tiistai 30. joulukuuta 2014

Let's Make... Simple Glove Mod

Christmas came and went, and as usual, Santa brought the "this isn't really Me"-present. 
I got a pair of black leather gloves. Warm, practical, but not too Goth. Naturally, I thanked the giver of the gift (my parents), and contemplated in silence. 
What can one do to a pair of gloves? 

Olipa kerran vieraan tuntuinen joululahja. Mustat, lämpimät ja käytännölliset nahkaiset hansikkaat. Hyvin tavalliset, eivät alkuunkaan Minun näköiseni. Luonnollisesti kiitin lahjan antajaa, ja tuumasin hiljaa mielessäni mitä hansikkaille tekisin. 

I didn't want to go for anything too drastic. I want Mom and Dad to see I do appreciate the gift. Even if it needed a bit of modding. 
So I dug deep into my stash, and found a handful of star-shaped studs. 

En halunnut muutoksesta kovin tyrmäävää. Toki lahjan antajan, vanhempieni, siis, tulee nähdä, että hansikkaat pääsivät käyttöön. Tuunauksen jälkeen, odotetusti, kai nuo minut jo tuntevat. Varastosta löytyi tykötarpeiksi kourallinen tähtiniittejä. 

I tried various placement ideas, and settled for a asymmetric style. Left glove got three stars, right one five. Gok Wan said that in fashion, an odd number of details always looks best. I agree with that bit of advice. Odd numbers are more interesting, and help to create a more striking effect. 

Mallasin moneen kohtaan, ja päädyin epäsymmetriseen asetelmaan. Gok Wan sanoi joskus, että pariton määrä yksityiskohtia näyttää aina paremmalta. Vasen käsine sai kolme tähteä, oikea viisi. 

Applying studs to leather was no picnic. The material was persistent, and gloves, given their small size, are difficult to work with. I eased the process along by piercing the leather with a thick needle. Which you can almost see, camouflaged in the tiles... 

Niitit ja nahka eivät ole ihan se helpoin yhdistelmä. Materiaali oli sitkeää, ja pienikokoisten hansikkaiden kanssa työskentely hankalaa. Pistelin nahkaan reiät neulalla, joka melkein erottuu lattiasta... 

The alteration process took about an hour, and resulted in a pair of gloves I will enjoy wearing. Sometimes, it takes very little to salvage an odd present. 

Muokkausprosessi vei tunnin verran aikaan, ja sen ansiosta hansikkaat ovat nyt kotoisamman tuntuiset. Joskus pienikin muutos riittää. 

 Until next time. 
Have a magical New Year! 

tiistai 16. joulukuuta 2014

Tank Slippers

Once upon a time, a friend posted a picture on facebook, asking if someone would like to make him the item in the pic. 
Naturally, after two days of "can I?", yours truly accepted the job. 

The item in question was a pair of tank slippers. 

I enjoy a challenge. Problem cracking is one of the things that makes my job rewarding. Also, getting to make something new and different is what makes me thrive. 
I bear a faulty gene. It's called the "do first, think later"-gene. 
Upon accepting the job (and its twin), I had absolutely no idea how to set about, what to do, when, and how. 
Luckily, I also possess a trait common to most Finns. When faced with a challenge, we tackle it, surmount it, and overcome it. 

So, without further ado, ta-dah! 

Olipa kerran kaveri, joka postasi kuvan facebookiin kysyen josko joku tekisi hänelle kuvan kapistuksen. Parin päivän tuumauksen jälkeen lupasin. Kyseessä olivat pahamaineiset tankkitohvelit.
Myönnän omaavani viallisen geenin, jonka ansiosta hankkiudun jatkuvasti hankaluuksiin. Geenin nimi on "tee ensin, tuumaa myöhemmin". Onneksi olen tasapainottavasti sinnikäs.
Toisinsanoin, osaan hakata otsalla kiviseinää kunnes pääsen läpi. 

There's a crochet pattern for Panzer tank slippers, but after reading the comments and googling about a bit, I decided not to bother with it. I mean, how hard can it be to make a pair of slippers? Or two? 
Turns out, quite hard. Had to think a LOT. 

Tankkitohveleihin on virkkausohje. Kommentteja lueskeltuani päätin olla ostamatta. Google jeesasi jonkinverran. Ajattelin, ettei tohveleiden virkkaaminen nyt niin vaikeaa voi olla, oon sentään ammattilainen.
Oli kyllä vähän haastavaa. Piti tuumata tosissaan. 

