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The Plum Ensemble Story Part 2 - Embellishing with 'Hot Fix'

(Read Part 1)

The design of the dress is rather fairytale-like, with a princess cut bodice, fluttery sleeves in chiffon and a ruched skirt. It has an under layer of plum satin, overlaid with lilac chiffon. However, it lacked any other embellishments, which would have made it really eye-catching, as befits a wedding dress after all.

The dress 'before'

So Su decided that she wanted to have some bling added to the sleeves and front of the skirt. We went to a little store in a little alley (just off Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman) where a little Korean lady was selling iron-on rhinestone crystals called Hot Fix. We spent a good hour there browsing the hundreds of available designs and eventually settled on a twirly motif for the sleeves and flower motifs for the skirt.

To apply the Hot Fix, remove the white backing to reveal the glue side of the crystals. The crystals themselves are stuck on the clear plastic (which is really a stiff adhesive tape) shiny side down. Position the clear plastic tape with the crystal on the fabric and hand press to make it stick. Once you are happy with the position, get ready your iron.

My iron comes with a detachable plate to protect the fabric, so I set it to the highest steam setting. If you do not have a protective plate, I suggest you still set it to the highest setting and use a natural fibre pressing cloth. Turn the fabric over to the wrong side so that the arrangement is now fabric, crystal, then plastic. Place the pressing cloth over the fabric and press down with the iron. Leave it on for about 10 - 15 seconds. Make sure all sections of the tape gets this same 10 - 15 second pressing or else some of the crystals will not stick securely to the fabric.

I placed a teflon mesh between my iron and the fabric to stop the glue backing the crystals from sticking to my iron plate. The pressing cloth will protect against this too.

Let it cool. Then turn over to the right side and slowly peel off the plastic tape. If you've done it right, the crystals will easily detach from the tape because they are securely stuck to the fabric. I also find that the steam from the iron helps the crystals to detach more easily as well.

Front and back of sleeve 'before'

The sleeve 'after'

This is the flower motif chosen for the front

The skirt front 'before' and 'after'

The dress 'after'

Rhinestone crystals are readily available loose with/without glue backing.'Hot Fix' apparently is a Korean product, where the crystals are placed on the sticky tape in a pre-designed motif. So its application is easy and fuss-free.

This is the only online listing of a hot fix motif supplier I could find. Everyone else seems to be offering loose stones:
Unique (Korea)



  1. Gorgeous! Looks like a very good cutting, J! I wish I could sew like you. I wonder if it might be overkill to do a row of bling just at the top of the bodice/bustier too (i.e. going all round to the back)? Unless the bride is wearing an elaborate necklace, which clashes, of course.

  2. Ah wait! I did not make the dress. The bride bought it online somewhere (from the U.S. I think) and I had to do some minor alterations for fit.

    I did think of adding more crystals to the top of the bodice too but then she will be wearing a short blouse under to cover her decolletage - in the same plum colour as the scarf - so I thought better of it (just too clashy i think). Plus, the scarf may just hide it anyway...

  3. OOOOooo... NICE!!
    :)) Dal.. you work too hard sometimes la... make sure you have your rest k.
    btw, Im coming to KL only sometime in the last week of Sep.. so no rush now k... :))

    I LOVE WHAT YOUVE DONE!! Thanks from the bottom of my heart. :*


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