Sequin T-Shirt

I never make t-shirts. Never. My mind is always thinking they are too simple to make. I like complexity and challenge. I’ll just buy them instead, I tell myself. Except, I am finding good quality t-shirts harder and harder to find. These days they all seem to be made from extremely thin material that pills after several washes.

So, I’ve made my very first t-shirt:

sequin cotton jersey top

The body is made from a sequined wave cotton jersey from Mood fabrics. I ordered a swatch of it several months ago and fell in love. The sequins are sewn on with nylon thread on top and cotton thread underneath, which provides lots of strength to keep the sequins on and protects your skin from any scratchiness of the nylon. I washed and dried it before starting this project and only noticed one sequin come off (which was probably on an edge somewhere). The sleeves and neck binding are a bamboo knit, also from Mood fabrics, left over from this project last October.

sequin cotton jersey top

Several patterns were pieced together for this project – Vogue 8536 for the body and McCall’s 6559 for the neckline – both of which I have made previously. I cut the sleeves way back for more of a modern look and made the hem a high-low. After I got everything traced out to my satisfaction I made a muslin to test the fit. A few adjustments later and I was ready to cut into my fabric.

sequin cotton jersey top

If you are going to tackle a project with sequins, be prepared to get them EVERY WHERE! At first I just sewed the shoulder seams with the sequins attached, but they were all caught in the seam and there was no way to iron. Plus, it would have been super uncomfortable to wear a top with sequins scratching my skin at all the seamlines. I tried cutting them out of the seam after it was stitched but realized that wasn’t going to work either. No, I had to remove all the sequins in the way of any seam before I stitched it. I started season 1 of “Alias” with my fabric and seam ripper, and am now on episode 9. I’ll let you do the math.

sequin cotton jersey top

For the sleeves I used my twin needle at the hemline. I stitched the neck binding doubled to the inside of the garment, then graded the seams and flipped it to the outside. This way any sequins on the edge got encased in the binding and I got a neat finish to the neckline.

sequin cotton jersey top

Also, I decided to try sewing the sleeves in flat – like they do in RTW (ready to wear) – and stitched a tiny bit of topstitching to keep the underarm seam flat against the sleeve.

sequin cotton jersey top

Dressform pictures:

sequin cotton jersey top
sequin cotton jersey top
sequin cotton jersey top

The hemline involved more removal of sequins. I decided I didn’t want to try using a twin needle and topstitching, so I stitched the hem entirely by hand with a whip-stitch. You can also see the cotton threads along the inside of this fabric.

sequin cotton jersey top

I used my overlocking foot to finish all the seamlines.

sequin cotton jersey top

My goal was to make this top casual enough to throw on with a pair of capris or jeans, and I think I was successful. This simple t-shirt turned out to be quite a bit of work! I felt like one of those ladies in couture design houses, all dressed in white, with their needle and thread in hand. Editor’s note: But look at the payoff!

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Comments


  • Karen
    July 18, 2013

    Fabulous but hard to just call this a T shirt! Your meticulous removal of sequins in seam allowances was definitely worth the effort.

  • Peter
    July 18, 2013

    This looks so fantastic — well worth the extra effort. I want a sequin t-shirt!

    • Amanda S.
      July 18, 2013

      Peter, you should definitely make yourself one, lol! Thanks!

  • Andrea
    July 18, 2013

    I follow your blog and MSN and have always been impressed by your garments. This one, however, caused me to make my first comment ever. It really looks amazing! Definitely not a simple t-shirt.

  • Ginger
    July 18, 2013

    This is lovely! It’s such a great example of using a simple silhouette to let a fabulous fabric shine, creating a really unusual garment in the process. Great work, girl!

  • Rachel
    July 18, 2013

    That is so cute! I also have wanted to find a TNT tshirt pattern, because I’m also having a hard time finding nice basic tees!

    • Amanda S.
      July 18, 2013

      Thanks Rachel! I see lots more of these in the future, albeit without the sequins.

  • Alex in California
    July 18, 2013

    Simple design, spectactular result.

  • Sarah Gunn
    July 18, 2013

    What a t-shirt this is, Amanda! The payoff was well worth your efforts.

  • Manju
    July 18, 2013

    Love this! Casual glamorous mum! :-)

  • carolyn roemer
    July 18, 2013

    Wonderful shirt, good fit, and classy look. The neck laying so perfectly flat is beautiful. I only made the sequin adding and subtracting journey one time so I totally admire your persistence.

    • Amanda S.
      July 18, 2013

      Thanks Carolyn! I hope your first journey did not put you off the fabric!

  • Cissie
    July 18, 2013

    This is no ordinary t-shirt! Fabulous in every way!

  • Haylee
    July 18, 2013

    What cool fabric! I like that you did a colorblocking with the sleeves too, instead of making them out of sequins as well. I really like the look of it! All your hard work definitely paid off Amanda, looks great!

    • Amanda S.
      July 18, 2013

      Thanks Haylee! I didn’t want the sequins on a sleeve rubbing against the sequins on the bodice, so this was my solution. Plus the solid black makes it more casual, which is what I was aiming for.

  • Lauren
    July 18, 2013

    I’ve lurked this fabric from time to time, but I’ve never once considered making Tshirt from it. Yours is AMAZING! The fit is beautiful and the construction looks so professional.

    • Amanda S.
      July 18, 2013

      Thanks Lauren! I really didn’t know what to do with it at first. I ordered only 1 yard with some sort of top in mind. Mood sent me a little under 1.5 yards so then I thought I might make some sort of dress. I hate to waste extra yardage, KWIM? But then I couldn’t think of anyplace to wear a sequined dress to. I went back to my original plan of making a top and trying to find some way to make it wearable in my everyday activity as a mom of 3 kids. I’m really starting to enjoy the thought process behind choosing fabrics and patterns and thinking of specific places a garment might be worn.

  • Carolyn
    July 19, 2013

    It’s fantastic! You have really used the fabric in a thoughtful way! I love this!

  • Neroli
    July 19, 2013

    I have to agree with all the other comments; this is one fantastic T shirt and I can see many imitations will from come from this post. In fact I know I have some sequins in the stash and I will get far more wear out of a T-shrt than a dress

  • Lori
    July 19, 2013

    Amazing t-shirt, Amanda. I love the fabric and the design of a t-shirt, you will wear and wear this top.

  • Erica B.
    July 19, 2013

    What a cool t-shirt! Now I must have this fabric!

    • Amanda S.
      July 19, 2013

      You would totally rock it, Erica!

  • Amy
    July 26, 2013

    What a fabulous shirt! It’s far from your basic T. Great job working with all of those sequins, too!