The slippers are made with 100% cotton yarn. I used mystery fabric to sew the lining, and filled it with polyester fibre. These babies are warm. 

Tohvelit on virkattu puuvillalangasta. Sisus on ommeltu mysteerikankaasta, ja täytetty polyestervanulla. Näissä ei varpaat palele. 

During the time it took me to make these, I couldn't help but wonder if the slippers would ever get done. The amount of bits and bobs surprised me, but after three weeks of crocheting, thinking, and sewing, they were done. 

Tekoprosessin aikana tuli väkisinkin mieleen, jotta tuleekohan tästä nyt yhtään mitään. Oli hirmuisesti pieniä osasia. Kolmisen viikkoa sain ährätä, mutta valmista tuli. Piru vie, kuten lähiseudun kirjakaupan setä tykkää sanoa. 

And of course I made two pairs. 
Both of these were a custom order, and I won't be making any more of tank slippers. Ever. It was fun, yes, but time consuming. 

Toki sain tehdä samanaikaisesti kaksi paria. Molemmat menivät omistajilleen, enkä minä aio tehdä enää yhtään paria. Kivaahan näiden kanssa oli, mutta aikaa ahmivat sen verran tehokkaasti, ettei pysty. 

Until next time. 

maanantai 24. marraskuuta 2014

So who is this Heather

I've been blogging a while, and since this one has gone through a series of demolishes, I figured it was about time I shared a bit of light as to who I am, and what I really do. 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? 

Cthulhu mask made for a friend
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. 

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

maanantai 1. syyskuuta 2014

Peasant Skirt - Variation

A few years back, I saw a girl at Amadeus (it's a rock bar in Tampere), and she was wearing the prettiest skirt ever. I asked her where she got it, and she told me she made it. 
A while later, we ended up in the same circle of friends, and as I saw the lovely skirt again, I decided I needed a similar one. 

7 meters of tulle, three meters of cotton, and a whole lot of ruching later, I got my skirt. 
What better place to model it than the forest. 

I admit, this was probably not my brightest idea... heels and tulle don't really go together with tree branches and moss. 

The skirt is a pretty basic peasant skirt, only I used a lot of fabric. I sewed the tulle and the cotton beneath it separately to be able to mix and match layers. A red petticoat under black tulle might look nice, and a braver person could also pair the see-through skirt with micro shorts or a mini skirt. 

The bustier is available as a paid pattern. It's one of my favourites because it's so comfortable to wear, very easy to maintain, and lovely to look at. 

Heathers grow wild in the forest near our house. I wanted a picture with my namesakes. Lying on the forest floor could have been more uncomfortable: I was lucky to find it dry! 

The tulle skirt isn't the most practical thing to wear, but it's a delightfully decadent garment. 

Living in the country is nice, but sometimes it, as you may see, makes me feel a bit out of place. With all the peace and quiet, it's easy to work, but it would be nice to have more opportunities to wear clothes like this. 

Until next time. 

tiistai 19. elokuuta 2014

Let's Make... Ruffle Shrug

What is a Gothic wardrobe without a ruffle shrug? 
Well, lacking a ruffle shrug, obviously. 
Let's make one. 

I had a piece of left over satin in electric blue. I wanted to use all of it for something beautiful. 
It took a long time for the satin to gather up enough courage to talk to me, and as it did, I made its wish come true straight away. 

I started by cutting the piece into two strips. The satin was 120 cm wide (47"), and I got two 27 cm (10.6") high pieces from it. An accessory like this can take a lot of fabric, so if your material is 150 cm (59") wide, don't hesitate using the entire width. 
When choosing fabric, make sure it's a bit stiffer. We'll want the ruffles to be rigid in order to create a dramatic silhouette. 

Olipa kerran palanen sinistä satiinia. Mokoma jäi ylitse, ja otti aikansa ennenkuin se uskalsi kertoa tahtovansa olla isona röyhelöbolero. Leikkasin siis kappaleen kahdeksi 27 cm korkeaksi kaitaleeksi. Satiini oli 120 cm leveää, mutta 150 senttinenkin kangas sopii asusteeseen mainiosti. Mitä enemmän, sen parempi. Muista vain varmistaa, että kangas on vähän tukevampaa. Dramaattinen siluetti vaatii röyhelöiden muodossapysymistä. 

