All ages. All skill levels. Everything I know, is possible to learn!
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
All ages. All skill levels. Everything I know, is possible to learn!
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
1. Sew for hire. I’ve been doing this since 2008 by placing an ad on Craigslist under Creative Services. People who need things made but don’t know how to sew, will hire you. Use photos from completed projects for your next ad and make social media profiles and posts to further market your work.
2. Apply for sewing jobs. I work at Universal Theme Parks as a Costume Fabrication Specialist, making costumes, doing repairs and alterations.
3. Provide Mobile Wardrobe Services, this can include sewing and other related services like laundry, steaming, ironing, dressing assistance and more. I’ve been doing this since 2011 for an event production company that staffs the local crew at arena shows. I’ve worked for over 50 touring celebrities and dozens of Broadway shows.
4. Design and Sew your own ideas and use sites like Etsy or Shopify to sell them online. I have a friend (above Alienphant) who makes a living renting booth space at Cosplay Conventions selling her fun fashions. You can also partner with local boutique to consign your work or do trunk shows.
5. Create a collection for a runway show. Once you have about 10 looks, you can use your prototypes for a photo shoot, runway show and even continue on into production. Above is CJ Golden of Starboy Swimwear. You can sell your designs right off the runway or take custom orders.
6. Teach Sewing. I teach sewing to all ages with in home private lessons and hold group sewing classes at local community centers.
7. Do Commissioned Replica Work, I’ve made several reproductions of film, characters, rock start tribute band costumes and Fashion.
What creative ways have you used your sewing skills to make money?
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
AKA Psycho Seamstress
Founder of Orlando Fashion District
Mobile Wardrobe Services
Costume Rigging Illustrated
House Of Vincenza
Recently, I was hired to do some restoration work on a vintage 60’s garment made of velvet, which was hand painted and adorn with sequins, which were falling off. After consulting with the client, we determined it would be too risky to repaint the garment, but adding more sequins individual knotted, would be plausible.
The historical value of the garment was a few hundred thousand dollars (yes, actually $300,000ish!!!) and it would be part of a museum type display, so any mistake on this project could be devestating!!
I looked into buying some vintage sequins on Etsy, eBay and from General Bead in San Francisco, but determined that wasn’t necessarily going to solve the problem completely, because they were still in their original packaging, they actually looked shiny and new.
The sequins I needed to match were 6mm cup sequins that were dull, a little smooth where the “cup” indentations were and somewhat faded in color. I found the size and shape I needed were still readily available, I just needed to figure out how to age them.
Initially, I had thought of spraying them with something like hairspray to mute and dull the shine. Then one of my theater friends said “don’t to it!!” He tried that once on a vintage garment and it had a chemical reaction with the garment!! Yikes! Nope!
I was wondering if there was some way I could rub them with sandpaper or some how give them a mini abrasive sandblasted type treatment? How could I do that without blowing them all over the place? Could I tumble them some how to distress the finish? That didn’t seem doable.
I wondered if a mild acid abrasive like vinegar work?
Someone from my online costume group suggested using liquid fabric softener.
I brainstormed with my client on as many ways we could think of to simulate the distressed look of the vintage sequins.
Could a chemical treatment be later rinsed off enough to prevent any reaction with the velvet?
Due to the substantial historical and financial value of the garment, having any chemical reaction was a major concern.
Then someone suggested I expose them to boiled water. This seemed like the safest treatment under the circumstances.
1. Sequins soaked in white household vinegar:
2. Sequins soaked in 1 TBL seventh generation all natural fabric softener and 1 TBL water:
It’s possible because I’m using and all natural fabric softener and not a chemically made one that I’m not seeing the results other people have told me they’ve gotten using this process.
The boiled water method gave them the aged appearance I was looking for on this project and was also much safer than using the chemically treated version.
See for yourself!
Have you tried any different methods?
A lot of people use Craigslist to offer their sewing services, but what I’ve done has separated me from the crowd by offering mobile services. I get calls, all the time for last minute, emergency and urgent mobile sewing gigs. If you know how to sew, do laundry, iron, steam clothing and help people get dressed or quick change and you’re interested in making some extra cash, pack yourself a sewing “gig bag” and put an ad on Craigslist to offer mobile sewing services to take your show on the road!
Here’s How I did it:
By using a free Craigslist ad, I began posting in 2008, it helped me to consistently build my sewing business, to the point where I could quit my “day job”, sew for a living, set my own schedule and pick and choose my work. My Craigslist ad lead me to many amazing opportunities. I used the “creative services” category for all my posts and included photos of my best work, which I updated frequently and reposted as needed, when the old ads expired.
