February 19, 2024

Maintaining Your Sewing Machine With Sequin Projects

You might believe your sewing machine can handle anything, but when it comes to sewing sequins, you need to make some changes. It's crucial to use a slightly bigger, sharp needle for topstitching because it prevents the thread from catching on the sequins or snapping. Reducing the sewing speed and raising the needle's foot height can really improve your results. However, these are just the beginning steps. Learning all the necessary adjustments can turn your sequined projects from being a source of stress to something you enjoy.

Here's why these changes matter: Using a larger needle makes it easier to sew without damaging the sequins or the thread. Imagine sewing a delicate fabric like silk; you wouldn't use a blunt instrument. The same goes for sequins. Slowing down gives you more control, reducing mistakes and ensuring your project looks professional.

For example, when working on a sequined dress, adjust your machine as suggested and choose a needle like the Schmetz Universal Needle Size 80/12. This specific needle works well because it's sharp enough to avoid the sequins while being sturdy.

Remember, these adjustments are not just about avoiding mistakes; they're about making your sewing experience smoother and more enjoyable. By taking the time to tweak your machine settings, you can work on sequined projects with confidence, knowing that the final product will be something to be proud of.

Key Takeaways

Preparing your machine for sewing sequins is crucial. You need to fine-tune the tension, pick the correct needle, adjust the presser foot, and select an appropriate stitch length and type. This ensures a smooth sewing experience. After finishing, it's also vital to clean and take care of your machine to keep it in top shape for future sequin projects. These adjustments help you sew sequins perfectly and prevent issues like thread snapping or sequins being misaligned.

For instance, adjusting the tension means finding the right level where the thread is tight enough to secure the sequins without breaking. A general-purpose needle size 80/12 usually works well for sequin fabrics, but for thicker materials, consider using a 90/14 needle. Using a presser foot with a larger gap or a specialized sequin foot, if available, can be beneficial. Opting for a slightly longer stitch length can also help in attaching sequins without causing any damage.

Make sure to clean the feed dogs and the area around the bobbin after sewing with sequins, as these parts can become blocked with glitter and small pieces of sequins. This maintenance ensures your machine remains in good working condition.

Following these guidelines can make sewing sequins much simpler and more fun. Whether you're adding sparkle to a garment or enhancing a piece of home decor, proper preparation and maintenance are key to success.

By implementing these steps, you'll be able to sew sequins effectively while avoiding common setbacks like broken threads or poorly placed sequins.

Adjusting Tension Settings

When you're sewing with sequined fabrics, it's really important to tweak the tension settings on your machine to avoid threads snapping or the fabric getting bunched up. Sequined fabrics are thicker and tougher than many other materials, so they need a bit of a different approach when it comes to tension. You'll likely need to loosen the tension a bit to make sure the fabric and stitches stay in good shape.

A good way to find the perfect tension setting is by testing on some scraps of your sequined fabric. This lets you see exactly how much you need to adjust the tension to get smooth stitches without messing up the fabric. Lowering the tension helps dodge issues like the needle missing stitches or getting stuck on the sequins, which happens a lot with these kinds of fabrics.

Needle Selection

Choosing the right needle for your sequin projects is crucial to make your stitches smooth and to avoid catching or damaging the fabric. The type of needle you use can greatly affect the quality of your sewing, ensuring that both your material and sewing machine stay in good condition.

Here's what you need to know to pick the best needle for the job:

  • Use a sharp topstitching embroidery needle. This kind of needle is strong and precise, making it less likely to break and more capable of delivering neat stitches.
  • Go for a bigger needle size if you're working with plastic sequins. Larger needles can handle the roughness of the sequins better, which helps prevent needle and fabric damage.
  • If you're sewing sequins onto denim or other heavy fabrics, a jeans needle is your best bet. Its robust build is perfect for getting through tough materials.
  • For sequined fabrics that stretch, a ballpoint needle is ideal. It helps avoid snagging and keeps the fabric's stretchiness intact.
  • Choosing the right needle isn't just important—it's essential for creating beautiful, durable sequin projects.

When you select your needle carefully, considering the fabric and sequins you're working with, you set yourself up for success. For example, if you're adding sequins to a stretchy dance costume, a ballpoint needle will help you avoid ruining the fabric's stretch. On the other hand, if you're embellishing a denim jacket with sequins, a jeans needle will make the job much easier and protect your needle from breaking.

Presser Foot Considerations

Adjusting the pressure of your machine's presser foot is key to keeping sequins in line while you sew. Getting this setting right is crucial when working with sequined fabric. It helps the fabric move smoothly under the needle, ensuring your embroidery comes out looking great. With the right presser foot pressure, you avoid issues like sequins moving out of place, missing stitches, or the fabric bunching up.

