February 13, 2024

Sewing Sequined Fabrics: 5 Essential Machine Tips

Trying to work with sequin fabric without guidance is challenging and can lead to mistakes. Your sewing machine is an essential tool for this task, but it needs to be used correctly when dealing with sequins. This guide will help you choose the right needle to avoid any mid-project mishaps and show you how to stitch sequins properly so they stay in place. Instead of struggling on your own, this detailed manual provides everything you need to know. Let's look at turning your sequin ideas into actual garments you can wear, without any confusion.

When sewing sequin fabric, start by selecting a needle that's strong enough to handle the material but won't damage it. A universal needle size 90/14 is often a good choice. It's also important to adjust your sewing machine's tension settings to accommodate the thickness and texture of sequin fabric. Lowering the stitch length can help avoid pulling or distorting the fabric.

For smoother stitching, consider removing sequins from the seam allowances before sewing. This can prevent the needle from breaking and ensure that the seams lay flat. If you're working on a project that requires flexibility, like a sequined dress, using a stretch stitch or a narrow zigzag stitch can provide the give needed without compromising the integrity of the seam.

To finish your sequin project with a professional look, trim any loose threads and secure the ends of your seams. This will help keep the sequins in place and prevent them from unraveling. With these tips and techniques, you'll be able to create stunning sequin garments that sparkle and shine, all while avoiding common pitfalls.

Key Takeaways

After getting the hang of working with sequin fabric, you're ready to start making projects that really catch the eye. The first step to a successful project is picking the right sewing machine and setting it up specifically for sequin material.

When you use the right sewing methods and are careful with how you wash and handle sequined clothing, you help them stay beautiful and last longer.

Remember, the quality of your work doesn't just add to the textile world; it also shows off your unique talent and style. So, go ahead and jump into your projects with confidence, knowing that your creations will be noticed for their excellent craftsmanship and distinctive look.

To simplify, when choosing a sewing machine for sequin fabric, look for one that can handle thicker materials and make sure to adjust the tension settings accordingly. For example, a heavy-duty machine like the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is a good choice because it can sew through multiple layers easily.

It's important to be gentle when washing sequined items. Hand washing or using a gentle cycle with cold water is best to prevent damage. Always turn the garment inside out before washing.

By focusing on these practical tips and embracing your creativity, you'll be able to produce sequined garments that are not only visually appealing but also durable. Whether you're making a dazzling dress for a special occasion or adding some sparkle to everyday items, your work will surely stand out.

Understanding Sequin Fabrics

Working with sequin fabrics means understanding their special features. These fabrics are known for their small, bright pieces, called sequins, that catch the eye. Sequins come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, and they're attached to different kinds of fabrics. This can range from light, airy tulle to fabrics that stretch, making them comfortable to wear. Each combination of sequin and fabric needs a particular approach, especially if you're using stretchy sequin fabric for your designs.

When you sew with sequin fabric, choosing the right needle and sewing method is crucial. The stretchiness of the fabric determines the needle size and type you should use. This is important so the seam stretches with the fabric and doesn't damage the sequins. You'll also need to adjust your pattern to fit the fabric's texture and how it falls, so your finished piece looks and fits as you imagined.

It's important to know about the different sequins and how they're attached to the fabric. This knowledge helps you handle, cut, and sew the fabric without harming its unique qualities. Whether you're working with a strong, non-stretchy base or a stretchy one, your technique needs to be adjusted to get a high-quality outcome that makes the most of the sequin fabric's special charm.

For example, when sewing a sequin gown, consider using a ballpoint needle if your sequin fabric is stretchy, as it prevents damage to both the sequins and the fabric. A specific recommendation would be to use a stretch needle size 75/11. This size is often perfect for handling the delicate balance between piercing the fabric effectively without ruining the sequins or the stretch of the fabric.

Selecting the Right Machine

When you're picking a sewing machine for working with sequin fabric, it's really important to choose one that has a strong metal frame. This kind of frame helps the machine stay stable while you're sewing, which is super useful because sewing sequins can be quite tricky. The stability helps you sew smoothly without any hiccups.

Make sure the sewing machine you pick lets you adjust the presser foot pressure. This feature is great because it lets you change how tightly the machine holds the sequin fabric. Sequin fabric can be thick, and without this adjustment, you might end up damaging the sequins. Being able to adjust the pressure means the fabric will move evenly under the needle, without getting stuck or wrinkled.

Having a needle down function is also really helpful. This means you can stop sewing with the needle still in the fabric, making it easier to turn the fabric and get neat, precise stitches around each sequin. It's like having an extra hand to help you make sure every stitch is just right.

