I was very lucky to have been asked to go and preview The Dab Hand’s new selection of fabrics for their next pop up, and select one to make up for the party season. As always they had an amazing array of fabrics, colours and choices and I could easily have chosen 5 or 6 different things I wanted to make. However, the magpie in me was immediately drawn to this stunning sequin leopard print black fabric. That description makes it seems like there’s a lot going on and like it could be a bit much – but the black on black keeps it from being too in your face and on the right side of Christmas chic!
Would you believe I choose the fabric before the pattern? I didn’t mean to but it might be more accurate to say the fabric choose me! I met Laura to see the fabrics just after I had made a really nice Nina Lee Park Lane Top so I wanted to choose fabric to make something similar. However it has a folded under sleeve and I don’t know if that’s possible with sequins, and if it was, I doubt it would be the most comfortable to wear. So I went back to an old favourite and a hack I had already done. I made a Sew Over It Whitley top, cropped with a ruffle hem. Despite the fabric being stretch I made the same size as I was going for a swingy look. The patterns pieces have the waist line marked so I folded the pieces up here and used this as a base. I then cut out two strips of fabric measuring 1.75 times the length of the bottom for the ruffles, by 6 inches long.
I had never sewn with sequins before so this was a leap for me! I read a couple of blog posts – by Guthrie and Ghani, and By Hand London, then winged it. I used a rotary cutter and mat to cut the fabric, clips instead of pins and a size 10 needle with my normal thread. To gather the bottom ruffle I simply cut a length of 5mm elastic the same length as the bottom of the top and used this. I didn’t used an iron on the fabric at all – just used my fingers to manually press everything. Instead of a facing at the neck I used bias binding.
I’m really happy with my final top – I think I will wear it loads to Christmas lunches and beyond. I have nothing to compare to this sequin fabric but it really wasn’t difficult to work with using the above steps. You just have to be prepared to hoover immediately after working with it! I think it would make a gorgeous Sew Over It Shift Dress, or a Colette Moneta Dress.
[Editor - Cathy's fabric will debut at the Pop Up on 8th December and will be available on the website afterwards ... if there's any left!]