Sewing Lessons and Project Assistance

Due to an ongoing stream of requests for private sewing lessons and project assistance, Gina has put together this post with all of the details!

Gina has a fully stocked design house studio in Orlando near Universal Theme Park where she give private sewing lessons and project assistance to:

  • Home School Students
  • All Ages
  • Any Skill Level
  • Sewing Machine and Serger Set Up and Operation
  • Basic Sewing to Advanced Sewing, Couture, Tailoring and Advanced Hand Sewing Techniques
  • Home Sewing to Industrial Sewing Transitions
  • Preparing for Job Sewing Tests
  • Fashion and Costume Design
  • Specialty Clothing Lines
  • Handbags, Purses, Backpacks and other Bags
  • Designing Accessories and other Sewn Goods
  • Pattern Making and Altering existing patterns
  • Sewing from start to finish using a commercial sewing pattern
  • Making Patterns from existing clothing
  • Grading Patterns
  • Replica Garments and Cosplay Costume Design and Fabrication
  • Costume and Costume Rigging
  • Tactical and Tactical Rigging
  • Illusionist Rigging
  • Fashion College Entrance Portfolios
  • Advanced Sewing Project Assistance
  • Fabric and Notion Sourcing Wholesale
  • Designing Your Own Fabrics
  • Putting Designs Into Factory Production
  • Getting Factory Samples Made
  • Fashion Sales and Marketing
  • Managing Fashion Social Media Profiles
  • Fashion Crowdfunding Campaigns
  • Celebrity Wardrobe and Sewing Services for concert tours
  • Preparing for Runway Shows
  • Runway Show Backstage Management
  • Producing Runway Shows
  • Fashion Brand Development Strategies
  • Intern and Apprentice Opportunities

Here’s her resume highlights:

Gina Vincenza aka Psycho Seamstress

  • President and Founder of Orlando Fashion District who’s nonprofit mission is to make Orlando a Fashion Destination with a Garment District
  • Creator, Director and Producer Of Orlando Fashion Battle and Fashion Battle League Productions
  • Universal Theme Park Costume Fabrication Specialist since 2014
  • 50+ x Celebrity Seamstress including wardrobe for Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Costumes for Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and more
  • Featured in Beyoncé’s Beyonce’s Formation World Tour Behind The Scenes Fashion Video at the 1:20 mark
  • Restored Janice Joplin’s Cape for the Hard Rock Cafe now on display in the San Francisco’s Hard Rock Cafe
  • Fashion, Costume and Tactical Design House owner
  • IMDB Film Costume Wardrobe Key, Designer, Fabricator and on location wardrobe services manager
  • Runway Show and Fashion Event Producer
  • 2x Front Page News Articles in The Post Journal
  • Mentor
  • Speaker
  • Top Writer on Quora 2018
  • Consultant

Gina announcing the winners of Orlando’s first Fashion Battle

Trinity Acevedo, Winner Of The Top Female Model Title

Gina working out the preshow details of Orlando Fashion Battle.

Gina in her Studio

Fashion Battle Winner Lisa J’s Top Female Hairstyle on Model Brittany Moye wearing designer Zheni’s Costumes

Model Cassidy Rosado wearing Jaylani’s Boutique, Fashion Battle Winning Photo by Josh Soto Of Joker Visions

Model Mario Espana in Fashion Battle Award Winning Makeup by Londyn Herwick and Top Male Costume by Zheni’s Costumes

If you need help with a project or would like to learn how to become more independent in managing your own projects or fashion business, Gina can help. She can teach you the skills or connect you with the resources you need, without going through a college or degree program and just skip to focusing only on whatever is relevant to your goals!

For more information contact Gina today:


Little People Fashion Survey

Help Jamila McDaniel and I create a clothing line specifically for “Little People” by taking this survey.

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



Orlando Fashion District

aka Psycho Seamstress

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 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 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, ( Magic Las Vegas is one of the Fashion industries biggest sourcing events. 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
  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 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


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


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. 

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. 


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?