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
Do you have Fashion Designs you’d like to have made into patterns and prototypes to test your designs?
As the Founder of Orlando Fashion District its my mission to help you!
This is Step 1 on the pre production path to getting Your Fashion Designs into production and becoming a bonafide Fashion Designer!
Most of my clients ARE NOT educated or experienced in Fashion. Most have day jobs they want to eventually quit and are transitioning into fashion as their exit strategy.
You do not need a degree or experience in Fashion to become a successful designer. When you surround yourself with people who can guide you through the process by connecting you with the experts, you can get there from here.
I can work with you one of two ways. I can teach you as much as you’d like to learn or know to manage the daily details yourself OR you can hire me to manage it for you while you design and make all the big decisions.
Take this survey about how far along you are with your designs and get a free consultation from me on what next steps you can take to move forward.
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.
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.
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
aka Psycho Seamstress
Orlando Fashion District
Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Quora
How to get your own fabric designs professionally printed by the yard!
A few years ago I was wondering how to get custom fabrics made for clients who were asking for a one of a kind design.
Well I’ve since found and used 2 different ways to do this, even if you only need 1 yard of fabric!
The first way is a little more hands on and the quality is good, but you’ll need to have some basic design skills. You should be able to figure out this DIY method online through a website called Spoonflower.
There are some other websites out there, but this one, I have actually used myself to print a fabric out of my Psycho Seamstress logo, which I cut out and use as labels to sew onto clothing I’ve made. You can design fabrics for yourself or to sell to others for a commission using this site.
Here’s the link to my Psycho Seamstress logo design:
Feel free to buy some!! LOL
Not only can Spoonflower print your designs on several types of fabric, but you can also use the images to create wallpaper, wrapping paper or stickers! It was super easy and super cool!
The second way is easier if you know what you want, but don’t exactly have the graphic design skills to make it happen. It’s a little more expensive than the DIY method, but the results are stunning and very high end.
I use a company called Solid Stone Fabrics. This company has several dozen gorgeous fabrics to choose from including spandex, swimwear fabrics, silk chiffons, organza, duck, jersey, neoprene, fabrics with sequins, foiled color, metallics, even carpet!! If you contact them, they can ship you out a swatch ring of some amazing high end fabrics you’ll have to choose from. Ask for Luke Harris, he’s one of the owners and the main sales guy. Tell him I sent you!
Here’s a link to their website:
Solid Stone will assign a graphic designer to your project and THEY will create a graphic design file to your specifications, for a reasonable set up fee.
Once your design is initially approved by you in an email, they will send you a sample of the design printed on the fabric of your choice. Once you approve the sample, you can order it as needed with a one yard minimum.
Using custom designed fabrics is a great way to raise your price tag. You can create a much more unique and cohesive fashion collection by using the same pattern or design on multiple items in different fabrics. Finding coordinating designs and fabrics on the open market can be a challenge. When you design your own fabrics, you can create matching stretch jeans, silky tops, make sheer cover ups paired with swimwear and more, just like all of the high end brands do and order your fabrics as needed.
If you’d like more insider tips on how to excel as a fashion designer, join my group on Facebook called “Clothing Designer Resources” and feel free to share your best connections, collections and advice!!
You can contact me at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com
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
Please help me collect some real world measurements for men who are 250 Lbs or more. We are designing trendy clothing for Men who are 2X – 7X, with special attention to short, average and tall height categories. Please go get a long sewing tape measure and maybe even a friend who can help you take some measurements and click the link to this anonymous measurement survey. Men’s Measurements over 250 Lbs
The fashion industry’s standard ASTM Men’s Measurement Chart does not extent past size 4X. Therefore, we are creating our own and need real life measurments to create the correct algorithms to extend this “industry standard” sizing chart to include real world people who are currently being ignored by the Fashion Industry.
I have personally worked as a Men’s Stylist and Ferragamo Specialist at Bloomingdale’s, where there were many potential clients I had to turn away, because Top Designer’s worldwide, ignore their size. Many of my loyal clients have been women who are plus size and simply can not find clothing to fit them properly, but men have even less to choose from than women.