Choosing a machine that can sew slowly is also a good idea. Sequin fabric requires careful stitching, and a slow sewing speed gives you more control over each stitch. Plus, look for a machine that has a needle cooling function. This is important because sewing through a lot of sequins can make the needle hot, which could break it or mess up your sewing. A cooling function keeps the needle at a safe temperature, so you can keep sewing without any problems.

Adjusting Machine Settings

Tweaking the settings on your sewing machine is key to nailing projects with sequin fabric. This fabric can be tricky, often causing missed stitches or uneven fabric feed. But, with a few adjustments, you can significantly improve your sewing quality. Let's dive into some adjustments that can make a big difference:

  1. Change the stitch length: The thickness of your sequin fabric dictates the stitch length. Thicker, woven sequin fabrics do better with longer stitches, while the stretchy, knit types need shorter stitches to avoid skipping any. It's like choosing the right gear for driving uphill or downhill - you want the machine to work with the fabric, not against it.
  2. Tweak the tension: If you've ever noticed your fabric puckering or your thread snapping, it might be due to high tension. Lowering the tension helps the stitches lay flat and even, which is crucial for the uneven surface of sequin fabric. Think of it like loosening your grip on a slippery rope to maintain control without breaking it.
  3. Use a walking foot: This attachment is like having an extra set of hands, keeping the fabric stable and moving smoothly under the needle, especially important for sequin fabric that tends to slip and slide. It's a game-changer for keeping everything in line for a professional look.
  4. Try different needles: Not all needles are created equal, especially when it comes to sewing sequin fabric. Some might skip stitches or even damage the fabric. It's worth experimenting with a few types, like a special sequin or metallic needle, to find the perfect fit. It's similar to finding the right pair of shoes for a long hike; the right choice can make the journey much more enjoyable.

Stitching Techniques

After looking into how to adjust your machine for sequin fabric, let's dive into the best ways to sew it to make sure your projects not only look great but also last a long time.

When you're working with sequin fabric, it's really important to choose the right stitch size. If your sequin fabric doesn't stretch, go for a longer stitch, around 2.5 to 3. This stops the sequins and fabric from getting damaged. But if your fabric is stretchy, a small zig-zag stitch will do wonders. It lets the fabric stretch without losing its shape or breaking the stitches.

Making sure your machine's tension is just right is key too. This helps you avoid annoying issues like missed stitches or the fabric puckering up, which can happen a lot with sequin fabric. And don't forget to backstitch at the start and end of your seams. This simple step is super important because it locks your stitches in place, especially with the heavy and textured nature of sequin fabric.

To keep your fabric from moving around too much—since sequins can make it bulky and hard to handle—using a walking foot can be a game changer. This attachment helps feed the fabric through your machine evenly, so your stitches are smooth and your finished project looks top-notch.

Caring for Sequined Garments

Taking care of your sequined outfits requires a gentle touch to keep them looking their best. By treating these pieces carefully, you help preserve their unique sparkle and the overall structure of the garment.

Here's an easy-to-follow guide for maintaining your sequined clothing:

  1. Wash Gently: When it's time to clean your sequined items, use a gentle cycle on your washing machine. Choose a mild soap and never use bleach. Bleach can harm the sequins and the fabric they're attached to. For example, you might use a detergent designed for delicates.
  2. Dry Properly: Instead of hanging your sequined clothes up to dry, lay them flat. This method helps them keep their shape and stops them from stretching out. Imagine laying them on a clean towel to air dry, ensuring they stay looking as good as new.
  3. Spot Clean When Necessary: Sometimes, it's better to clean just the areas that need it rather than washing the whole item. This can help keep the sequins and fabric in top condition. If there's a small spot or stain, gently dab it with a soft cloth and a mild cleaning solution. This way, you avoid the robust handling of a full wash.
  4. Store with Care: Keep your sequined clothes in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Sun can fade and weaken them. Think about wrapping them in a cotton sheet or storing them in a breathable garment bag to protect them.


Having mastered the art of sewing with sequin fabric, you're now equipped to start your own eye-catching projects. The key to success lies in choosing the correct sewing machine and adjusting its settings to suit the material.

By applying proper sewing techniques and taking care when washing and handling your sequined garments, you ensure they remain stunning and durable.

It's crucial to remember that the beauty of your work not only adds to the vast world of textiles but also showcases your skill and flair. So, dive into your projects with confidence, knowing that your creations will stand out for their craftsmanship and style.

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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