3 Ways To Make Modern Sequins Look Vintage

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. 


I tried all 3 methods and set aside a pile of sequins aside, that were untreated to compare and here are the results:

1. Sequins soaked in white household vinegar:

  • I initially put 1 TBL of water and 1 TBL of vinegar and after 15 minutes of soaking, I didn’t see much of a change.
  • I dumped out the liquid and soaked them in straight vinegar, I noticed a slight tint to the vinegar after soaking them for about 15 minutes and noticed the shine was slightly duller and the shape was fully intact. 

2. Sequins soaked in 1 TBL seventh generation all natural fabric softener and 1 TBL water:

  • After 15 minutes of soaking, I didn’t see a noticeable change. 
  • I dumped out the liquid and soaked them in straight fabric softener for 15 minutes, a very slight dullness from the original, but less effective than the vinegar. 

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. 


3. Sequins exposed to boiled water: 

  • I microwaved a cup of water for 2 minutes, then dipped the sequins in using a small mesh strainer. I didn’t see an immediate change, but I could see a slight greenish tint to the water, so it was having an effect. 
  • I took the sequins out and boiled the water for another minute, then dipped them back into the hotter water. 
  • This time I could see an immediate difference in removing the shine, making them duller looking and it gave them a slightly aged look by smoothing out the sharp angles of the stamped center shape. 

Conclusion:

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!


What have your experiences been? 

Have you tried any different methods?

Questions? 

Comments?

Advertisements

Another few seconds of BTS fame, Explained… Thanks Beyonce!!

As my project management career in sewing related ventures continues to escalate, my recent Behind The Scene’s work on Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour Costumes in April 2016 at Raymond James Stadium, became public when Beyoncé, posted on Facebook, a BTS video, which included footage of Jessica and I seam ripping holes into the Balmain Bodysuits, Love working on a Gucci bejeweled bodysuit and flashes of some of the other projects we got to work on.

Here’s the link to the video Beyonce posted on her wall: Beyonce BTS The Formation World Tour Fashion

Here’s some commentary on some of the images you see in the video and what we were doing!

Seam Ripping the Balmain Bodysuit Armpits

Seam Ripping the Balmain Bodysuit Armpits

Opening The Seams

Opening The Seams

Allowing for arm movement

Allowing for arm movement

Me explaining what we were doing to the Balmain Bodysuits

Me explaining what we were doing to the Balmain Bodysuits

Explaining Gussets

Explaining Gussets

Adding Gussets

Adding Gussets

Jessica Demonstrates

Jessica Demonstrates

Love working on the Gucci adorn Black Bodysuits that haven't debuted as of yet

Love working on the Gucci adorn Black Bodysuits that haven’t debuted as of yet

Sue with one of the custom made face jewelry masks

Beyonce’s Wardrobe Crew with one of the custom made face jewelry masks

Beyonce's Wardrobe Crew Lead rinsing out the stockings

Beyonce’s Wardrobe Crew Lead rinsing out the stockings

The Initial Wardrobe Crew I put together to work on costumes for Beyonce during the 3+ weeks she was in Tampa rehearsing.

The initial Wardrobe Crew I put together to work on costumes for Beyonce during the 3+ weeks she was in Tampa rehearsing including myself, Love, Jessica and Renee, my go to girls!

If you are looking for a mobile wardrobe crew for an event, concert tour, onsite fabrication, film, theater tour, fashion show, wardrobe or sewing related specialty runner, wardrobe stylist or other mobile person with wardrobe, sewing, pattern making and on location fabrication skills, check out my facebook page: Mobile Wardrobe Services to put in a crew request or email me at info@mobilewardrobeservices.com

If you ARE a MOBILE seamstress, seamster, couturier, stitcher, tailor, wardrobe person, pattern maker, fabricator of costume or fashion, have a passport, mobile sewing kit and / or are willing to travel, join my facebook group to get called in on gigs like this! Mobile Sewing & Wardrobe Locals and Crew

Special Thanks again to Beyonce for including me and some of my local crew in your behind the scenes video! These were some of the most amazing high end fashions turned costume, I’ve worked on to date. I love getting paid to share my gifts, talents and helping others do the same.

