20 Skills You Should Know Before Applying For A Sewing Job!

When applying for a sewing job, alteration or repair work, I highly recommend you know the following key skills and especially those that could be related to the projects:

1. How to open a regular and serged seam with a seam ripper, without damaging the fabric. Practice on thrift store garments and only cut the sewing threads and not the fabric.

2. Zipper skills! Replace a zipper, install a zipper, know the difference between a Single Lap, Double Lap, Exposed and Invisible zipper.

Know how to sew a zipper into a stretch Fabric.

Any thrift store garment will do for practicing this skill.

3. Sewing snaps. You’d be surprised how many people don’t do this correctly. On costumes, you should use a four thread thickness and stitches that go around the outside of the snap. Neatness, puckering, lose threads not evenly pulled and what it looks like on the other side does matter! You should know how to sew a snap that goes through and through all the multiple layers of fabric and one that stays on a single layer of fabric and doesn’t show through the front.

When I see a stitch that goes from hole to hole it’s a problem. It interferes with a good firm snap connection and isn’t as long lasting or secure. You’d be surprised how many people sew the female side on upside down, if you’re not sure which side faces out, snap it to check. You should also always put the flat or male side of the snap against the body.

4. Hand and machine sewing a button. 2 hole, 4 hole and (by hand) shank.

5. Cut Fabric on the bias

6. Cut out a pattern on the fold and one with a grain line. How to cut velvet, fur and nap fabrics with a one direction design.

7. Sew a regular darts and a French dart.

8. Install a sleeve properly (baste curve) especially when they are not a mirrored sleeve pattern.

9. Hand stitch and machine stitch a hem

10. Know how to install elastic into a hem and sewn in elastic.

11. Sewing Pleats

12. Gathering Properly

13. Threading an industrial sewing machine and serger

14. Changing threads and bobbins

15. Changing needles

16. How to do a French seam and felled seam.

17. Making a rolled hem with and without a hem foot

18. Sewing stretch fabrics and woven fabrics

19. Making Button Holes with and without a button hole setting

20. Pressing seams and darts with an industrial iron

If you are proficient at all of the above skills you should be a confident contender where a sewing test is being given.

Gina Vincenza Van Epps

Costume Fabrication Specialist at

Universal Theme Parks

Celebrity Seamstress

Influencer

Founder,

Orlando Fashion District

aka Psycho Seamstress

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10 Ways To Pre Sell Your Fashion Collection

As the Founder of Orlando Fashion District, my mission is to help Fashion Designers succeed in business.

Here’s some of my best advice on how to leverage the money you spend on patterns and prototypes to fund the production of your designs vs spending thousands of dollars on a production run that hasn’t been tested on the market yet and hoping it will sell.

  1. Wear them! I highly recommend making yourself the fit model for your Designs whenever possible. Why? Because when I wear what I’ve designed (last night for example) I handed out 20+ business cards at a rock concert to people who said they loved the Steampunk Themed Top Hat, Jacket and Boots I made. I had 2 different people offer me $150 to buy my hat right off my head! Stand out in a crowd. Make yourself a walking billboard and engage your admirers by stopping right then and there and have them follow you on your social media accounts. Boom. Wearing your designs will also let you test the reaction, fit, fabrics, laundering aftermath and so on. It’s a necessary part of the research and development of your brand.
  2. Do a professional looking photo shoot of your designs. Hire models if needed, have a nice background, good lighting and get some great shots of your designs from all angles. These photos can be used for multiple things, which I will outline further below.
  3. Post photos to your social media. This is huge and if you don’t already have a website, Instagram or Facebook page for your designs you better get on it! Use your social media to showcase, debut, take pre orders for your designs and get feedback from your followers. If you need help building an Instagram account, I highly recommend KelpSocial.com they took our Orlando Fashion District account from 200 to 3,600 and growing, organically in a matter of weeks. Tell them you were referred by Orlando Fashion District and get a free month plus 10% off after your trial. You can set your Instagram account up to share your posts to Facebook, saving a lot of posting time.
  4. Launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the best gurus in the industry on how to do this is Shannon Lohr at Factory45.co Presell your designs and fund your first production run with advanced orders using Your prototypes and photos. You’ll need to have your fabrics sourced and production numbers together with everything ready to rock and roll when the pre orders come in.
  5. Do a Runway Show. This will get you some great professional runway photos of models wearing your designs, good feedback from the crowd and potentially some buyers. I know Designers who sell their fashion right off the runway and take orders for their designs.
  6. Show your Designs at Convention, Tradeshow or Expo events. Some of the biggest events are the Surf Expo for swimwear designers, (surfexpo.com) Magic Las Vegas is one of the Fashion industries biggest sourcing events. http://www.ubmfashion.com/shows/magic I know designers who walked in with prototypes and walked out with Production contracts in hand.
  7. Negotiate retail contracts. I know a woman with an extensive list of top department stores and retailers who she can negotiate retail contracts with of your designs. Contact me directly for this inside information at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com
  8. Start small on Etsy. Use your photos. Find a local seamstress who can make your designs as needed and sell them with up to a 6 week turnaround time. Get paid in advance and then ship it out made to order.
  9. Ask for Boutique orders. Pack your designs into a garment bag or suitcase and take them around to local boutiques with swatches of any other available fabrics. Show them your collection and ask for orders with a 50% deposit of at least 2X your cost and get the balance on delivery. They should be able to resell your designs for at least 2X what they paid you. (Keystone Pricing) If you can charge more then definitely do!
  10. Use Influencers. Ideally you should give your design to them for free, have them take photos wearing it and write you an unlicensed review you can use, post or share to your social media. Ideally an influencer should have at least 10k followers, be willing to blog their review, post photos to their social media and tag you. If you’d like me to review your design email me at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com to see if we’re a good match.

