Over on Instagram, Ella from @sewistandthecity has a competition going on at the moment to recreate a garment inspired by something you’ve seen on this year’s Great British Sewing Bee 2020. I instantly knew I wanted to create something that pushed my boundaries, inspired by Nicole Akong’s orange feathered dress that felt so red carpet. Sewing with a sequinned fabric was the first thing that popped into my head and I realised I’ve never really worn anything with sequins, so I challenged myself to make a glamorous sequinned dress.
I spent AGES trying to find a pattern that resembled a strappy v-neck midi length dress but I couldn’t find anything that I loved and I didn’t want to draft a whole new pattern as the idea of sewing with sequins sounded challenging enough. But then I came across The Nikko Dress and Top pattern by True Bias and thought if I did a little hack that it would work better! I specifically wanted a pattern that didn’t have any zips and the shape and fit of The Nikko Dress looked great! I knew as well that in autumn/winter I’d want to make this style of top and dress too.
Choosing the fabric
The Nikko Dress pattern does recommend using a medium-weight knit fabric with 75% stretch, but I thought if I sew a size or two up and then use a fabric with a little stretch that should be fine. I chose this lovely sequinned fabric from an Etsy shop and it does look great in person, but my god it sheds the sequins so much and I still find them in ever corner of our flat. I also purchased this Stretch Lining from Minerva Crafts in a Nude colour as the sequinned fabric is very lightweight.
Hacking the pattern
I cut out a straight size 8 to make a toile with and altered the neckline and armholes by created a straight line at the point I wanted the neckline to sit, as shown in the photo below. Then I sewed up a very rough test version in a white polyester with no stretch, to make sure whatever I made would slip on over my head and bust. I’ve attached two pictures showing the altered pattern and my very rough toile, which worked fine but I realised it was a little too tight and decided for the final dress I will cut out a Size 10.
The construction of this dress was relatively straight forward but I didn’t follow the instructions at all because I was lining the dress. I first sewed the lining to the fabric at the neckline and armhole on both front and back pieces, leaving a gap for straps and then made straps and sewed them in. Then I under-stitched the whole top part of the dress, which actually worked out fine with the sequinned fabric and I only got a few skipped stitches. The straps I made were 9″ x 1″ and looking back at the dress now, I wish I had chose a lining that better suited my skin tone as I didn’t realise how much the beige straps would stand out on my arms.
After that I sewed the side seams but I treated the lining and fabric as one, as I found it easier to handle and finished the seams with a zig zag stitch as I didn’t want to overlock it. I would have kept the lining and dress seperate but was confused how I would create the side slit, so I just sewed the slit as per usual as if it was one piece of fabric and then hemed the bottom.
It’s not the neatest dress inside at the side seams, but hey-ho it worked and I could always try and finish the exposed side seams with bias binding if I really wanted to. I am so happy with how this turned out though and am glad I challenged myself to just go with it and try something different!