Lately in the sewing world (and in the blogging world as a whole) there’s been a definite trend towards minimalism (hello Marie Kondo!). We should be sewing thoughtful, practical basics that speak to the core of our style. Instead of closets stuffed with party dresses never worn, we need a pared down selection only with wearable items we love most.
For the most part, I totally agree with this. I think reducing waste and making the things we love to wear, and will wear often, is a valuable use of our time, space and resources.
But sometimes, there are sequins.
Sometimes a project calls to you, and you need to give in, just a little, to your sense of impracticality.
During the holidays I saw Madalynne’s exquisite skirt and immediately fell in love. As smitten as I was, I had no need for a sequin skirt at that time (or any time really) so I filed it away in the back of my mind in the ‘future projects’ folder.
As we rolled into 2016, after a wave of holiday sewing and a particular dress that I couldn’t get quite right, my sew-jo hit an all-time low. I had lots of projects to make, but just couldn’t round up enough cares to move forward. It’s kinda sad when you feel like that.
Early this month, Heather wrote a brilliant post to help kick our butts into gear and get over sewing fear. Usually, this would have been the pep talk I needed. But for once, I wasn’t really in a rut because of fear or option paralysis, it was more a classic case of sewing malaise. I just felt meh about everything.
Then, two weeks ago my co-worker announced the theme for our staff holiday party (yes, i’m aware it’s January). The theme was tailor made for me: Glitter.
I LOVE anything glittering, sparkling and shiny. When I rushed to my closet though, I realized there was very little glitter to be found. After a short existential crisis (who even am I? Why don’t I have any glittering clothing?!) it seemed like an opportunity for a waist-to-toe smattering of sequin goodness!
I felt giddy at the thought of making and showing off this project. As soon as the idea sparked, I could hardly wait to get started and mentally ran through the construction details every night before bed. THIS was the perfect sew-jo booster!
As fate would have it, I was headed to the fabric store with Nicole for a collaborative project in only a few days time. I allowed myself to break my newly established ‘no new fabric’ resolution just this once. I went in search of a stretch sequin (for comfort and fit) and some soft jersey lining. It was a miracle (and the first time EVER) that the rose-gold fabric I imagined in my head was right there on the shelf waiting for me.
In terms of constructing, I analyzed Maddie’s blog post and followed in her footsteps. I self drafted a skirt using my waist, hip and height measurements, took in the fit 3 cm at the knee, then slashed and spread to the width of my fabric. I forgot how much math was involved in drafting (hence why I avoid pattern drafting where I can) but it was a fairly simple draft (skirts are like that) and took just over an hour to do.
I had mentally prepared myself to insert an invisible zip at the side seam, though I reaallly didn’t want to. Entertaining the notion I might be able to just pull the skirt on, I calculated the percentage of stretch for the fabric. It was about 30%. I then calculated that my waist to hip ratio was 0.76. Theoretically, this means it would work. My fabric could stretch over my hips and remain fitted to my waist because MATH.
But just to be safe, I just cut out and sewed the lining first, then tried it on because math and I aren’t friends and I usually don’t trust it. But it stretched over my hips easily. I also did a test run with my elastic waistband, pulling it on after sewing it to be sure I could get it on before attaching everything. It all checked out a-okay. No invisible zippers for me today!
I would have loved a shiny exposed elastic waistband but I was unable to find one that matched the warm bronzy gold of my sequins. So I simply used my lining fabric to cover basic black elastic. The elastic was quite stretchy so I undercut the waistband about 20% and it was perfect for holding up the weight of the sequin.
The jersey lining makes this skirt so comfortable and soft to wear. I was a little worried the fabric would make it feel like I was sitting on tiny spikes anytime I sat down, but the small sequins on this fabric were sewn down flat, and you can’t even tell you are sitting on them.
Word of caution to anyone now tempted to get into the magical world of sequins. They are much worse than their cousin glitter. Sequins get everywhere.
I had planned to cut and sew the sequins in one weekend afternoon, so I could make a mess, then promptly vacuum up the carnage. WELL. After somehow deciding I wanted to be a stickler for finishing on this garment and started hand-stitching down the inside seams, (since you can’t press them because of melting sequin issues), I was not going to finish in a day. It took HOURS. That meant the days rolled on and the sequins took over. We discovered quickly they stick to your feet and get tracked around, but also that socks were impervious to their cling. Living room/sewing space was declared a sock-only zone for over a week. Sorry Rory.
Though I did eventually get to clean them up, they still like to make surprise appearances. I’m not totally sure they will ever go away.
I finished the skirt about a week in advance of the party and couldn’t help but slip in on now and again and dance in front of the mirror. I don’t care how ‘impractical’ this skirt appears to be. IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY.
I feel so glamourous in it. It’s just so swishy and fun. When the light hits the sequin it looks like liquid gold and a disco ball at the same time. At the party my co-worker said I looked like an award. I’ll take it.
Minimalism and practicality has it’s case, and I have lots of amazing basics coming down the line, but just for a moment let’s celebrate the happy statement pieces. There’s so much value in the joy they can bring, and all that happy energy it going to be channelled into my next makes.
(Such a statement skirt needed a statement locale to shoot it in, so we ventured out to the really cool Ice Castles built in our city this winter. It was a wonderland.)
Here’s to grossly impractical but oh so empowering sewing! Cheers!