For more help, resources and information on how to launch your own fashion brand, many of my clients have hired me as a consultant.

I can help you get through your patterns and prototypes, get graded and digitized, source fabrics, get your social media and branding image together, launch an influencer campaign, find a production house, show your collection on a fashion week or celebrity attempted runway show anywhere in the world and more.

Fashionably Yours,

Gina Vincenza Van Epps

Fashion Influencer

aka Psycho Seamstress

Founder of

Orlando Fashion District

Fashion Destination

#ofd

http://www.Psychoseamstress.com

http://www.OrlandoFashionDistrict.com

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Quora

7 Ways to Make Money Sewing

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

Orlando, FloridaGina@PsychoSeamstress.com

Restoring Janis Joplin’s Cape…

Last fall I was commissioned by the Hard Rock Cafe to restore Janis Joplin’s Cape, which is now on display in San Francisco, California. 

Here are the before and after photos from that restoration. 


I am available to consult on the alteration, repair or restoration of Historical, High End Couture and Memoribilia clothing worldwide. 

Design, Pattern, Prototype and Production House now open in Central Florida


I have joined forces with 1v1 Fight Gear already in full swing making the only UFC regulation boxing gloves in the USA and padded military combat training gear. These product designs are modifiable and available for further customization and private labeling. 

Together we can offer the following wide range of concept to creation services:

  • Patterns / Grading
  • Prototypes 

Versatile Cut and Sew Production Runs including: 

  • Tactical Clothing and Accessories 
  • Concealed Weapons Carry Clothing Designs and Modifications
  • Fabric and Leather Bags and Accessories 
  • Denim Jeans
  • Swimwear 
  • Clothing
  • Short Run and Limited Edition Couture Designs

We also offer:

  • Clicker Press Die Cutting Services 
  • Wholesale Fabric Sourcing for our production run clients and to outside designers
  • Industrial Sewing and Pattern Making Lessons
  • Global Production Run Project Management 
  • Storage & Logistical Services  
  • Temporary Design and Production Day Space Rentals

#orlandodesignhouse, #orlandoproductionhouse, #madeinusa, #psychoseamstress, #1v1fightgear, #fightgear, #combattraininggear, #privatelabel, #designcutsew, #cutandsew

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?

Now Offering Consulting Services, Wardrobe Styling, Speaking and Teaching for Fashion, Wardrobe and Costume Related Projects, Worldwide.

ginaRecently, I was head hunted on LinkedIn and asked to apply for a costume related department head job at a large theme park opening in another country.  The duties were similar to what I do now, between my work on concert tours and at Universal Theme Parks. I was later told, I was “overqualified” AND that they didn’t think they could “afford” me. I was initially shocked by these two labels and their perception of me, based on the work I’ve done so far.

There are times when other people’s opinions matter and times when they don’t. (For me that’s MOST of the time!!)  In this particular case, it inspired me to realize, it was time to reach higher and raise my price tag.

I thought long and hard about where I was in my career. I set many goals for myself, which this “rejection” made me realize, I’d already achieved. Been There, Done That! Sewing for living, was the vehicle that got me where I am today, but it’s not something I want to physically do on a daily basis anymore. I want to do more designing, styling, project management and consulting work.

img_2621Over the last few years, I created a ton of social media that consistently leads people to call or email me on a daily basis for mobile services in Orlando, FL and beyond. It’s a niche I created. If you google “Orlando Seamstress” or a few other related key words, my Psycho Seamstress Social Media dominates the search results. I did that using SEO, key words and tagging techniques I learned in my website marketing days.
Due to my work for multiple A List celebrities on a regular basis, sewing costumes for Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rihanna and most recently Beyonce, I have become a very well known and highly demanded expert at helping out-of-towners connect to everything they need, on short notice, to successfully execute multi million dollar shows, on the fly. Because of all of the high end work I do, everyone I know in this business, wants to work with me, which has helped me create a very large network of talent, vendors and suppliers, who I keep on speed dial and will take my calls after hours.
Bey Crew

Here’s the wardrobe crew I put together to work on costumes for Beyonce during the 3+ weeks she was in Tampa rehearsing.

