Adventures in Dressmaking: Oooh!! An upcycled sequin dress

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oooh!! An upcycled sequin dress

That's right, an upcycled sequin dress!  It was a top when I bought it at TJ Maxx for $7, post-holiday clearance, I think.

Anyway, I bought it for the sequins, because I've been craving them so!  Since around Christmas, when everyone was nuts for sparkles and sequins for New Year's Eve.  I never got any around then, but they're still in!  In fact, not that long ago I got an Express catalog for early spring and there were sequins all over it, too:
Express
So yay, they're still in for dress-up.  Anyway, I cut apart the top, taking off the arm, neck, and bottom binding, and then was basically left with two very short "T" shapes, almost rectangles.  You can see my "tutorial" here for taking apart a garment and turning it into something else.

Because the sequins were sewn onto basically a tan net, very lightweight and sheer, I gave the bodice and skirt a lightweight tan cotton interlining, and lined the bodice with a separate twill.  It worked really well; the bodice stands up for itself, you could say, and the skirt is drapey but obviously not sheer!  And you can't see any of the seam allowances through the outer layer, because of the interlining.

I used McCall's M5849, my good ol' standby, for the top, and miraculously was able to cut the skirt out of the rest of the fabric.

Ta-da!!

Oh, I should note.  This was THE MESSIEST project I've ever made!  Sequins flew everywhere as I cut!  And I used paper scissors, rather than my nice fabric scissors, because I didn't want to dull them on the plastic sequins, but oyyyy, this was a messy one to cut and sew.  I also used a leather needle on the machine because I broke a regular one.  It is possible to sew through sequins, but it's not easy-peasy!

But now I have something with sequins, at last!!

Oh, and the center back zipper was NO FUN to put into the sequin fabric!  I had to trim sequins off the center back before I put it in.  Again, messy project.

So, my tip for working with sequins?  Have a hand vac nearby.  Seriously, these things are still all over my house.  But, the dress is lots of fun!

47 comments:

Leaving a comment is easy, and I love to read them! No annoying word verification required. =)

  1. WOW that is stunning. You look amazing in it. The fit is exellent too. Awesome work!

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  2. That is a stunning dress! I'm amazed it was made out of a shirt! Great job!!! You look beautiful!

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  3. Get out! That's beautiful & such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. That looks great! i can't believe you got it out of that top!

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  5. Looks fantastic! The shape is gorgeous on you.
    I recently posted a DIY on my blog for the Zara Sequin Clutch that was so sought after so I know just how messy sequins are to DIY with!
    Please check it out, would be great to see what you think!

    Susie X

    theembellished.blogspot.com

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    1. Love the clutch tutorials, sounds like a great, fun project! I want some pleather now!

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  6. Großartig, sieht toll aus!

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  7. Woops! Sorry, I was so stunned, I forgot to write in English!

    What I wanted to say: You look stunning. Great work!
    :o)

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  8. how fun! I can't imagine sewing all those sequins. I whipped up a Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1873 last weekend from a twin sized sheet! http://themarimakes.blogspot.com/2012/03/weekend-dress.html

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  9. Seamsgoodtome@blogspot.comMarch 15, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    This looks amazing! So impressed that you took that top and made that dress- it is so cute! Very inspiring! I am just dipping my toes into apparel sewing and I love reading your blog for inspiration. Thank you!

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  10. Yowza!!! This is so impressive!!! I'm amazed that you got all that from a top. This is definitely making me want to sew when I get home from work :)

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  11. Nice work! I would be so intimidated to work with sequins. I love a good fashion repurpose, though!! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Great dress, hope you have somewhere nice to wear it soon!

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  13. I cannot believe you made a whole dress out of that top !!
    your sequin dress turned out amazing !!!

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  14. That is awesome! Good to hear your hints about sequins. Sewing the zipper must have been a real bitch.

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  15. You are a miracle worker! Amazing and gorgeous dress!

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  16. Wow!!! iwould have never though to get a dress out of just a stop. Your refashioning skills amaze me. Oh, and obv, that dress looks awesome

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  17. That is gorgeous on you- beautiful job! There's no way I could get a dress out of a shirt for myself, but I'll keep it in mind as my daughter gets older! :) Thanks for the tip on the leather needle- I never think of those things when I'm mid-project and having issues!

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  18. wow! Sparkle, sparkle! You are incredibly talented! xo

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  19. Like a SORCERESS, wow! I understand how they're the same thing, the top and the dress, but I cannot BELIEVE the rehab job you did on it. Gorgeous!

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    1. Haha! I did feel pretty magical when the pattern laid out perfectly!

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  20. i love LOVE this dress! 1.what a great find for the fabric-$7?! and 2. its just hot :) well done!

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  21. How impressive! I was reading this thinking that you surely didn't have enough fabric from this top for a dress, but you did! Messy or not, you did a fab job, and now you have a fab dress!

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  22. Well done! You are very talented!

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  23. Oh my goodness...that dress is stunning!! I LOVE it. You are one very talented lady. I would love to feature some of your projects on my blog. Email me if you are interested. aubreemiller@ gmail.com

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    1. Thank you! Feel free to mention me/link to my projects on your blog, and use pics from Pinterest or linked directly to my blog!

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  24. Wow, I can't beleive you managed to make a dress out of a top! and it's super cute! For How to Wear inspirations, check out http://myedit.blogspot.com/, she loves sequins and manages to pair them even for day looks....

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    1. Good call, she does do some fun things with sequins for daytime!

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  25. That turned out fantastic! I hate that all the sequin shirts and dresses I find only have them on the front and they're all sacks. This has a great shape and it looks so expensive since the sequins are on the front AND back. I never would have thought to take an oversized sequin top into a dress.

    Meg
    http://megshandmadelife.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, it is super annoying that the storebought ones are usually so cheap and just have sequins in the front!

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  26. what a pretty dress! so much patience to make I'm sure! still surprised you got a dress outer that top!

    Barnicles

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  27. I CANT believe you made a whole dress outta that fabric!!! its so pretty!!!!!

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  28. This is amazing! And I mean amazing! I can't believe that fabric went so far, the dress is gorgeous :)
    http://theredoneblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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  29. Wonderful job! I envy you the ability to not only sew well, but to see the shirt and imagine what it could be and to be correct!

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  30. OMG. I love it. You are "sew" inspiring.

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  31. Thanks, ladies! I can't quite believe it worked out so perfectly myself--gotta love those simple strapless patterns that take so little fabric!

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  32. I am totally amazed you made a dress from that top. I would need like three or four of those tops, lol! Love the idea of upcycling. Sequined fabric is so expensive. So incredible! Such a fun party dress.

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  33. Oh wow - this has to be one of the best refashion's I've ever seen!!! Initially I couldn't believe that you were able to make a WHOLE DRESS out of a top, but when I looked at the top again I see it has massive sleeves. It's absolutely gorgeous Suzannah!!!

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  34. You are one talented lady! I thought the top was cute, but the dress (!) is even better! bravo!

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  35. I can't believe you got that whole dress out of that one top!

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  36. you are honestly amazing. i have no idea how you did that and would rather stay in uninformed awe. wow.

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  37. Aaw, thanks, ladies. I like to stretch the boundaries of upcycling, I guess, haha!

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  38. I know next to nothing about dresses, dress-making, or the definition of the word "sequin". (Seriously, I had to look it up.) But that is simply a lovely creation.

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