McCalls 7684 How to Sew Sequins for a Formal Event


A party! Yay! Another opportunity to sew a fancy dress, and you know I went for the sequins on this McCalls 7684 formal dress pattern.  

McCalls 7684, party dress, sewing formalwear
Walking the red carpet in Dallas in sequins!

The Celebration

My cousin, the baby cousin, is getting hitched in Dallas, Texas! Honestly, I couldn’t be happier to have an excuse to dance in a custom-made blinged-out dress. 

The last time I made a dress for a party like this, I literally made the dress in 36 hrs because I procrastinated so badly.  

This time I gave myself a little more time because I knew I had to travel to Dallas, Texas for the wedding.  Texas is fun.  There are plenty of sewing divas living there, actually an entire community of queens. 

McCalls 7684, red carpet, sewing sequins, party dress
Walking the red carpet

Now, this was a Friday night wedding.  Yes, you read that right, Friday-freaking night.  For those of us traveling, this is sort of a logistical planning nightmare. It was going to take some dedication to the task to get it done.  It also meant, getting a sitter situation together, flying into town at the butt crack of dawn, and fighting through Dallas rush hour traffic to get to the venue on a Friday night. 

The dead ringer was the wedding invitation giving me all the social etiquette cues — purple lace, an exclusive venue, RSVP required, adults-only,  closed ceremony at 6 pm. Queens, we are talking black-tie madness. I had my work cut out for me (pun intended).

The Sewing Story

In addition to that, I had no room to sew sequins for McCalls 7684 in my studio at the last moment. I had to get my act together.  (Do you hear all that encouraging self-talk in there??!)

The other dress I made was for a graduation party, also a formal affair in gold and black sequins.  It turned out great, but I was almost too tired to dance, eat, or twirl. Besides, that pattern was pretty straightforward compared to this one.  Essentially, it’s a short-sleeved shift dress. 

Simplicity 3533, sequined dress, formalwear

I love sequins.  I don’t know why I love them so much but if I can get away with wearing them in the daytime, I do.  

Simplicity 3533, sequined dress, formalwear

For Frocktails Atlanta in Nov 2019 I made another sequined frock.  Frocktails was everything! I had a blast and so did my man.  I hope after this pandemic we get to do something like that again.  Virtual Frocktails is just not the same. 

Butterick 8330, sequined dress, formalwear
Butterick 8830 in sequins from Fine Fabrics in Atlanta

When I choose this pattern, I was going for a look. Not the mother of the bride. Not the young trap queen.  😂

View  D and C were more matronly than I desired.  I’ll have my chance hopefully in the future to be that mom, just not today. 

View A of McCalls 7684 is a much shorter length and I thought it might make me look too young so I chose View B, the high-low skirt variation.  It felt fun and flirty and I don’t have anything in my closet like it.

McCalls 7684, fabric, scissors
McCalls 7684 pattern and fabric inspiration

Why is sewing formalwear so much fun?  I love a good party dress as much as the next sewing queen.  

M7684 Pattern Features

McCalls 7684 has a ton of potential for anyone looking to party.   There are three hem length choices and two close-fitting bodice choices, a V-neck and a square boatneck option for those who are a little more conservative.  The hem lengths are one of the choices that led me to choose this pattern, floor-length,  above the knee, and high-low lengths.  The bodice is lined while the skirt is not. And as if things couldn’t get better, pockets. Yes, you read that right, a formal dress with pockets.  What? I can party without a purse and still have a small wallet and lipstick.

The Fabrics

BODICE: This fabric is an embroider studded lace filled with stripes of intense rose gold sequins.  

rose gold sequins, mccalls 7684

I purchased this fabric somewhere in New York City on a fabric run with the intention to make a skirt. It didn’t work. This lace has a border and is one way.  I thought it worked better as the bodice.

rose gold sequins, mccalls 7684

The bodice is fully lined and features a V-neckline.

rose gold sequins, bodice, mccalls 7684

SKIRT: The fabric is from Joann Fabrics. It’s Casa Collection, black, and has just enough sheen to look like a million bucks.  This fabric is a high performer.  I was impressed by the high quality of fabric I was able to get locally.  Casa Collection has some solid fabric choices for formalwear and cosplay.  

Those of us who do not live directly in a metro area have to painfully rely on online retailers for many fabrics.  Let’s just face it.  Nothing replaces your hand touching the fabric.  You know you want it if you touch it and you go, “oh yeah”, right? I would highly recommend JoAnn Fabrics for this type of fabric.  

Unfinished skirt McCalls 7684
Unfinished skirt for M7684

The petite sewing adjustments

Making this dress look and feel right was all about the length. My personal sewing alterations were almost all related to the skirt length.  I reduced the length of the dress by five inches which is not surprising. 

 McCalls 7684, rose gold zipper, exposed zipper

The Hacks and Customization

I wanted more fun in the back of this dress, so I swapped out the regular zipper for a rose gold exposed zipper. Now I know someone is thinking formal wear doesn’t usually have exposed zippers but I think that’s what makes it unique.  Why buy something that you can sew?  I want to sew garments that I can’t buy! 

Don’t skip the horsehair braid. It is what makes this dress stand out.  If you don’t know how to do it, I wrote a short tutorial here

Style Tips

  1. If the bodice is busy, keep the jewelry simple and the let garment shine bright.
  2. Heels, heels and heels!  If you aren’t a heels kind of gal, try a fancy flat shoe
McCalls 7684, red carpet
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