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Hi pals. Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Today, despite my crippling hangover (I am too old to be cajoled into doing shots of Jamieson, groan), I decided to jumpstart my sewjo by working on a muslin for a sequin dress I want to wear to my friends wedding in November.

I have a scant 2 yards of this GORGEOUS bronze chevron sequin jersey I received at a meetup swap. I am super apprehensive about sewing with sequins so I would like to make a very simple mini dress with minimal seams and darts to minimise the amount of sequins I will have to carefully remove at all the sewing lines.

Coincidentally, I had a neon chevron stretch cotton in my stash so I used that today to test a simple shift pattern. I am having major gaping issues at the back as you can see below. Anyone have any suggestion for how I can fix this? It is a common fitting issue for me – normally I just pinch off the excess at the zipper but I can’t do that if I want to match my print. I’m sure this is an easy pattern adjustment I should be making all the time but I don’t know what it is. Thoughts?

That fitting issue aside, now that I have the shift made I’m wondering if it’s the right choice. I want something simple since the sequins are so crazy, but I’m also considering making a trapeze/tent dress instead. Here are the two options:

Option #1


A 60’s shift with short sleeves and the sequins running horizontally. The pattern pieces are slim enough that I can squeeze them all in on the crossgrain. It would look something like this:

Option #2 is a modified version of this tent dress I made a few years back. It’s basically a swingy a-line with no darts. I wear this dress frequently and find it really flattering despite the fact that it has almost no shape. I would eliminate the pockets, yolk seam and mock turtleneck. Here is the dress again:

Because the pattern pieces are quite wide, my only option is to run the chevrons vertically. It would look like something like this:

What do you think? Shift dress with chevrons running horizontally or tent dress with chevrons running vertically? Maybe you have an even better pattern suggestion. The sequined fabric is quite stretchy so I could also do a slimmer fitting t-shirt style dress, but I kind of liked the idea of a looser fitting 60’s silhouette. I gratefully welcome your thoughts.

Now I’m going to go collapse on the couch with my tea.

  • Rachel King

    Hi Heather, I always have that back neckline gaping issue. The easiest way to fix it is to create little neckline darts to pinch out the fabric. I usually make them on the pattern pieces before I sew so that there aren’t actually darts on the dress. Does this make sense?

    Sometimes the pattern piece may not lie flat after you fold out the excess into a dart – in which case it gets more complicated. You generally have to slash and spread somewhere else (generally a waist dart that you slash up the centre of to the tip) to allow the piece to lay flat – but your shift dress doesn’t seem to have any darts in the back – is that right? In which case I’m not sure what to do!

    As for the pattern choice – I think the shift looks great on you! It is really flattering. I like the tent too but the shift is my fave.

  • ncflanagan

    I would agree with small darts in the neckline. To get the pattern to line up on both sides of the zipper, you will need to make the darts in the actual garment – this will put the pattern *slightly* out of alignment at the darts, but not so much that it should take away from the dress at all.

    I vote for the horizontal chevrons… I think vertical chevrons look a bit *off*. Can’t wait to see the final result!

  • arnysews

    Definitely option 1 with horizontal chevrons. I would say the first dress is too big in the shoulders and upper chest. Going down one (or even two) sizes and doing an FBA should fix the gaping.

  • Deb

    option one for sure 🙂

  • TheBeeNet

    I agree with option 1

  • you have one vote for numero two, but you look totally fetch in both.

    yeah. i said fetch.

  • Chillmer

    Horizontal shift!

  • Lisa Polderman

    I have the same issue. I usually make darts at the back neckline, but I have also had luck doing a narrow back adjustment. I have a post on what this looks like here:

  • barbara

    great fabric!!

    it’s much easier to match chevrons horizontally and the sequins want to go in that direction. if you try to use them sideways, they’ll catch on everything and want to flip over. not a happy look. plus it’s easier to sew in the right direction.

    whichever way you use the fabric you still have to pinch out the extra so it won’t match at the zipper either way, and if you use it vertically it might not match below either. there’s a better chance of matching with horizontal stripes. don’t look over you shoulder. there’s so much bling that no one will notice. since you can’t do much about the matching, don’t worry it to death. it will be beautiful. see which way uses less fabric. it sounds like you have about 72″ by about 58″ and that could make a difference with matching.

    if you want to fiddle with the hem, you can follow the chevron at the bottom with a bias strip facing totally backstitched on the bottom by hand and catchstitched on the top.. much easier than by machine. pure 60’s.

    be sure to post the completed dress. can’t wait to see what you decide.

  • I’d say the shift dress 🙂 I think it does the fabric more justice 🙂

  • Coletterie has a back adjustment tutorial you might find useful?

  • Kate

    The chevrons look rather odd running vertically. Option one will look fab.