Sew the short ends of fabric together with right sides facing so that you'll end up with a really wide tube. Using a serger will give you tidy seams, but if you only have a sewing machine to work with, I recommend making French seams. The wrong side of the shrug will remain partly visible, so we'll want it as tidy as possible. 

Ompele lyhyet päät yhteen. Sauma jää pilkottamaan nurjalta, joten varmista, että se jää mahdollisimman siistiksi. 

Finish both long edges of the tube. You can use lace to trim the shrug, or just do a rolled hem like I did. 
At this point, an abandoned piece of tulle raised its hesitant little voice, asking to join the party. 

Huolittele molemmat pitkät reunat. Itse käytin kiertopäärmettä, mutta voit viimeistellä reunat vaikkapa pitsillä.
Tässä kohtaahan yksinäinen tyllinpätkä tahtoi tulla mukaan leikkimään. 

Fold your fabric so that you have wrong sides facing. Pin the fold, making sure you get both layers (if you have two, you can also do this with just one layer, or add another one, like lace to create an even rufflier accessory) into it. 

Taita kangas (tai kankaat, kerroksiahan voi olla useampikin) niin, että nurjat puolet jäävät vastakkain, ja neulaa taite. 

Straight stitch through all layers of fabric, leaving 2½ cm (1") to be worked with. Also, remember to leave a gap somewhere. We'll use the channel to insert elastic. 

Ompele kuja parin sentin päähän reunasta. Jätä kuminauhaa varten aukko. 

Open the fabric, and press the channel down. Pin it, and sew through both sides of it to secure it to the fabrics. 

Avaa taitos, ja paina kuja kangasta vasten. Neulaa, ja ompele molemmista reunoista kiinni. Tässä vaiheessa ei enää tarvitse murehtia kuminauha-aukosta: se jäi yhteistyökykyisesti avoimeksi nurjalle. 

At this point, you don't have to worry about the gap any more. 
When you're done, insert an elastic band inside the channel, measure it to comfortable length, secure ends, and enjoy your wicked ruffles. 

Pujota kujaan kuminauha, mittaa mukavan tuntuiseksi, ompele päät yhteen, ja tadaa! ihania röyhelöitä. 

The finished garment will sit around your shoulders, and against the back of your head. 

Bolero asettuu olkapäiden ympärille ja takaraivoa vasten. 

Unlike most ruffle shrugs, this one has a ruffle also across the back. 

Useimmissa tämän mallisissa asusteissa on selässä nauhat tai pelkkä kuminauha. Tässä on röyhelöä selässäkin.
Boleron valmistuttua muistin etten tykkää sinisestä. Tämä jäi etsimään uutta kotia hintaan 30€ postareineen. 

After finishing my shrug, I remembered I have issues with blue. This one is for sale (30€, postage to Finland included), so if you want it, give me a holler! 

Until next time. 

maanantai 4. elokuuta 2014

Let's Make... Tuning up Turtlenecks

The basic turtleneck. 
Suffocating, constricting, impractical. 
But should you toss it just because the collar may be a bit off? 

I had two ordinary turtlenecks. Both were a perfect fit save for the itchy collar. So I decided to give them a makeover. I'll guide you through the process of modding two tops in two different ways, so prepare for a humongous post with loads of pics! 

I started from this. Two turtlenecks, both black, both from the flea market at the total cost of 3€. 

I started by removing the collars. The first one I cut off, shaping the neckline rounder. I opened the seam of the collar piece, and cut two inch wide strips from it. 

When modding collars on tops, I like to use the excess material for binding necklines. That way, the binding matches, and you don't have to throw so much out. 
Binding a basic O-neck is relatively easy: you take a long strip of fabric, fold it so that you have wrong sides facing, slap it on the right side of the neckline, and sew. 

If your neckline is wider than the original collar, you'll need to make seams on your strip. Align them with shoulder seams for a finished look. 

Fold the strip with wrong sides facing, and pin it on the right side of your neckline.

When working with elastic fabrics such as T-shirt jersey, always use your serger. That way, the elasticity of the fabric will remain in the seams. 

Turn the seam to the wrong side, and top stitch. 
All done. This is one easy way of getting rid of the irritating turtleneck, and salvaging a top for further wear.

I wanted the other top to be a bit different. I started by picking out the seam on the collar. Then, I again opened the collar to gain binding material. Only this time, I saved half of the collar to be re-attached. 
After all, turtlenecks can be fun, too. 

