I am sure if you are a fiber artist or crafter each of you will have a box of sequins, probably very similar to the box to the left. I think that I have had this box for as many as 43 years, I just keep adding to it. Some of the older sequins came from my mother’s craft stash.
I first started using sequins on the clothes that I made for my troll doll, adding them to her little garments made her and me (by proxy feel) glamorous.
Sequins were something special and certainly not used for everyday wear during the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was growing up. In fact the only other place that I saw sequins when I was growing up was on my Christmas stocking and a few ornaments that were hung on the tree.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s sequins were used exclusively for evening wear, used both on clothing and the accessories that a woman wore.
Sequins were considered the poor woman’s answer to a beaded bag or rhinestones. Often little bags like the one to the right would have been sold in a department store, with a matching hat.
Here to the left is a wonderful set of jewelry comprised of a necklace and pair of earrings that I found on Ebay. These were probably hand-made and not available in retail stores. My guess would be that these were made in the late 1940’s – 1950’s.
The base of the necklace is a series of large rectangular sequins which are attached together with beads. Each of these sequin’s is decorated with star and round shaped sequin that are attached by seed beads. The earrings are made from fabric with round sequins attached with beads. Quite festive I must say!
Here to the right are a group of hatpins that I would date around the 1940’s, and they also seem to be hand-made.
Three of the pins are made with a sequin trim, meaning the sequins are pre-strung by a machine stitch. The other pin was made by hand stitching the sequins to a fabric base with seed beads.
Paillettes are a metal sequin, which is flat and has a large hole. Coins are still used as sequins in some cultures.
Sequins though for the most part are a made from plastic or Mylar, and are described as a shining disk or spangle that is used for ornamentation to add to or create a design that lends a certain sparkle.
The samples to the right and below show that they can come in many shapes, colors and sizes. As you can see from these sequins, not all were created round, many came in fabulous colors and shapes such as the wings and fans which are my favorite.
The picture below shows a group of vintage “Souffle”, which were made in France and Belgium and are also called “Gelatin” which is a description of the substance that was used to produce them.
They were used to embellish clothing and accessories during the 1920’s. I have used them on a few of my wearable garments, but I recommend that you be careful when using them because they melt in water (sadly I found this out the hard way!).
Well may this brighten your day and give you a little history on the glamor of our past.