My Craigslist ad got me the “in” I needed, by being mobile and led me directly to my sewing work on A List Concert Tours, Broadway Theater Productions, working with Celebrities, Fashion Shows and even Weddings. I have acquired many private clients, built an impressive resume and created a photo portfolio of my sewing work, which I use all over social media.
Here’s what I carried in my mobile sewing kit; There are all kinds of divided containers, fishing tackle and craft boxes and rolling suitcases you can use to keep everything mobile and organized.
A list of items for a basic kit:
1. Reliable Portable Sewing Machine and Serger if needed. I use and old school Kenmore from the 70’s and a mid priced Singer Serger, which I usually leave in my car unless they request it. Computerized sewing machines tend to get fussy if you move them around too much, so I recommend a simple basic sewing machine with a straight and zig zag stitch. (I used to use a $200 Brother Project Runway Special Edition Sewing Machine for 3 years that I paid $50 for, on sale at Walmart!!)
2. Scissors for paper and fabric
3. Seam Rippers
4. An Assortment of Thread (I like the Geuterman box of 26 from Joann Fabrics http://www.joann.com/gutermann-26-spool-thread/9284811.html#close)
5. Elastic in black and white in various widths.
6. Notions including snaps in all sizes especially “whopper poppers” (the quarter size), hooks and eyes/bars in small to large sizes, buttons, etc
6. Velcro in at least black and white
7. Sewing Pins, Pin Cushion
8. Large Safety Pins
9. Tailor’s Chalk wheel or other marking devices for alterations
10. Hand Sewing Needle Assortment
11. Lint Roller
12. 120″ tape measure
13. Hem Gauge
14. Flashlight (in case you end up working backstage or quick change)
15. Sewing Apron, cargo shorts/pants or fanny pack bag for having supplies on you
Other items I’ve been known to carry:
1. Pattern Making Materials and Supplies
2. Small sizes of Laundry Supplies including an assortment of stain removing agents, baking soda, salt (for use with fabric dye) vinegar, Ivory Bar Soap, Hair Spray (removes ink), denture cleaner (removes dingy from whites), magic eraser, 90% alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, etc
3. Steamer, Iron, Spray Starch
4. Rubber gloves in case I have to dye fabric or deal with a smelly mess
5. Muslin, jersey, denim scraps
6. Double Stick Wardrobe Tape
Here’s a basic price list for mobile sewing services:
$16+ an hour for dressing and quick change assistance and general services like laundry, ironing and steaming clothing or costumes that don’t require you to bring anything with you. Just show up and work.
$25 an hour for sewing related and runner services, which can include picking up fabric, notions and other materials or supplies needed by the client. I usually include gas, tolls and mileage as long as it’s not excessive. Otherwise you can add those expenses.
$35 an hour to show up and sew, make patterns or do draping on their provided sewing equipment, etc.
$50 an hour to bring your own mobile sewing equipment and supplies to sew on their site or location.
Time and a half for over 8 hours is customary, however overtime pay after a 10 hour work day is the law.
“Florida law states that a legal day’s work for a manual laborer is 10 hours (FL Stat. Sec. 448.01). Unless there is a written contract that specifies otherwise, the employer is not permitted to require manual laborers to work a longer day without extra pay.
• At the end of a workweek, all overtime hours are credited as compensatory leave at the rate of 11/2 hours’ credit for each hour of overtime worked.”
Some clients ask for a day rate, but be careful with that. I’ve worked 40 hours in 3 days before on an emergency project and you don’t want to screw yourself by settling for less before you know what your getting into. A $1200 pay check vs $2500 pay check is a big difference when you just worked 3 days in a row with only 3-4 hours of sleep in between.
If your going to give a day rate I would recommend you start with a quote of $400 for 8.5 hours of work (with a 30 minute lunch and 2 – 15 minute breaks, which is the law) and go up from there. If the client advises the project will be more like 10-12 or more hours give an hourly overtime rate of $75 (time and a half) for every hour after 8.5 hours.
Make sure you get decent breaks!!
Don’t put yourself in the bargain bin!!
You have a specialized skill that is worthy of a decent wage, especially when you’ve got mobile equipment and skills they need when they are in a bind.
You can download a free app called “Invoice ASAP” and make getting paid by cash or check at the end of the day, a condition of your services.
Another way to I used Craigslist ads was to offer Mobile Sewing Lessons.
I would offer the following services, but not post a price. That way people would have to contact me for the price. I would also take into account, where they were located. If they were farther away I’d charge a little extra.
