I believe talent is inherent and that skills are learned and built upon.

With each new fabric there is another medium that needs to be studied and practiced. Learning a new skill may also be stressful. There are always failures on the road to success.

I have made a few sequin dresses before that either had no closures or were less than perfect. I hope you enjoy my knowledge and struggles in the world of glitz and glam with no shame.


My first huge time hurdle was locating type two sequin fabric (sequins sewn on to the fabric) from an independent fabric shop. Type one is sequins that are glued onto the fabric. I found type two baby sequin on stretch knit mesh from So Sew English online.

I chose a design that did not have hardly any piecing or details. You do not want pleats, button holes or gathering on sequin fabric. I used Polynesian Pattern # 3007B that consisted of front, back and neckline pieces.

Sequins on mesh need to be lined with another knit fabric. I find it easiest to cut my outer shell pieces on the cutting table and then lay those pieces flat on the floor over the lining fabric for accuracy. After cutting my dress I clipped the dress seams on the dress form to make sure there was nothing major I was missing. Pins tend to get lost in the sequins mesh, clips work well.

The part I thought was going to be the biggest problem went exceptional smooth. The dreaded zipper! I put the zipper in first while everything was open and flat. I used an invisible zipper so no top stitching was required.

Picking the sequins out of the seam lines makes the dress less bulky and easier to sew. I scrape as many off with my finger nails along the cut edges as possible before sewing.

After the dress is assembled and before hemming it needs to hang for a couple of days. This is very important! Gravity pulls the heavy layer down making it longer than the lighter layer. In this case the heavy sequin side grew over an inch.

At this point it seemed so easy. Just serge, hem and done. I am a professional seamstress that has hemmed many formal sequin dresses, right?

My first attempt to sew the curved hemline was a huge failure. It wavered terribly. This is where the top presser foot pushes down and stretches the fabric to look like bacon or lettuce waves. My dress is 4 X’s thicker than the dresses I hem at work. It also has a substantial amount of stretch.

I spent 3 hours Thanksgiving Day ripping and fixing.

My second attempt to sew the hemline by machine would be different. I gathered the curved edges slightly and then placed the turned under hemline up against the feed dogs hoping those teeth would ease and pull my excess gathers in. WRONG! This time it was way worse! Instead of just a few waves there were many.

On Youtube, I found very little on hemming heavy sequin knit. I decided to consult the Book, Facebook, that is. I had only one person tell me that I needed to sew the dreaded hemline by hand, thanks Dani!

She was so very right! It only took me an hour to hand stitch the hemline. I wish I would have done that in the first place. I would have saved 5 hours of shenanigans!

Modeling is the beautiful Philomina Majesta Afua Darko.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!

Tracy McElfresh
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