Posts Tagged ‘Gina Barrett’

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In today’s post I will be reviewing; Gina Barrett’s; Making Braids and Cords DVD.

Making Braids and Cords DVD

Making Braids and Cords DVD

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Gina Barrett/ Making Passementerie
  • Item Name: Making Braids and Cords; Beginners Selection
  • Item number ISBN: 978-0-9546618-8-5
  • RRP at time of writing: £17
  • Run Time: 94 minutes


Main Chapters

  • Tools & Materials
  • Getting Started
  • Plaited Braids
  • Twisted (Spun) Cords
  • Sewing Machine Cords
  • Wrapped, Knotted & Woven Cords
  • Hints & Tips

Details of projects in each chapter

  • Tools & Materials: What you will need to create the projects shown on the DVD
  • Getting Started: Preparing Warps, Elements & Ends, Constrictor Knot, Half Hitch, Binding
  • Plaited Braids: 4 Element Flat Braid, 4 Element Round Braid, 5 Element Braid version, 5 Element Braid version 2, 8 Element Crossover Braid, 8 Element Soutache
  • Finger loop Braids: Preparing Loops, Loop Replacement & Techniques, Round Lace 5 loops, Broad Lace 5 loops, German Lace 5 loops, Baston 5 loops, Lace Bend, Grene Dorge, Cheveron 8 Loops
  • Twisted (Spun) Cords: Twist S and Z, Monk’s Cord, 3 Element Cord, 2 in 1 Cord, Wavy Gimp, Double-spun cord
  • Sewing Machine Cords: Zig zag Cord, Encased Cord, Cutting Bias Strips, Rouleau
  • Wrapped, Knotted & Woven Cords: Gimp (Bourdon cord), Soutache version 1, Soutache version 2, Spiral, Hand Knotted
  • Hints & Tips: Uses for the braids

Reason For Buying

When I first saw Gina demonstrate some of these techniques on Create & Craft,  I knew I wanted this DVD. There were so many ideas I had, for all the different things I’d use the cords with, especially to add a new dimension to my bookbinding projects and with boxes too.



  • There are 25 braids and cord designs shown on the DVD
  • There is a full pictorial list of all the designs, on the inside cover of the DVD, to help you find just the one you want.
  • The eye level camera work, means it is like standing next to Gina as she braids. This makes it much easier to learn the techniques.
  • Each design has a page about its history and how it has been used in the past. Next comes a slow walk through of the technique itself, followed by a really helpful page you can freeze frame and make notes from. This page lists the steps used for the project you just saw. This is really helpful as it’s the ‘chant’ you can use as you create the braid/cord for yourself, and helps to keep you on track, while you are learning.
  • There is a clearly laid out menu system, each style has a dedicated chapter and then a large number of projects in each one. After you play a design, the menu returns you to the start of the chapter, to choose where you would like to go next.
  • Very clear instructions and I like that it has the written element as well as the visual demonstrations. We all learn in different ways and the extra dimension means that the new technique stays with you for longer.
  • There is an excellent description of the tools and materials you will need and for how to start and finish your chosen project.
  • Buying directly from Gina’s website, you also have the choice to have the DVD in NTSC or in PAL formats.


  • The menu system does not have a play all feature. Being new to the subject, I wanted to watch the whole thing, see what it was all about and then pick a design to re-create. Which without the play all feature, made it a bit awkward, as after each design, you kept being bumped back to the start of the chapter. Just a niggle, as in normal usage, I’m sure you would just go straight to the design you wanted to make, so for longer term use, it’s probably not a problem.
  • The ‘theme’ is played at the start of each chapter: This is normal enough, but it it’s quite loud and without the ‘Play all’ feature you will hear it a lot, which gets a bit wearing. It also plays at the same volume as the narration throughout the getting started section, which was distracting and made it difficult to focus on what was being said. It does not play through the main demonstrations though.

Build Quality

Fantastic! The lighting is superb as is the camera work and angles used. You can see clearly what is being demonstrated and the view is as if you are standing next to Gina, so you get almost the same view of the braid, that you would have, when you make it. This makes learning the techniques MUCH easier.

The demonstrations are superb as are the explanations of what is happening, Gina is a very calming, encouraging teacher.

