I originally conceived the idea for this dress back in December when I was preparing for the holiday party season. I was planning to go all out with sequins! and fur! and it was going to be super glam and totally fabulous. Well, the chore of sewing sequins and fur got the best of me and I had to postpone the sequins. So now I have a super shiny, sparkly Valentine’s Day dress (or shall I say Galentine’s Day? cause really that’s way more fun, amiright?).
This dress is actually my first version made with the Mesa dress pattern from Seamwork Magazine. I made a muslin around the end of the November to test the fit and discovered that the neckline was a little wide and that I should go down a size. (Details on fitting here.) I love the simple silhouette of this knit dress and that it has sleeves. This elbow length is just divine. I've since made two Mesa dresses blogged here and here.
For this dress, I made the adjustments to the flat pattern and started by cutting out the lining fabric. I stitched the lining together and tried it on. The fit looked great so I moved on to the sequins. (By the way, testing the fit of a pattern with your lining can be a great cheaters way of doing a quick muslin.)
For the fabric, I ventured to the downtown LA fabric district (I’m very lucky to live only minutes away). I browsed around Michael Levine and didn’t see exactly what I wanted. I had an image in my mind of exactly what I wanted so I decided to keep looking and explore some of the many smaller shops nearby. Just a few doors down the street, I found faux fur (see my fur projects here and here) and sequins that were exactly what I had envisioned. The store was crowded but I managed to grab a salesperson and get my fabric quickly. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid or even how much I bought (2 yards?) but I’m pretty sure it was around $30 for the fur and sequins. I still have sequin fabric leftover and I’d love to do an appliqué sweatshirt with it.
The sequin fabric is a stretch mesh fabric with the sequins sewn on in a serpentine pattern. The mesh is a little bit see through so I headed across the street to the Michael Levine Loft store. I never know what I’ll find there but I got lucky and found a light weight stretch knit in a neutral pink/beige. It’s a perfect lining fabric for this dress. It provides the stretch needed, is soft against the skin and doesn’t show through the fabric.
To sew the lining to the sequin fabric, I first sewed both at the shoulders, sleeves and side seams. Then I pinned the lining to the dress right sides together at the neckline and stitched around the neck opening. Then I turned it right side out and voila! a lined dress. I tacked the seam allowances at the sleeve caps together to keep it more stable. By the way, I used a serger for the lining and my conventional machine for the sequins. Do not use the serger for your sequins, I’ve read that it can damage the blade.
The last step was to hem the sleeves and skirt. Lots of articles recommend removing sequins from the seam allowance. I didn’t bother at the side seams but for the hems I thought it would be best. It would cut down on sequins that could scratch the skin and the lining fabric. So I went at it with my seam ripper gently removing sequins from the seam allowance. And about 4 hours later I realized that it was going to take FOREVER and I was not at all close to being done. And there were sequins everywhere. In the couch, in my pockets, down the hall of my apartment building (oops!). In the end, I got a little less gentle with the seam ripper and I did create a few small holes in the fabric. Oh well. I stitched the lining to the hem by hand and it’s done! The itchiness from the sequins is not totally gone (my forearms still touch the sequins) but I am glad that I took the time to remove the extra sequins.
Wearing this dress out to take pictures made me feel pretty self conscious. It was just a regular Sunday afternoon. haha! It’s so sparkly that in the car the sunlight would reflect on the sparkles and flash little bits of light all over the car. Rather distracting. I had to cover up with a coat! But, if I ever get a gig as a game show hostess I will be ready to go. Perhaps I should start planning now for this year’s New Year’s Eve party, just to make sure I have somewhere to wear this sparkly beauty.