  • Dee

    Nice material – defo option 2 for me.
    P.s. I just made up your bombshell swimsuit and I just. Love it!

  • Katherine

    I prefer option one! It make me think of the retro Jiffy dress. You will be amazing! and by the way, I love you chevron neon fabric!

  • deirdre

    For the gaping issue at the back – I have the same problem all the time! It definitely helps to take out some fabric along the center back seam, but also look into the shoulder seams. I read somewhere that this problem is also due to square shoulders – and looking at your pictures, your shoulders definitely look a lot more defined than on your dress form! Changing the angle of the shoulder seams (just on the back piece) will take out some of that fabric.

  • Sarah T

    Horizontal for sure! I’ve had back neck gaposis too, and I think I eliminated some by making darts (this was for colette peony and new look 6000) but interestingly I had to have the same alteration done for my wedding dress (and felt very smug about working it out before he dress designer did! Ha!). I think on one of my mega internet fitting advice searches I came across a post that had a ratio rule for the front neckline to back neckline. Somewhere. Good luck!

  • lapastourelle

    I would say horizontal as if you make the chevron vertical then you won’t be cutting the pieces on the grain, but across them–and that seems like a recipe for disaster. LOVE the gold!

  • My vote is number 1. I love the fabric.

  • This fabric is amazing! I love it! I prefer the sequins running horizontally, but they will look great either way! I usually do a slash and overlap thing at the back neckline as I’m not a huge fan of neckline darts.

  • Great advice Babs! (is it okay to call you Babs?) Thank you!

  • nycbookwriter

    Neckline darts, in the back. I have the same issue, and I fixed it on a shift style dress last summer with the infamous dart.

    And I <3 the sequins print.

  • JuliaBobbin

    Oh it’s going to look fabulous! I would go for option 1 with the horizontal chevrons. Also the heaviness of the sequins might change the shape on option 2. Good luck, can’t wait to see it!

  • sallieforrer

    Oooohhh!! Sequin fun!! I feel like sequins might be the new sewing frontier… I love the idea of the swingy tent dress in your sparkly jersey – and though I think the chevrons running horizontally might be my favorite, I think they look great going vertical too. Ginger did a little tutorial with the Anna bodice for how to get rid of that back neckline gaping. Either way you go – it’s gonna be fucking fabulous!

  • veronicadarling

    A loose shift dress with horizontals would be more flattering and less tent-ish in my opinion! A looser 60s dress might be better with lighter fabric?

    I might get a list of things that I need to make actually… I’ve got a wedding coming up, and a boat party this weekend (I’ll never get a nautical dress done in time… unless I get off the computer now!) xoxo

  • lin3arossa

    I vote for number 1.
    I wonder how you chose the pattern size to be cut. If based on bust measurement, maybe you should choose based on upper bust measurement and do a FBA?

  • Nikki

    These choices are quite interesting. I see than many people chose options one, but the chevrons going vertically would make you look slimmer. I’m not sure what I would personally choose (I like very fitted dresses, so I really wouldn’t make either for myself) But I think number 2 would also make your fabric take front stage.

  • Monserratt

    Hi dear,

    I think the horizontal version looks better. I just found another piece of that sequin in my stash (which size is syimilar to the one you have)!!
    I would gladly give it to you. 🙂


  • My darling,

    You have no idea how excited I am to make something with this treasure! I think I’m going to go horizontal so I think I’ll have enough. If I make a fatal error I will definitely get in touch! xo

  • I love the shift dress option 🙂 No answer to the gaping neckline from me… but from my own experience of sewing with sequins – it’s easy to misjudge just how much the weight of the sequins pulls down on the dress. Things like waistlines and necklines will turn our very different to what they look like in a woven! The sequins are AHMAYZING – so cool!!

  • I love the first look too 🙂 and can I just say I LOVE your hair worn like that 🙂

  • I like the shift dress with chevrons running horizontally. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  • Amy

    What a fantastic fabric! Running late to this conversation (too much birthday fun), but I’m a fan of the shift! I think it looks pretty awesome with the chevrons running horizontally. It will definitely fit more loosely in the jersey (having done this by both a non-stretch woven then a jersey shift from the same pattern).

    The back neck gaping can definitely be resolved with neckline or shoulder darts to fit smoothly over the shoulder blades or a rounder upper back. These darts are pretty great–I don’t know why we don’t see more of those in patterns! (Here’s about adding them. The gaping could also be coming in part from too much length from the waist to the neck. It’s hard to tell from your pics without seeing the whole back, but if you have a lot of pooling around your waist, either the hips aren’t wide enough and it’s pulling up a bit in back or you need some sort of swayback adjustment. I know that sounds counter-intuitive to where the gaping is, but sometimes when you fix excess length some of the neck problems work themselves out a bit more. Just some ideas!