A few months back, I found this beautiful sequined hair flower on a Pinterest bridal accessory board:
I sent it to my soon-to-be-wed friend, Alex, just to say, “WOW, look at this!” as well as “OMG it’s $80!”
And then she asked, “Could you make that for me?”
Um…sure…of course I can…? How hard could it really be? It’s just sequins and beads. I did a little bit of figuring and researching how to make a sequin applique. Let me tell you before you decide to do the same: there is not much out there. I found different tips on forums for sewing sequins onto costumes, but nothing seemed to have a tutorial for an applique that would stand alone and not be ironed onto another piece of fabric or outfit. So if you are a professional applique-maker, get thee on the web and make a tutorial!!!!!!
First let’s take a closer look at the inspiration piece:
It’s just sort of crazy amazing.
Here’s my guess-and-test version, that didn’t turn out exactly the same but I’m still rather impressed with myself, and Alex was so happy with the result (which is what mattered, right?).
- Plain white to sew beads and sequins to
- Satin for backing to make it pretty
- Mesh/tulle to add softness
Sequins (I used plain white, not iridescent)
Seed beads in a clear/silver
Double-sided fusible web
Hot glue gun
Button or beads for center
1. Using paper towel, make petal shapes as tentative sketches for three layers of petals. Cut them out & layer and use as a guide to see how large you want the flower in your hair.
2. Stretch base fabric onto the embroidery circle, and trace a petal shape onto it.
3. (WARNING: THIS PART TAKES FOREVER!) Starting in the middle areas, sew the sequins in a row – going up through the middle of the sequin, then down the edge. (Another way to sew sequins and to add more detail is to go up through the back, through a seed bead, then back down). Then sew sequins around each petal, filling in rows.
(And this is the point where I discovered I hate working with transparent thread. The most annoying stuff ever — you know how fishing line gets tangled so easily? Imagine that, but worse, because it’s lighter. Also, at this point I thought “This looks dumb and tacky,” but I kept truckin’.)
4. Once the sequins have filled in the petal shape, sew seed beads around the edges. (IF I were to ever do this again, I’d probably wait until after step 8 & 9 to do this part so I could sew them right to the edges.)
Okay, now it was starting to look pretty and not tacky.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 on the remaining petal shapes. These are the completed flower petals:
6. The back of each layer looks pretty ugly (random transparent thread everywhere!).
Remove the fabric from the embroidery circle. Iron some fusible web onto the back of each petal layer. I decided to do this so that the threads would essentially be glued to the fabric and be more sturdy. BE VERY CAREFUL not to hold the iron on too long — it will melt your sequins and all of your had work will be ruined. I came close to doing that even when I was being careful. Quickly check the front of your applique and press down any sequins that have become a little misshapen while still warm.
7. Unpeel the fusible web paper and apply a satin backing onto the back of each petal layer – again being careful to not press too hard or long.
8. At this point I applied Fray-Check liberally around the edges of the petals to ensure that the satin backing wouldn’t fray, as well as to add security for the edge beads.
9. Very carefully cut around the edges of the layers, don’t cut the bead stitches!
10. When I placed my petals together I was amazed at how pretty it was. But I felt like it was missing some softness for a more bridal feel. So I bought some mesh/tulle fabric, and cut the same shapes out just a little bit bigger. I Fray-Checked the edges again as well and added them in between the layers. You can see this in the final images later.
11. Sew the layers together in the middle very securely.
12. For the center, I used a filigree bead cap (shown below), wire, and transparent thread to make a center “button”. Most of these beads were actually from the extra beads that came with her wedding dress. Then I added some sparkly rhinestones too. (This is similar to how I made the center crystal/button for my own bridal hair flower.)
13. I hot-glued a hair comb to the back.
And here are some shots of the completed flower:
And the beautiful bride swapped out her veil for the flower at the reception:
PS. Her earrings were also made from the extra beads that came with her wedding dress. I used a similar method as my Beaded Cascade Earrings Tutorial, but added more random crystals.
Congratulations to the happy couple, who are honeymooning right now!
See the other wedding projects I created for Alex (click the pic to see the tutorial or post):