Also, making sure the presser foot is high enough for the sequins' thickness can prevent your needle from breaking. Needles need to be strong to work through sequined fabric, and setting your presser foot correctly helps avoid problems that can cause your project to look bad or even damage the fabric.

When you adjust your presser foot pressure for the specific sequined fabric you're using, your stitches will look better, and your embroidery will turn out just as you hoped. This adjustment makes sure the fabric feeds through the machine smoothly, keeping sequins aligned and helping you create beautiful, sequined designs.

Here's why it's important: Proper presser foot pressure keeps your sewing smooth and prevents common problems. For example, adjusting the height for thicker sequins means you're less likely to break a needle. This is crucial because a broken needle can ruin your fabric and your project.

Stitch Length and Type

When working with sequined fabric, it's important to adjust the way you stitch to prevent any damage and ensure the fabric stays intact. Here's a simple guide to help you get it right:

  • Aim for shorter stitches when you're dealing with a lot of sequins. This helps keep everything in place securely.
  • Try out different stitches, such as zig-zag or satin, which can cover more area and keep the sequins looking good.
  • Steer clear of long stitches. They can make the sequins move around or even cause them to break. Short and snug is the way to go.
  • Be careful when adjusting the stitch length. You want to avoid harming the sequins or the fabric underneath.
  • It's a good idea to regularly check your settings, especially when you're switching between areas with different amounts of sequins.

Why is this important? Sequined fabric can be tricky to work with, and the right stitch settings can make a big difference in the final look and durability of your project. By paying attention to these tips, you'll be able to create beautiful projects with sequined fabric more easily.

Plus, experimenting with different stitches can add a unique touch to your work. And remember, if you're ever in doubt, it's always helpful to test your settings on a scrap piece of fabric first. This way, you can make any necessary adjustments before diving into your main project.

Maintenance After Sequined Projects

After you finish working on projects that include sequins, it's really important to take care of your sewing machine. This means you need to clean it well to get rid of any pieces of sequins because they can get stuck and cause problems. Sequins are small and have sharp edges, so they can end up in places you wouldn't expect and mess with how your machine works.

Start by looking at the needle plate and the feed dogs. These parts are where fabric moves through the machine, and they can easily catch sequin pieces. This can make the fabric feed unevenly and mess up your sewing in future projects. You can use a soft brush or even a can of compressed air to clean these areas well.

Then, check the bobbin case. Sequins stuck here can mess with how the thread tension works, which can make your stitches look bad. Make sure to remove any sequins you find here carefully.

Adding some oil to your machine is also a key step after sewing with sequins. Check your machine's manual to see how to do this right. It helps everything run smoothly and keeps your machine working well for a longer time.

For example, if you're not sure what kind of oil to use, many sewing enthusiasts recommend using a specific sewing machine oil, like Singer All-Purpose Machine Oil. This kind of product is designed to work well with the moving parts inside sewing machines.


To sum it up, getting your machine ready for sewing sequins is essential. You need to adjust the tension, use the right needle, set the presser foot correctly, and choose the best stitch length and type. This makes sure your sewing goes smoothly. After you're done, it's important to clean and maintain your machine so it's ready for your next sequin project. By making these changes, you'll be able to sew sequins accurately and avoid common problems like thread breaking or sequins not being placed correctly.

For example, when adjusting the tension, it's about finding a balance so the thread doesn't break but still holds the sequins firmly. A universal needle size 80/12 can work well for most sequined fabrics, but for heavier materials, a 90/14 might be better. It's also helpful to use a presser foot with a wider opening or a special sequin foot if you have access to one. As for stitch length, a slightly longer stitch than usual helps secure sequins without causing damage.

Remember to clean the feed dogs and bobbin area after you've finished sewing sequins because they can get clogged with glitter and tiny sequin pieces. This step ensures your machine works well for your next project.

By following these tips, sewing sequins can be a lot less daunting and more enjoyable. Whether you're adding a bit of sparkle to a dress or jazzing up a home decor item, the right preparation and maintenance make all the difference.

Michelle Schmidt

Michelle is the founder and lead designer of MPowered Dancewear, a Minneapolis-based costume shop specializing in vibrant salsa performance attire. With over 8 years of experience crafting eye-catching designs for local dance teams, her creations enable dancers to feel confident and captivating as they sway across the floor.  

An expert on sewing dazzling dance costumes, Michelle loves to share her skills and knowledge by publishing sewing tutorials focused on helping aspiring designers create their own sensational Latin dancewear.

Disclaimer: the blog posts on this website may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please note that I only recommend products that I genuinely believe in or use myself. My goal is to share my knowledge and experience to help you find the best sewing tools and accessories for your needs, regardless of whether you purchase through my affiliate links or not.

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