Behind the Beyhive…

Behind The Scenes With Beyonce’s Bodysuits, Poofy Sleeves and more…

Profile of the DSquared Victorian Capelet

As an A List Seamstress, I was asked to help organize a local sewing crew to bring in on Beyonce Formation World Tour Rehearsal month at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL to alter costumes for the tour. 

Gucci Ghost Print on a Neoprene like fabric with a matching print on sheer detail fabric

It took a massive crew about a week and 30 some trucks to get the epic 2 million dollar stage up and running. The stage itself is THE most complex I’ve ever seen. It had two giant monoliths in the center that rotated, opened and closed and a lower B stage that filled with water that they all danced in. 

Every night the dancers would run through various parts of the show in costume with a stand in for Beyonce, while she watched from a tent to critique the performance. 

There were literally millions of dollars in costumes and shoes which were guarded 24/7. We were told by her longtime crew that this show had some unique ways of doing things in regard to costuming. 

Typically they would get an epic piece custom made for Beyonce from a design house like Balmain, Gucci Ghost or DSquared2 for example and then a few dozen yards of matching fabric, which they would use to have matching costumes designed and fabricated for her 21 dancers. 


There were at least 12 sets of costumes for the tour that we were dealing with, of those 8 would need to be chosen for her first Miami tour date, but what they wore on a daily show basis could vary from one date to the next. 

Balmain bodysuits of lace and silk

We were told there will only two sets of costumes that would remain constant through out the tour, which included my favorite, the DSquared2 Black Victorian Capes with the large brimmed hats for the opening number paired with a shear lacy printed nude mesh bodysuit. 

DSquared Capelets with the lace printed mesh body suits

The other constant look hasn’t been revealed yet, so I’m going to keep that one under my hat! There were only 5 looks revealed in Miami on 4/27, so I would expect a few more to surface in Tampa on 4/29. 

Hundreds of boxes of shoes lined one part of the hallway just outside the dancers dressing room. Most were high to very high heels and boots including the tippy toe ballet style heels. Insane to walk in, let alone dance!! 

There were tables set up in the hallway, where her design team would gather. Every day, they’d discuss the designs pinned up on several large boards covered in dozens of designer drawings of costumes that were being delivered daily by the truck load. 


The design team, led by the feisty NYC celebrity stylist Marni Senofonte and included long time Beyonce Crew faithfuls. 

It was their task to organize and present each look to Beyonce and sort out which of the dozens of costume looks they would focus on. 

Dailey the dancers would come in and try things on, they’d take group photos of each look, which usually had some variations in design within each style and add all the photos to the mix. 

After the fittings, the costumes would get handed over to the seamstress team for alterations, which included everything from being taken in, having parts removed, adding gussets to convert fashion to dance wear, replacing one part with another, making them quick changeable and sew on and sew on. 

We knew we were working on labeled Bodysuits by Balmain, Capes by DSquared2 and custom fabrics from Gucci. It was hard not to cringe when you were being asked to tear apart a silk and lace bodysuit that was probably so insanely damn expensive, I didn’t even want to know the price! 

We got to meet Dean and Dan Caten, the twin designers from DSquared2, who stopped by to check on their designs. They were super nice and dressed alike. 

Every now and again Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy would wander into the sewing room to see what we were doing. Someone was always hot on her heals. You could hear her giggle as she rode her bike up and down the hallways. From time to time, you’d see her whiz by the doorway and wave from an office chair being towed by a sweet older lady who was often with her. She was adorable and you could tell how much she enjoyed wearing her collection of Disney princess dresses. 

All in all, this was definitely not the standard operating procedure I was used to when working on concert tours like this. They definitely had a different and unique way of doing things. 