I offered help in the clients home with everything from, how to:
1. Thread and use their machine
2. Go on field trips with them to pick out patterns, fabric and notions
3. Cut out their fabrics
4. Make patterns from their own existing clothes
5. Make patterns from scratch
6. Alter patterns
7. Sew their project
8. Alter clothing
9. Upcycle clothing
10. Repair clothing
11. Project Assistance
My clients included home school kids, teens, college students, fashion students, men and women of all ages.
I charged $100 (cash) for 4 hours minimum, which was usually plenty of time to complete a simple project or work on an ongoing one. Extra hours were $25 an hour
Some clients were one time only, while others became regular clients
I would bring all my own mobile materials and supplies, just in case they didn’t have everything we’d need.
I use a rolling suitcase that fits everything I need and put my sewing machine on top of that, making it easy to transport.
Sometimes clients would come to my house too, it just depended upon their needs.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!
If you’re located in the Cental Florida area and would like to join my sewing group on Facebook I frequently post sewing jobs there, of all kinds and so can you!! It’s called “Florida Costume and Fashion Designers and Fabricators”
You can follow me on Facebook at Psycho Seamstress https://www.facebook.com/PsychoSeamstress
I am Psycho Seamstress on most social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Instructables, Tumblr, Google Plus, ProductionHub, Studio53, LinkedIn and Slated.
I am Gina Vincenza Van Epps aka Psycho Seamstress! Http://ginav8.wix.com/psychoseamstress/ Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com
As some of you may know, Joan Rivers was my first A List Client back in 2011.
Working for Joan, rattled my soul, sealed the deal and launched my career as an A List Wardrobe Seamstress. If I can survive her, I can survive anything! She was the ultimate trial by fire client and I now choose to be inspired by and channel a woman who rocked the fashion world with her famous words “Can We Talk?”
Some of the bigger jobs I’ve had over the last few years, included making 17 costumes for Justin Bieber’s Believe film and doing some major work on 5 red dresses for Taylor Swift’s back up singers on her Red Tour.
I’ve also done a lot of costume rigging for shows like Michael Jackson’s Immortal Cirque du Soleil World Tour, Pink, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus, Usher and even got into Marilyn Manson’s Pants!
My A list work led to a job at Universal Theme Parks as Costume Fabrication Specialist where I worked on entertainer costumes including the most legendary “Invisibility Cloak” featured in the Beedle Bard show at Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. Having a hand in making that was epic!
In my spare time, I spent an epic weekend last spring on a short tour of Florida festivals, courtesy of my friends with Volbeat. They needed some backdrop repairs and allowed me to tag along from RockFest to Rockville. I had an amazing moment with Billy Duffy of The Cult and had the opportunity to discuss a piece of his stagewear that I did a replica of for Cult Revolution, a tribute band.
One thing lead to another and through a series of FORTUNATE events, golden connections and rock networking, almost a year later, I’ve now been offered my own Rock Fashion Radio Show as Psycho Seamstress on Rock Rage Radio!! I will be reviewing Rock Fashion, interviewing Stagewear Designers and Rock Stars who dress to impress from coast to coast regarding their duds of choice.
We will also be launching a nationwide band image makeover contest with some huge prizes!
So stay tuned and don’t be caught in public looking anything less than famous!
This particular Quick Rig is used when a performer needs to quickly change in or out of a button down garment. It can be a shirt, dress, jacket or anything you would normally have to button or unbutton to change clothes. This can also be used for burlesque, stripper and fight tear away scenes.
You will need the following materials:
Here is how you do it using large snaps:
It should all end up looking like this:
For more costume rigging tips please stay tuned and follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instructables, Etsy, Tumblr, Pintrest, Instagram, Twitter, Deviant Art and MORE!
Gina Vincenza Van Epps aka Psycho Seamstress
A List Wardrobe Seamstress, Designer, Costume Fabrication Specialist, Couturier
House of Vincenza, Orlando Fashion District, Central Florida Sewing Group, Psycho Stagewear, Forbidden Bridal, Winfield Murdock Creative Works, Universal Studios and More!!
As a Seamstress, I’ve done this a million times without thinking any harm could come of it. Boy, was I wrong!!!
When I started working in the Costume Fabrication Department at Universal Theme Parks I noticed an article that had been printed out an posted to the double doors as you left the sewing department. I passed by it a few times until one day I found myself having a few extra minutes before I needed to clock in and took the time to read it.
I see people do this all the time at work and ever since I read this article that follows I haven’t been able to stick a pin in my mouth again!!
I’ve actually become the “pin in your mouth” police when I see friends doing it, I tell them about the story I read in this article.
I am so glad I found it online.
PLEASE READ IT!!
Love you guys!!
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
A List Wardrobe Seamstress &
Costume Fabrication Specialist