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Quick Tip: How to sew sequined fabric

Today’s Crafty Advice question is about sequined fabric:

Oooohhh sparklies...


Dear WhatTheCraft,

I’m trying to sew knit material with sequins that are glued on. My machine works fine with everything else I’ve sewed, but when I tried to sew this fabric, the needle gets gummed up with glue residue from the fabric and starts skipping stitches. Is there a special needle I should be using or is my machine just not capable of sewing this type of fabric?

Sequins are tricky. It’s probably more likely that the fabric is to blame than the machine, especially if the glue is actually getting on the needle. You might have the best luck hand sewing sequined fabric (that goes double for sequins that are sewn on to the fabric and not glued), so you can stitch around the sequins instead of trying to sew through them with your machine.

However, some tricks you can try: use a titanium needle, and put a layer of wax paper over the seam while you sew. Sew right through the paper and remove it when you’re done. The wax should “wipe” the needle off as you sew, preventing the glue build up.

9 comments to Quick Tip: How to sew sequined fabric

  • Raven

    I work at a fabric store and this fabric is particularly tricky; we’re required to tell our customers to buy either a microtex needle or a ballpoint needle to get through this type of material.

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  • Ronna

    I tried the ballpoint needle, that still gets glue balled up. I will try it with wax paper. Thanks for the tip.

  • mary

    Thank you for the waxed paper tip. My needle was full of glue, I cleaned it with alcohol, used the waxed paper and no sticking of glue!

  • Marie

    Thanks for the tips. I’m working with a gorgeous chiffon fabric that has silver dots glued all over it. I’ve tried everything to get the glue off the needle – the stick keeps breaking. The waxed paper you suggest – is it the old fashioned kind of waxed paper they used to wrap sandwiches in before plastic wrap or are we talking Saran wrap?

    • Lex

      Hi Marie-
      Yes, the old fashioned wax paper. I’ve also heard of a product called “Sewer’s Aid”. It’s basically a lubricant that you dab onto the needle. It will probably need to be reapplied throughout sewing, but people say it helps.
      Some people also keep the little alcohol wipes on hand and use those to clean the needle periodically.

  • Marie

    Thanks Lex for the information. I’m going to give the waxed paper a try this week-end. Stay tuned for an update on how it works.
    When I asked about the type of paper I said Saran Wrap but I realize now I meant freezer paper which has a waxy side. It’s very heavy though and probably would not be suitable on chiffon.
    Do you think the waxed paper would work with my serger too?

  • Marie

    The wax paper is working like a charm. No glue on the needle and no skipped stitches or broken thread.
    I’m using a regular fine sewing machine needle on my Pfaff machine as the titanium needles I ordered online haven’t arrived. It’s working great.
    Thanks for the great tips.

    • Lex

      Glad to hear it! It’s always good to know when a tip works out like that. :D
      To respond to your question about the serger: my only concern would be that paper dulls scissors quickly. I imagine the same might happen to your serger blades. I guess you could plan to either change the blades soon or try to keep the paper under the needles but not far over enough to get cut by the blades.

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