This was my bridesmaid dress for my good friend's wedding in September. She was an easygoing bride and suggested her bridesmaids get any dress in a traditional metallic shade (so, gold, silver, or rose gold). I, of course, decided to make my dress and had initially planned on the BHL Kim Dress as it seemed to be the most bridesmaid-y dress out there (in a good way). (Coincidentally, yesterday Charlie posted a gorgeous Kim bridesmaid dress of her own, so clearly I wasn't alone in this thought!) But it wasn't meant to be for me - I don't own the Kim dress and the PDF pattern wasn't available yet, so I had to find another option.
It wasn't until I stumbled upon this stretchy gold sequin fabric that I thought of the Seamwork Mesa pattern as an option. Mesa is a straightforward pattern with simple lines, allowing the fabric to really shine...and what fabric shines better than GOLD SEQUINS!
Despite my newfound desire for a gold sequin dress, the thought of sewing the thing made me really nervous. With the wedding just 3 weeks away, I had a deadline, and should anything go glaringly wrong, I knew that giving up (i.e. having a meltdown and throwing a half-finished dress into the corner of shame) wasn't an option. I read some inspiring sequin-related posts by Closet Case Files and By Hand London, but still thought I might be getting in over my head. I was finally convinced by the woman at the fabric store, who told me I'd be able to sew right through the sequins. You mean I don't have to remove individual sequins from the seam allowances? SOLD.
The construction of the front, back, and sleeves took a couple of hours, including cutting. I lined the dress with a nude jersey, and, to avoid having to sew through the sequin fabric multiple times, I sewed both the fabric and lining layers at once. This was a great idea until I tried it on...itchy seam allowances! So I cut some additional strips of the jersey lining and encased the sequiny seam allowances in them. Looks a tad messy on the inside, but it took care of that problem.
The finishing of the side seams, hem and neckline took another full afternoon because it's such a finicky fabric. Naively, I tried to hem this like I would any other dress, by just folding up and sewing around the hem. It looked horrible and bulgy. Some seam ripping and googling later, I found this guide on how to properly hem a sequin dress (hint: it's with a bias facing...I used the jersey lining as the facing and it worked fine). I did the same thing for the neckline, but didn't bother with the sleeves; instead, I just turned them in and stitched them down (the sequins didn't bother me on the sleeves for some reason). I also didn't bother adding the side slits 'cause the dress was short enough and I didn't think it needed them.
I'm in love with the final result and will totally get some good wear out of this again. Oh, and the wedding was the most beautiful, amazing, sparkly, fun time ever!
Pattern: Mesa Dress from Seamwork (by Colette Patterns)
Size: XS, graded to S at the hips
Fabric: Stretch gold sequins and jersey lining from Chu Shing Textiles (Toronto)