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Sewing Fabric with Adhesive Sequins

Costumes | Posted in General Discussion on

Does anyone know how to sew fabric that has adhesive sequins on it? This kind of fabric is often used for dance costumes. When I try to sew this fabric, the thread frays and then breaks. I’m using a needle that can puncture the sequin. When the needle does, it picks up some of the adhesive used to stick the sequin on. The glue sticks to the needle. The punctured sequin is sharp and starts to fray the thread. I can usally sew only a few inches before the thread breaks.

I have tried using a needle suitable for knits but the needle doesn’t sew through the sequins very well. Also, in desperation, I put a drop of sewing machine oil on the needle (so that the needle and thread would slip through and not fray) but this didn’t seem to make a difference.

Ideally, I would like a technique that works for sewing through the sequins but is also suitable for knits. I use a zig-zag stitch to allow for stretch when the dancers put on and move in the costumes.

I’m using a Bernina 930 machine. It is one of the last purely mechical machines available. I love it.


  1. SewFit | | #1

    A clerk at Joann Fabrics told me to use wax paper to wax the needle.   I was going to sandwich the fabric between strips of wax paper and sew through all layers, but decided not to use the fabric for the previously intended project and haven't sewn it yet.  Might be worth a try!

  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #2

    The sequins should be removed from the seam allowances before you sew, then if necessary some of the removed ones put back to cover the seam. Even if your needle will puncture the sequin, the broken ones will make the garment uncomfortable (if not dangerous!) to wear.

    I must admit that my experience is with sewn on sequins, so I'm not much help with how to get only the ones you want off and not others. If you can't just pick them off, be very careful using a solvent or way too many may come off.

    Hope this helps,


    1. Costumes | | #3

      Thanks for responding. Normally, I remove sew-on sequins and resew as needed. However, the fabric that I'm working with has the sequins glued on. And the company that made the costume was able to sew through the material and sequins without any problems and without using a special thread. That's why I think there is a special thread/needle combination that can work.

      1. user-51823 | | #4

        i've made a few things from this kind of fabric, and it is frustrating. the problem is that even if you can pick off the "sequins",which is difficult because the glue seems to be fused to them really well, the glue stays on the fabric; it's well impregnated there too.
        i use a heavy-duty leather needle (triangular rather than columnal) and just go slow. i oiled my needle frequently, as well as stopping often to scrape the built-up glue off the needle.
        sewing by hand can actually be quicker LOL. wherever posible, join it with hot glue.good luck!"...lost in an orchestral maelstrom of lunacy..."

        Edited 6/12/2007 5:51 pm ET by msm-s

      2. Teaf5 | | #5

        Maybe a leather needle would work; it has a winged blade that cuts the leather, and a smaller, protected hole for the thread so that the thread doesn't come into contact with the leather (or glue or sequin) as the needle pierces the fabric.Have you tried scraping off the sequins in the seam allowance? I'm thinking a flat-head screwdriver pushed along the seamline might pop off just enough to give you a clear line for stitching.For the adhesive gumming up the needle, I just scrape it off with my fingernails every so often; not efficient, but it works!Good luck and let us know what works...

  3. suesew | | #6

    The one time I had to do this I ended up stopping about every two inches and wiping the crud off the needle. It took forever but it ended up working.

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