I shaped the neckline differently this time. In order to gain a keyhole neck, I cut out a teardrop-shaped piece, making sure I kept the original size of the neckline.

While I was at it, I cut thumbholes into the sleeves. To do this, put the top on, mark the place where your thumb joins to your hand, and cut a small hole below that mark into the sleeve.

I continued by binding the keyhole using the same method as before. 
After that, I made two button-loops. I measured a tight length to my new collar, and attached the loops. 

The collar is just a wide, folded strip of fabric. Attaching it was just like binding a neckline, only I had to be careful to get the ends tidy. 
After serging, I secured the ends of threads into the seams by hand. 

After adding buttons, the collar was done.

I wanted to bind the thumbholes, too, but it turned out a lot trickier than expected. The hole was rather small and the foot on my serger rather large. After a few pin-related injuries and many curses, I did it. 
It's difficult, but doable. I recommend using bias tape and a sewing machine for this. 

The entire process of modding two turtlenecks took me about three hours (photo-snapping and all), cost me about three euros, and resulted in two cool "new" tops to wear. 
Buying new isn't always the only way to go. Sometimes modding what you have can be more fun. 

Until next time. 

torstai 17. heinäkuuta 2014

Order: Customizing a Yellow Blazer

Once upon a time, there was a yellow blazer. I was asked to spruce it up a bit by adding a large shirt collar, and a hidden zipper to the side. The blazer was fully lined, which gave me a bit of a headache. In order to keep the inside as tidy as possible, I went inside the coat. 

Sain toteuttaa asiakkaalle jakun muutoksen. Keltaiseen jakkuun toivottiin suuri paitakaulus, ja piilotettu vetoketju sivulle. Lisäsimme suunnitelmaan vielä tehosteväriset raidat helmaan, hihansuihin, ja vetoketjun saumoja piilottamaan.
Jakku oli vuoritettu, minkä vuoksi menin suosiolla jakun ja vuorin väliin. Näin kauluksen istutus kävi helpoimmin. 

I started with installing the collar. I thought I'd taken photos of the process, but I couldn't find any. Luckily, we'll see the collar after a few photos. 

I continued by adding a strip of fabric to the hem. These stripes are only on the top layer. 

Luulin ottaneeni kauluksen teosta kuvia, mutta enpä löytänyt ainuttakaan. Onneksi kaulus näkyy seuraavissa kuvissa.
Ompelin jakun helmaan raidat keltakuvioisesta kankaasta. Nämä raidat ovat vain päällipuolella. 

Then, I sewed both sides of the zipper in place. Before I got to this step, I had to take a break: I didn't have any yellow thread! While shopping, I picked up something that I'll use for a Let's Make-post in the near future. 

Ompelin vetoketjun molemmat puoliskot paikoilleen. Ennen tätä askelta piti pitää taukoa: varastosta ei löytynytkään keltaista ompelulankaa. Ostosreissulta tarttui mukaan muutakin mukavaa, jota katsellaan myöhemmin Let's Make-osaston postauksessa. 

I used accent fabric to cover the edges of the zipper. Strips on both sides of the blazer ensured a tidy finished look. And were challenging to align! 

Kauluksen istutuksen yhteydessä ompelin jakkuun tehosteväriset kaitaleet molemmin puolin. Käytin niitä piilottamaan vetoketjun sauman. Nämä kaitaleet toistuvat jakun molemmin puolin, eikä niiden kohdistaminen ollut lainkaan haastavaa, mitenniin? 

 The cuffs got their stripes as well. These stripes are also only on the top layer. I had to leave stitching visible on the inside. Going in between the lining and the blazer would have been a bit on the pricey side. 

Hihansuutkin saivat omat kaitaleensa. Nämä ompelin vain päällipuolelle. Nurjalta ompeleet näkyvät, mutta hihan sisään meno olisi ollut jokseenkin hintava reissu. 

To make the blazer a bit more feminine, I added bows to the cuffs. They're sewn on by hand, and can easily be removed. 

Lisäsin hihansuihin rusetit antamaan naisellista ilmettä. Rusetit on ommeltu paikoilleen käsin, ja ne on helppo irrottaa. 

 The blazer turned out quite cute. I hope my client will like it as well. 

Jakun ilme muuttui aika tavalla. Toivottavasti asiakaskin on tyytyväinen. 

For next time, I promise a Let's Make-post. 
Until then.