Men and boys in my opinion are under served by the fashion industry. In the last 2 years after quitting my day job to become a designer and seamstress full time, I have had several Men approach me for sewing lessons and help in making their own patterns and prototypes for fashion. I noticed a trend that lot of men were becoming involved in fashion because there is such a large gap between men and women’s fashions. I found another example of this gap when I would go to the fabric store looking for patterns for men and boys. For the longest time, I would have to buy women’s patterns and alter them to fit a man.
The good news is that male fashion is evolving! Designers are coming to me for help in creating new and trendy fashions for boys and men.
That is exciting!
Please Share this post with all the fashion seeking men you know who’d like to make a difference in men’s fashion!
For the last few years, I have been consulting with clients who are just beginning in fashion. They usually come to me with a pile of sketches or inspiration photos of garments they want to create and have no idea what journey they are about to embark upon to get from these humble beginnings to a finished product, ready to sell. The process can literally take months. (here is an outline of THAT process… How to Start a Fashion Line Realistically and Ethically) Although there are many steps that have to be complete before you can go into production, here are the steps to take once the design and prototype process has been completed. Doing this yourself is a big job, but here are some basic questions to ask when shopping for a factory to produce your clothing:
1. Are they a fair wage factory?
Chances are, if it’s in a foreign country they aren’t and won’t answer honestly. Nowadays people are asking more and more questions about where and how it’s made and are judging your line accordingly. People ARE willing to pay more to ensure they aren’t endorsing slavery. (Click this link to find out how many slaves work for you) ETHICAL production is available at an affordable price CAN be found if you contact Organizations like Fashion Hope. They can will assist you worldwide, in finding a production facility that doesn’t involve human trafficking, slavery, forced or child labor. Tell them I sent you or contact me for help with this.
2. Where are they located?
This factor is important for a number of reasons:
– Get shipping estimates to and from the factory, those expenses should be considered as part of your production cost in both directions.
– You will need to ship them patterns, prototypes and materials and they will be shipping you material samples, garment samples and finished products. – — Import fees should also be considered, estimated and added to your bottom line.
3. Can you affordably visit their facility?
I highly recommend you do so. Having a face to face with your factory and touring the facility is an important part of making a smart investment decision and maintaining a profitable relationship. Go with your gut. If anything seems sketchy it’s better to keep looking and write off the trip expenses than to invest thousands of dollars in a production house that doesn’t have their act together, too much could go wrong.
4. Do they have all the right sewing machines to make your garments?
If they have a website make sure they are currently making similar items. It’s unreasonable to expect one factory to sew your entire collection if you’ve got jeans, dresses, t shirts and swimwear. Each of those items uses different sewing machines and fabrics to construct. It’s better to find a factory that specializes in one type of garment for each item in your collection if they differ greatly in how they need to be constructed.
5. Can they send you samples of their work on similar garments?
Ask them to mail (even if you have to pay for them) you similar items and check the quality of their work inside and out.
– Look for dropped stitches or stitch defects that mean their equipment needs to be better maintained or that quality control might be an issue.
Here’s an example of what a stitch defect looks like… it can eventually unravel and cause problems with the construction of your garment, making it open up at the seam.
Wash the item(s) if you can to see how it holds up. If they aren’t cutting the pattern out properly it can ruin an entire production run.
I have a friend who had a 3 piece outfit made in China. They cut one piece wrong and it couldn’t be salvaged. The whole outfit had to be scratched for that season even though the other two pieces were fine. That was about a $5k loss.
6. Can they provide fabric and notions sourced locally or do they have adequate storage for you to send them the fabrics and notions you’ve sourced for production?
Get samples of what they have access to before you have anything made in their fabrics. Get swatches and samples of their fabrics, notions, buttons, garment tags, even elastics.
