Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Sequin Bird T-shirt


It’s July and Independent Pattern Month has come to an end. I have enjoyed it very much, but I feel I need to sit back, relax and not feel the heat of sewing deadlines. Having said that sometimes it is good to have a deadline because I have now made myself a complete outfit in the last month, which is really getting a lot of wear; a Classic Lekala shirt, a pair of skinny Peter and the Wolf jeans and a sequinned t-shirt.


The sequinned t-shirt is inspired by this Markus Lupfer t-shirt that I saw online. It features three sequinned origami-style birds. The t-shirt is priced £397.83. I didn’t know you could actually buy a t-shirt that expensive!

Markus Lupker

I started out by making a few origami birds myself. I was intrigued to see if the ones on the Marcus Lupfer t-shirt were real origami birds or just origami-inspired.

I made a flapping bird. You can make the wings on this bird flap when you pull on the tail. It looks a little like the top left bird on the t-shirt.

Flapping Bird

I also made a heron as I thought this had quite a contrast in shape.


I think that the Marcus Lupfer birds are origami-inspired. They don’t quite look like birds that can be made. The closest one is the flapping bird, but the wings are positioned upwards.

Next, I made a sketch of each of these birds and used these sketches as the template for my sequinned birds.

Origami Bird Sketches

This website has some good instructions with videos for making birds if you’re interested.

The sequinned birds were created on organza, using some metallic-looking beads for the outlines and sequins of different colours – metallic white, metallic black and silver.


This photo is strange, I just noticed how I managed to get “red-eye” from the sequins – completely unintentionally! The sequin is actually silver.

I made the t-shirt from a fine bamboo jersey from Stone fabrics. It is very light-weight, very much like the fabric used in RTW t-shirts. I was very worried about using it, though. I felt sure that it would be difficult to handle, and possibly pucker and stretch out easily.  I was really scared that the sequins and beads would be too heavy and pull on the fabric. I was though, pleasantly surprised and although very stretchy it wasn’t at all troublesome to sew and the weight of the beads didn’t seem to be a problem.

The pattern I used for the t-shirt was the Laurie Tee by Named. It was given to me through the pattern swap at The Monthly Stitch. (Thank you, my pattern swap fairy!) The t-shirt has quite a relaxed fit, fairly similar to the original Markus Lupfer t-shirt. I left out the pleats on the front on my pattern by folding and pinning them in place and cut out the front so that it was just a plain t-shirt. I used the size 10 (UK size) as per the pattern and it seemed to work out well.


It was quite easy to sew up and didn’t present me with any problems.

My final step was to attach my organza-backed birds to the front of the t-shirt. I spent quite a while positioning the birds trying to get a balanced look.




Anyway, I spotted some interesting historic trivia about sequins when I was leafing through Francesco da Mosto’s excellent Venetian cookery book “Francesco’s Kitchen” for a “Spaghetti alle vongole”(clams with spaghetti) recipe. Sequin is a French word, derived from the the Italian word “zecchino”. A zecchino was a gold coin used in the Venetian Republic in the Middle Ages. The zecchino coins were issued up until the early 19th century, and the term sequin in its original sense fell out of use, but the name was taken up in France to refer to the small disk-shaped beads we sew on clothes and accessories.  Not sure how all that relates to clams and spaghetti, but they were delicious (couldn’t get the camera out quick enough to take a snap of them)!



Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

5 thoughts on “Sequin Bird T-shirt

  1. Love your outfit – your teeshirt is so striking and great fun.

  2. Pingback: Just a basic t-shirt but in lime green! | Steely Seamstress

  3. I love browsing your web site. Cheers!

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