There are some interesting dynamics going on in the entertainment industry right now. High fashion is becoming the trend on a lot of concert tours with Beyonce leading the charge on that, in a way I’ve never seen before.  Meanwhile, costumes are having a huge influence on fashion, as evidenced by the now mega industry of cosplay with “cons” popping up everywhere. It has become hard for me to keep myself grounded on one side of the fence or the other. I’ve had to learn how to balance two very different animals to earn a living. Quite frankly, I don’t know of anyone besides myself, who has both the experience (in fashion, concert tour, theme park, theater and costumes) and flexibility I have. All of my mentors and top go to people are tied down to running a traditional brick and mortar type business, where as, I am not. Becoming Mobile and ready, willing and able to travel, caters to a very underserved clientele. I can literally fit everything I need to work with, into my 2 seat, hatch back sports car (including a full size garment rack, dress form, sewing machine, serger and suitcase full of supplies with room to spare) and be on the scene in a matter of hours. (Putting all of that stuff on a plane for a short gig is a literal and logistical pain in the arse, half of it would get confiscated by security and the rest would be at risk for being damaged or lost. Some of my clients really don’t even know what they need to get the job done, but Psycho Seamstress just sounds like the perfect solution!!) After assessing the situation, I can make a few phone calls and have an entire crew, locked, loaded and ready to rock and roll.

If you think you’ve got an impossible project, with an ambitious deadline, here are some recent examples of my “air traffic control” type skills…

January 2016: Matrix Destination, Grand Finale Fashion Show, Orlando, FL 

matrix-renatoI was hired by the event company to assist, up and coming NYC Art Couture Fashion Designer Renato Dicent. (An amazing and impressive young man, with some cutting edge designs and skills that got the attention of Heidi Klum, Madonna and More!)
The Assignment:
  • to create several last minute dresses to coordinate with some over the top hairstyles needed for the avant garde fashion show in less than 3 days. Challenge Accepted
  • In order to execute this seemingly impossible task, I stayed on location for the next 3 days to work with Renato and his NYC team and coordinated everything he needed, from shopping for specialty fabrics with my local discounts, providing sewing related equipment, materials and supplies, coordinating off site specialty services and finding a 24 hour pattern maker, runner and sewing team, who had their own mobile equipment and could come and work with us onsite. renato-dress-gina
  • I accomplished all of the above, while sewing one of the dresses myself and helping on multiple others.
“The fabulous opportunity to work with Gina for NYC designer, Renato Dicent to create avant-garde wardrobes for the Matrix Destinations’ Grand Finale Fashion Show in Florida was one of the most incredible opportunities in my life! Gina is an amazing, skillfully, creatively talented and enthusiastic person. We were a great buddy in the creative team to make many avant-garde dresses with a super tight deadline. Gina fast became a key person in creation, the sublime show would not happen without her. I was honored to work with Gina and hope from the bottom of my heart to work together again. I can’t say how much I am looking forward to seeing her phenomenal future in the creative world!”
– Sho Konishi, Fashion Designer, www.sho-konishi.com

April 2016: Beyonce Formation World Tour, Onsite Costume Fabrication, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL 

  • Due to my extensive database of local sewing beyonce-formation-world-tourtalent, I was asked to assemble a team of several local pattern makers and stitchers, who had mobile equipment and could work on location for 3 weeks consecutively.
  • We provided onsite alterations, costume rigging, fashion to costume conversions, pattern making and fabrication on hundreds of costumes for this tour.
Adding Gussets

Adding Gussets

  • I was featured in Beyoncé’s Behind The Scenes “BTS Formation World Tour (Fashion)” Video, which she posted on YouTube and Facebook, where I was interviewed about what we were doing to convert her high end fashions to costumes at about the 1:20 mark.

Here’s the link for that… Beyonce BTS Formation World Tour Fashion Video

“Gina continues to be our go-to supplier and resource for all things costume related.  Her experience in A-List wardrobe maintenance and design is extensive. Gina has sewing / textile / accessory resources across the country making her a “one stop shop” for assistance no matter where our clients are located within the USA.  If you want to make one call and solve all your costuming / wardrobe / apparel needs then Gina is the call to make.”
– Megan Duckett, Founder and President, Sew What? | Rent What?, Rancho Dominguez, CA

 June 2016: Microsoft Corporate Event, Amway Center, Orlando, FL

microsoftI was hired by the event company to provide a variety of services which included:
  • Shop for and tailor to fit, a man’s suit for their EVP onsite, so he would not have to leave his hotel suite.
  • Put together a mobile design and sewing team to fabricate costumes onsite, to be worn by their keynote speakers during an event at Amway Center.
  • I stayed onsite for 5 days to design, shop, fabricate, coordinate outside services and overall manage this project, which culminated in making final adjustments to costumes, moments before they hit the stage, all executed under their initial budget allocations.