Send them reference photos or swatches and samples of what fabrics and notions that you want to use and see what they come up with locally. I know one designer who had everything specified to the China factory on her swimwear collection and even sent them a sample of swimwear elastic. When they constructed her swimwear they substituted her swimwear elastic with what was essentially a “rubber band” type of elastic. It caused a fit issue with her collection and was a cheap and substandard elastic. She didn’t even know it had happened until her pattern maker took apart on of her factory made swimsuits on a redesign.
7. How much do they charge for a factory sample?
This price can vary depending on the complexity of the garment.
If it’s a pretty basic pattern block that is common in fashion then it could be $20 or less.
If it’s an original design they should be able to give you a ballpark estimate from a photo or drawing and description by email.
The average price that I’ve found for a factory sample seems to be right around $80. Standard Proceedure is to send them a pattern and prototype and they will send you a factory made garment.
8. What is their average turn around time on an order?
Planning ahead and allowing for all of the standard turn around time is a huge factor if you have seasonal items.
9. What other services do they offer?
Do you need anything else done to your garment that could be done at the factory? This can include screen printing, custom garment tags (vs the cheap plastic looking ones that scream low budget production!!) distressing, adding riveted buttons, zippers and so on can frequently be outsourced locally by the factory.
10. What is their policy on orders that are made wrong or what happens if you don’t get what you reasonably expected?
If you’re saying to your self, “damn, this seems a lot more complicated, expensive and time consuming, than I thought!” You’re right. It is a long and drawn out process, but it can be done. Contact me and I can help you through the process. Managing this yourself, as I said earlier is a big job and can result in huge losses if you don’t ask all the right questions or skip a step in an attempt to get your items made quickly.
Join my Clothing Designer Resources Group on Facebook for more information on how to go to market with your designs.
Mick James of Criss Angel MindFreak and Believe fame gives a detailed interview to Psycho Seamstress on Rock Rage Radio Florida and talks about his new Dark Fantasy Musical/Film in the works “Mick James Is Dead”.
This interview was recorded on Friday March 27, 2015 and aired on Rock Rage Radio (www.rockrageradio.com) on Tuesday March 31, 2015 at 8pm.
Here are photos of the stagewear I made for Mick and his guitar player Ku Khem
and photos from their performance at the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles, CA in January 2015.
Mick James can be reached at:
Please check out my movie teaser/music video. Featuring Snake Sabo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iDpHzRPflg
Hard copy CD packages: https://squareup.com/market/sj-management-group-llc
The new website: http://mickjamesisdead.com/
On Reverbnation http://www.reverbnation.com/mickjamesisdead
On twitter: https://twitter.com/Mickjamesbitch
Grimm Jack Link: https://www.facebook.com/grimm.jack.3?fref=ts
Psycho Seamstress http://www.psychoseamstress.com
Kim Dylla of Kylla Custom Rock Wear shared some up close and personal details with Psycho Seamstress on Rock Rage Radio on her Rock Fashion Stagewear company, her international travels for 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, her amazing art work, her epic cooking fails and her experience as Vulvatron of Gwar. Kim was out on a road trip from her home in Virgina, enroute to Michigan when she took the time out to talk with me.
This interview audio originally aired on Rock Rage Radio (.com) on Tuesday, March 24th at 8pm.
The full and original audio of this interview was mixed with a slideshow and is posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/2jQBe_rOe60
Psycho: Kim, Thank you for joining us today, can you tell us a little bit about yourself for the people who don’t know who you are and what you do?
Kim: I think that market is pretty saturated, I do mainly men because in the metal world of musicians is very male dominated and they are very under served in terms of men’s clothing, people just wear all black or jeans and t shirts, you know? or a plain leather jacket or plain leather pants and women have a lot more options out there, you know I love and I get really excited when I make things for girls in bands because it’s so near to my heart! We still have a bunch of women’s ready to wear stuff on our Etsy site (https://www.etsy.com/shop/KyllaCustomRockWear) that has been sitting there for a while, especially like the fashion show stuff because people can buy that everywhere.
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!