Value for Money

Excellent! In each section there are lots of designs a total novice could achieve and later in each chapter the difficulty/complexity increases so still plenty to stretch your new abilities as your skills and confidence grow.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes. This is a fantastic DVD. Even though my own limited dexterity will hamper what I can achieve with this craft, I still enjoyed learning about how the braids are created and the history behind them. I highly recommend this DVD to anyone interested in making or learning more about Braiding and cord making.

Summing up

This is a fascinating subject. Gina has a wonderfully calming voice and walks you through everything step by step. Even if my lack of fine motor skills don’t let me braid very much, I have still highly enjoyed this DVD, to learn more designs and how they were used in the past. I highly recommend this DVD to everyone interested in using cords or braids with their creative projects. The projects would suit a wide age range and some of the simpler briads could also be achieved by younger children too. Great for jewellery making as well as for decoration.

I’m currently experimenting with alternative ways of holding thread/yarn, to see if I can find a work around for my poor dexterity. I’ll let you know how I get on and if I find any useful suggestions that may help others with dexterity problems.


Do follow the links below to find out more about Gina Barrett and where you can purchase this excellent DVD.

Many thanks to Gina for this DVD, it has been a joy to watch and I look forward to your continuation of the series.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂


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Welcome Back

In today’s post I would like to introduce our new Featured Artist, a few days early. Our Featured Artist of the month for June 2012 is:

Gina Barrett

Gina Barrett

Gina Barrett; Featured Artist of the month June 2012

I discovered her work thanks to her ‘Button It’ shows on Create and craft, and was fascinated by the intricate buttons she made from basic materials, sadly I’d never have the dexterity for making those, but more recently she has also show people how to create wonderful braids,  I adore anything historical, and would love to make some finger loop braids as book closures.

If you have seen Gina on TV and for those of you who haven’t yet found Gina Barrett, here is a little more about her and her amazing  work.

Who you are:

Gina: Gina Barrett, textile artist, illustrator, crafter

Where you are (which country you are based in)?

Gina: I live in the Midlands – (United Kingdom) but I am originally from   the US.

What you do:

Gina: Although I am an illustrator by trade, most of what I currently do   revolves around passementerie – making trimmings for clothing and interiors.   Part of this involves a range of DVD (which are still being made) showing   step-by-step the techniques involved in this discipline. I also do specialist   commission work for costumiers, theatre and film.  On ‘rest’ days, I like   to dabble in sewing and mixed media projects

What got you started in your creative journey?

Gina: I have always wanted to be an ‘artist’ – when I was little I made   books so that I could illustrate the stories! This was always paired with a   fascination for costume, (I had toyed with the idea of becoming a costumier)   and my journey took many paths in the beginning, including   historical illustration. In studying costume, I became fascinated by the   detail – which led to learning how these wonderful trimmings were made.   Initially my study was all about medieval trimmings, and in particular weaving   narrow wares (ribbons) and making tassels and braids. This expanded into   learning as many techniques as I can. I am still learning, and hope to always   learn.

What inspires you:

Gina: History, colour, skilled workmanship, historic portraiture.

18th Century Tassels. Before and after. Restored by Gina Barrett

18th Century Tassels. Before and after. Restored by Gina Barrett

Gina: The image is of a pair of 18th Century tassels that I restored for a stately home – one after the  restoration, one before

If money,time and obligations were no object, what you would most like to do?

Gina: Spend time studying museum collections of passementerie items first hand, buy examples at auction to study, and just make…

What do you enjoy most about your creative work/life?

Gina: Working for myself. It is full of stresses (and they aren’t always   great!) but the satisfaction of being able to devote time to create is a   wonderful thing, and I am very lucky that I can do this. I am also learning that I am really enjoying teaching/sharing the techniques, both through writing articles and books, and trough making the dvd’s. Showing others how to do something that I had to figure out without help is very satisfying.


To find out more about Gina Barrett and her work, please visit her blog and website, details below.

Gina: My website is www.gina-b.co.uk where you’ll find links to  my blog, Facebook and twitter

Thank you Gina Barrett for being our Featured Artist of the Month for June 2012. Do visit her site soon to see more of her wonderful pieces, her DVDs are available from her website and also on Create and Craft.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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