Once upon a time, I had a basic satin corset. I made this a while back, wore it once, and found it boring. It sat in my closet for a long time, ashamed of itself, until I dug it out for a remake.
I tore out the binding and the bone channels. The corset had steel bones and a purple lining, but no front closure. Putting it on was slow (I usually take the laces off, put the corset on backwards, lace up, turn, and tighten) and the front felt a bit… well, flimsy. I liked the shape and construction, although the whole thing was a little on the loose side.

I had steel boning and black, stretchy satin stashed, along with a tube-ful of large buttons.

Since the corset was a little bit too big, I cut the front open, planning to do a simple button-up closure. As I placed buttons on one side of the corset to see what they’d look like, I decided they were too big to sit comfortably on just one side. So I tried a different approach.

Asymmetric buttoning is a bit of a pain to create: one needs to measure and re-measure carefully, but I managed to get the loops done with just two takes.

Starting the remake process, I thought I’d give the corset black bone channels. Rummaging through my stash, I ran into the remains of the purple lining, and thought what the hey, might as well give the thing a bit of colour.

At first, I thought I’d hide the channels in the front, but they looked too nice to conceal.
I ended up tucking in the satin, and leaving the purple channels out. I liked the contrast, and did the rest of the channels the same way.
Originally, the corset didn’t have a modesty flap. I undid a seam in the back, and added a flap. I’m still undecided on the whole concept of modesty flap, but trying things out never hurt. Much.
While sewing on the bone channels, I added stripes on both sides, and four little loops on one. The stripes bear no real purpose, but the loops are good for hanging chains from. Just in case one feels the need to get caught on every chair and door handle. Who knows, there might be a handsome Goth just waiting to bail a girl out.
I bound the corset with the black, elastic satin I originally planned to use for the bone channels. Although there’s a slight difference in shade, it works better than the purple fabric would have: an elastic binding gives much more than bias tape ever can, and feels better when worn.
The remake did wonders to a discarded corset, and I’m super-happy with the results. A bit of effort turned this from “so going into the bin” to my new favourite.

Until next time!

So Who Is This Heather

I’ve been blogging a while, and since I’m starting a fresh blog, I figured it was a good time to share a bit of light as to who I am, and what I really do. Some of you may have seen this post on Blogger… Writing the same things again seemed a bit funny, so I copy-pasted.
To make things simple for you and for me, I’ll go Q&A. I like to do this a lot when talking about my books, just to keep my ever wandering thoughts gathered. I have a tendency of drifting, see, and this forces me to behave.

So who is this Heather Wielding? 
outfit made for degree

I am a Finnish indie author, designer, seamstress, knit enthusiast, crochet addict. I write books, design clothing and accessories, and make sewing, knitting, and crochet patterns. I run a small business called Heather Wielding Designs. That’s why so few of my tutorials are free: I do this for a living, and need to pay bills.

Pretty much so, yes. I like to incorporate elements of dark fashion into my work, both in writing and design, but not all of my creations can be described as Gothic. I try to make simple, everyday clothes that bear a little bit of that sophisticated darkness, but can still be worn by anyone. The dark design elements are mainly seen on frills and ruffles, lacings and corset-shaped bodices that easily transform to elegant everyday wear.

How long have you done this? 
Mom taught me to sew when I was about six. She also taught me the basics of knitting and crocheting at that time. Most of what I know, though, I’ve learned through trial and error. I see something I’d like to make, and try until it comes out right. As I was starting a business, I went ahead and got a degree. In Finnish, it’s called Tekstiilialan ammattitutkinto, which translates to Higher qualification in textile. It’s one of those irritating degrees that won’t make you an artisan or whatever. Most times, you go to school for four years, and become a textile artisan. Then, you go to work for a few years, go back to school, and come out with the degree I have. Only I didn’t go to school for it, I learned the skills myself, and proved them to a board of teachers.

So to put it short, I’ve knit, crocheted, and sewed for thirty-one years. Which is a really long time, and makes me feel old.

Cthulhu mask made for a friend

Materials? We see most of your fabrics come from flea markets, eww!

The fashion industry is a wasteful thing. New lines are made four times a year, and what doesn’t get sold, ends up in the trash. I like to think I’m trying to make the world a better place through using up-cycled materials, such as discarded pullovers, or fabrics dumped on flea markets. Every piece of material used on knits and garments is washed and thoroughly cleaned. Sometimes, I buy clothes from flea markets, and turn them into something else. Most times, these items remain with me, and the process of modifying them is recorded into tutorials. Some of them are free, some of them cost a euro or two. I like to keep my products cheap, so anyone can afford to enjoy them.

How do you do your patterns?

My patterns are hand-drafted. Every line you see is hand drawn. Most pattern designers use computer software for this, but I prefer to draft patterns by hand. It allows me to see every curve in real size, to think and re-think every corner. When drafting on, say, illustrator, the room for error is really big. Drawing by hand eliminates most of that error-space.
After the pattern is drawn and tested, I scan, GIMP, and create a pdf complete with a fully illustrated sewing tutorial.

Model? Isn’t that you in all of the pictures? 

Yes, I model all of my designs. As a one-woman-small-business, it’s a bit impossible to hire a model for every shoot. So I decided to model for myself. You may wonder what that makes of the fit of the garments. Well. I’m a pretty standard size 34, so most of the samples I model are a pretty standard size 34. I try to take fit into careful consideration when designing, but naturally, each female form is a bit different. When buying a sewing pattern, one has to prepare oneself to modify it a bit for a perfect fit.
a rare editorial shot

Ready-made garments? We see you have those as well! 

Sometimes, I find a pretty fabric, turn it into a dress and a pattern, and then decide I don’t like it. Those items end up in the sales rack. Most of the ready-made garments are unique, one-of-a-kind, and have been modelled by yours truly. I also make things on order.

What’s your favourite kind or order?

coat modded for a client

I love it when a customer comes in with a garment and says: “make this prettier”. That gives me the opportunity to do what I do best: to salvage something old, and turn it into a unique garment. Modifying pieces of ready-to-wear clothing has always been my favourite thing. It allows me to design for a precise client, to add details that suit their personality, to alter a cut to flatter their form. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing a client leave with a big smile on their face. If I were rich, I’d do this just for that, for seeing that “she made me a pretty”-smile.

Heather Wielding