Beyonce has become known for setting trend and blazing a trail that her many loyal fans will follow. In my humble opinion, I salute the stand she repeated takes for all of womankind. She’s outspoken and controversial, a girl after my own heart and like we all should be. If she were a man, no one would either notice or care. The world is watching. Those are tough shoes to fill. Kill it girl.

Rihanna’s Anti Tour… Was 50 Shades of Beige :(

Tour Date #2 of Rihanna’s Anti World Tour happened at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on March 32, 2016, where there was definitely a lot going on.


I was working my usual seamstress gig, while designers from LA had flown in with a ton of bags to unpack and were still sorting through all of the different looks for the show. 

They had me cutting and sewing these one piece jump suits for the male dancers, with hoods for most of the day.

My assignment, for most of the day , was to cut and sew a second ser of these hooded jumpsuits for her 2 male dancers.


Towards the end of the day it got a little crazy and I had to put my sewing aside and help get the wardrobe crew get everything prepped for the show.

I loved this look, even though it was only a slight departure from all the beigeness…

As far as the over all costuming goes for this tour, I’m sorry to report, I was underwhelmed.

Can we talk?

I feel bad about saying this out loud, but I’ve worked for Rihanna before, as a local seamstress on her Diamonds tour and I thought those costumes were fabulous.

It just seemed like… a lot of beige…???  

Did anyone else notice that or was it just me?

Maybe they will be adding some more color since the second night of the tour? I’m not sure what was going on there but it was literally “50. Shades. Of Beige.”
😦

15 Things You Can Put In A Mobile Sewing Kit And 2 Ways To Create a Part Time Sewing Job…

mansons pants

Repairs to Marilyn Manson’s Pants at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Fl

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
7. Zippers

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

 

 

 

 

 

“Can We Talk?” Rock Fashion Radio Show Coming Soon!!

As some of you may know, Joan Rivers was my first A List Client back in 2011.

Joan Rivers and I

 

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?”

Since then, I’ve worked for many celebrities that came thru Orlando and Tampa on tour, including most famously Sir Paul McCartney, who’s story landed me on the front page of my hometown newspaper!!

Front page News

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.

Justin Bieber Believe Film Costumes

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 MarsMiley 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.

Bruce Tindle wearing the Cult Replica vest I made

Bruce Tindle wearing the Cult Replica vest I made

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!

Rock Rage Radio

 

Rock Rage Radio

Psycho logo

Like Psycho Seamstress on Facebook!

How to Costume Rig a Button Down Garment for Quick Change

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:

  • Garment to be rigged
  • Sewing Machine and/or hand sewing needle
  • garment matching thread
  • large snaps (dime to quarter wopper popper size) OR SEW ON Velcro cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, do not attempt to use the stick on Velcro, it won’t hold and if you try to sew over it, you will gunk up your machine!!

Here is how you do it using large snaps:

  1. remove the buttons from their normal position (except for the neck) and sew them to the other side of the garment on top of the button holes so they look like they are buttoned. When hand sewing I double the thread so that you are sewing with 4 strands. You can do this by hand if you’d like but I like to do it with the sewing machine set on a zig zag stitch the width of the button holes and the stitch length set to zero! Step 1Photo Dec 18, 2 48 35 PMPhoto Dec 18, 2 49 51 PM
  2. Next take the male side of the snap and sew it to the back side of the button hole (on the inside of the shirt and opposite of the button you just sewed on. NOTE: If you are using sew on Velcro instead of snaps, cut about 1 1/2 inch long piece and machine sew the FEMALE side onto the same place. If the button gets in your way you can sew the Velcro on first then hand stitch the buttons on second.
  3. Take the female side of the snap and sew it to the place where the original button was located, make sure the “belly button” side is up!!  If you are using Velcro put the MALE Velcro centered over where the original button was facing up so it adheres to the other velcro facing down.
  4. Repeat this process with every button, securing them as you go along to make sure everything matches up and you put things in the correct place.
  5. You can do the same with the shirt cuffs

It should all end up looking like this:

Photo Dec 18, 4 54 09 PM

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!!