Ringing in the New Year with Sequins!

Happy New Year!!! I guess we’re already half-way through January, but I’m still in time to wish you a Happy New Year, right? I got sidelined by the flu last week, so this post is a bit late. But, I’m back and so excited for 2019! I have some awesome projects planned for this year, and a sequin sweatshirt seemed like the only appropriate way to kick things off. I mean, when aren’t sequins appropriate?

Technically, this is my last project of 2018. This sparkly little number was my New Year’s Eve look. Since I was hosting a party at home, I wanted to be comfortable yet festive. A sequined sweatshirt checked both of those boxes quite nicely.

I first got the idea for this sweatshirt about a year ago from this Burda Style tutorial. I thought it would be perfect for New Year’s Eve last year, but I never got around to making it. This year it was going to happen…even if it happened on December 30.

The Burda Style tutorial instructs you to buy a sweatshirt, take it apart, add the sequined panel to the front and reassemble. I figured it would be just as easy to make my own sweatshirt as it would be to take one apart and sew it back together. Enter McCalls 6992 (I believe this is out of print, but you can find it on Etsy and Ebay). This pattern was exactly what I wanted – a sweatshirt with raglan sleeves and a relaxed fit. I’d made this pattern before, so I also knew it was an easy make.

Full disclosure – New Year’s Eve is my least favorite holiday of the year. I don’t mind the passage of time. I usually get pretty excited to bust open a fresh planner and start a new year. Never-the-less, I don’t like the actual holiday that gets me there. This year, I reasoned that if I looked like a sparkly mermaid it might make New Year’s Eve a bit more fun. I don’t know if the experiment worked, but I did look super fun and festive in my sweatshirt.

I guess all of this is to say that this Glitterbug Reversible Sequin Fabric from JoAnn was perfect. The solid black fabric is also from JoAnn, and it is a non-pill ponte knit. I don’t see this fabric online. It’s a really nice weight ponte, and the idea of it being non-pill was what really sold me on it.

This sweatshirt was the first time I’d ever sewn with sequins, so its construction involved a lot of experimentation. I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern itself. It fit great straight out of the envelope. The length of the sleeves, which are often too short with other patterns, were even plenty long enough with some room to spare!

To create the sequined front panel, I cut the pattern piece out of both the sequin fabric and the ponte. I used the ponte to underline the sequins, because I definitely didn’t want the underside of the sequin fabric against my skin. After cutting out both pieces, I stitched them together along the seam allowance. Now the two layers would act as one. However, the sequined fabric has a lot more stretch than the ponte. This meant once I sewed the layers together, the sequined fabric was bunching up at the bottom. It had stretched and was too long for the ponte layer. Luckily, this was an easy fix – I unpicked the bottom stitches, smoothed out the sequin fabric, trimmed the excess and resewed the layers together.

My initial idea was to handle the sequin fabric the proper way and remove all the sequins from the seam allowances prior to sewing. After I started unpicking the sequins one by one, I decided that I wanted to wear this shirt on December 31, 2018, NOT December 31, 2019. Doing things the proper way went right out the window, and here’s where the experimentation kicked in.

I sewed up the side seams first and decided to finish them with a flat felled seam. This way, the sequins would be encapsulated inside. This actually worked really well and gave a smooth, soft finish inside. The only hitch? The line of visible stitching on the ponte fabric. Along the side seams it’s barely noticeable, but I was afraid it would look less than great along the sleeve seams. In comes experimental finish number two. I stitched the seams as directed and trimmed the sequin fabric down as much as possible. I then went in and pulled off any larger sequin pieces that would poke my skin.

I’ll be the first to admit these are not the best finishes, but I was on a time crunch – the countdown was on…literally. In the end, they worked out quite well and resulted in a comfortable garment. Next time I make something sequined, I’ll definitely take the time to finish the seams in a more professional manner.

Before I sign off, I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for following and supporting me throughout 2018. I love being a part of the online sewing community and getting to share all my adventures (and sometimes misadventures) behind the sewing machine. I’m so excited to continue to share my projects. 2019 is going to be great!!

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

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