Other Projects I consult on:

I consult with film makers, photographers, theme parks and show creators on getting pre production wardrobe related concepts and realistic budget numbers together including:
  • Concept Design & Illustration by Award Winning CDG Talent
  • Fabrication Estimates & Options from FL to NY to LA
  • Sourcing or Creating Custom Fabrics & Materials to fit any theme
  • Off The Rack Wardrobe Options
  • Wardrobe Styling and Personal Shopping for Top Executives & Celebrities Worldwide
  • Rental Costume Options
  • Wardrobe Crew Coordinator for Touring, On Location or Head Of Wardrobe jobs worldwide
“I am Alex Lorre…(film) producer belonging to (Hollywood) Union. I recently had the pleasure of working with Gina for nearly a year on a very high budget Space Horror Film script. She vetted award winning costume designers, the worlds largest fabricator of space suits, researched production houses, rental costume options and helped us create an archive of futuristic costume design concepts, high tech and cutting edge fabric samples and more. She is relentlessly ambitious and it would be my pleasure to have her on my team in the future. She is a pleasure to work with. I would rank her as one of the best Costume designers we had in our previous projects. Gina is the type of person you want leading from the front. Furthermore, she is what I consider to be a “hard charger”. She outshines her peers in whatever she chooses to accomplish. Gina has always impressed me as a bright, articulate, enthusiastic, reliable person. Should you have any questions regarding working with Gina please feel free to contact me at alorre2002@gmail.com”  
“Let me say that working with Gina on past projects has been a pleasure. Gina has proven to be very reliable, talented and extremely knowledgeable in her craft.  She would be a valuable asset to any project. I not only recommend her, but I would hire her again with out reservation.”
– George Catalano – Florida Stunt Man, Actor, Film Maker, TopCat Film Productions
“Working with Gina is an experience.  She definitely raises the bar on any project she is involved with.  You can plan on being blown away by her work. It will exceed your expectations, many times over. I hope she is available for all my projects.”
– Ken Barr –  Author, We Are The Road Crew, Florida Film Maker , Ken Barr Films, Main Stage Manager, 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise
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My Mobile Wardrobe Services database, site, Facebook PageFacebook Group and extensive LinkedIn Network allows me to help others staff sewing, touring and head of wardrobe positions world wide.  Looking for crew or staff?
I can give you the names of multiple qualified people willing to travel, tour or relocate for wardrobe positions worldwide.

High End Repair and Restoration Coordinator

If you are:costumes
  • on tour with valuable fashions or costumes you need repaired while on the road
  • a museum, cafe, attraction or otherwise display historical and memorabilia costumes or fashion
  • have a valuable private collection in need of repair or restoration
With a:
  • High risk of causing further damage by moving said items
  • High Cost of Security or Insurance Expense to move
I can:
  • travel world wide to where these items are located
  • professionally photograph and document the issues in question
  • provide a written report and recommendation for possible solutions
  • provide a list of qualified repair experts, who can travel to or be retained
  • or possibly repair the items onsite, myself

Wardrobe Stylist / Fashion and BTS Blogger

kent-stetson-handbag-herb-clutch-3

Kent Stetson “Herb Clutch” to be featured in a teen horror film I am working on.

Once I started working for celebrities, behind the scenes, having influence on and making decisions about things that would be seen on film, stage, runway or at events, designers started sending me fashion and accessories to use, wear and or asking me to give them away to people of influence in their target market.

If you’d like me to consider your brand for placement email me at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com
Some of the brands I’m working with right now include:

CRI Book CoverSpeaking and Teaching Engagements

This year I finally decided to write a book I’ve been threatening to do for several years on a behind the scenes art known as “costume rigging”. Click here to support my Indiegogo “Costume Rigging Illustrated” book campaign. 
  • You can support me here by ordering a copy for as little as $10
  • You can book me through this indiegogo funding campaign for a limited time for speaking or teaching engagements, or just have dinner with me to pick my brain.
I am willing to travel anywhere worldwide to speak or teach about what I’ve done in entertainment, fashion, costuming or any other related subject of my expertise.

Don’t assume you can’t afford me or that I am overqualified for your project.

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I don’t always take every job myself and I may be able to help you find the right person.
Take this survey, to see if there’s something I can help you with!!
I’ll give you a free consultation to evaluate your project via email, phone, Skype or in person and a written proposal on options to meet your needs.
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