!!!!
00:00 Pattern Preparation
00:00 Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
03:55 Fabric Preparation (thread tracing/cutting/basting/interfacing)
Fabric Utilisation = 3.6m (none from the stash, sadly!)
Stash total remains = 79.9m (Goal = 50m)