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Deconstruct by Heidi Wagner       Deconstruct by Heidi Wagner


Deconstruct by Heidi Wagner       Deconstruct by Heidi Wagner


Deconstruct by Heidi Wagner






Heidi Wagner, Colorado, USA (Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry)

IG: straitlaceddame


The Design

As humans, we have built dwellings and infrastructure for millennia, always innovating our approach to the materials and techniques with which we create and augment our physical spaces. Wood and stone make way for steel and concrete - materials which can be precisely manufactured to withstand the stress and strain that both we and the environment place on them. Fine-tuning these substances has allowed us to build increasingly lofty glass and metal structures that appear weightless despite their enormity.

These structures, standing tall with such straight-forward materials, are what inspire this corset dress. The details of construction are quite literally clear, and the most prominent visual aspect of the piece is the functionality of the materials that comprise it. All ornamentation is rejected, in favor of displaying the qualities of the steel and “glass”. It is not just a matter of revering the elements of the whole, but also the human mastery of those elements individually.

There is value in deconstructing and focusing on the components of any garment or building.

By stripping away the embellishments, we can truly appreciate the structure.


The Construction

The list of components that comprise this corset dress is quite short: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), spiral steels, size 00 grommets, and polyester thread. Not only are the materials minimal, but merely looking at the garment tells one everything they could wonder about the construction of it.

A single layer of transparent 20 gauge PVC makes up the entire body of corset dress, with the exception of the two layers that constitute the hindmost panels. Each stitch is 2.5mm long and made in a single run through the sewing machine, with the cream-colored thread being secured by hand-stitching at either end of the seam.

The entirely visible spiral steel bones are sealed into a channel created by the seam allowances between each panel. Due to the tackiness of the PVC, these bones were sewn into place, versus being slipped into the channels afterward.

Unlike most woven or knitted fabrics, PVC does not self-heal from pin pricks or needle marks. Ripping out seams and restitching, lockstitching, and backstitching can all create a weak point along the seamline. Therefore, I had only one real chance to get each stitch right. While unforgiving, this aspect of the material also encouraged me to pay even more attention to my stitching than usual, and to accept the little aberrations in my seams and simply move on.


What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

The true joy of taking part in this competition is the discovery of new skills and fascinations along the way.


This is really amazing, and you have executed it perfectly. Well done!
Ohhh this turned out SO WELL! It is truly amazing, and so cool to hear how it helped your sewing process. Well done!
Beautiful work! A great example for how something seemingly simple can be a feat in and of itself!
Such a clever take on theme. Its beautifully minimalist, well done!
kitty mortensen
Hats off to you- it is a tricky material- well done!
What a great interpretation of the theme!
This is a perfect example of how a clear and simple design can be most impactful. And respect for mastering such a difficult material and bringing it into such dramatic shapes. PVC isn't easy to work with, but you have clearly (pun intended ;)) mastered it.

Amazing job well done!!!:)
So sleek and shiny and modern! The very epitome of modern glass skyscapers, clean lines and beautiful patterning - the exposed metal spirals are just genius. Love it!
Wow Heidi, just wow. So flawlessly sleek, smooth and elegant. The fit is perfect, and I have so much respect for you working with such a difficult material. Love it!!!!
Martina Frank
What a brilliant idea- to make "glass" corset-dress! And you absolutely mastered the challenge of the only- one- chance! amazing work!
Hello Heidi, I love this corset dress. It really shows the basic elements of a corset in a very figure forming way. I posted it on my facebook page as I think more people should see it. I hope to see more work from you.
I love your decision to celebrate simplicity! Such clean and precise work and a beautiful silhouette make it perfectly interesting without the help of any extra frills or crown mouldings. :)
Such a sleek and stunning design - what a beautiful piece!
Ooooo I love an unadorned shapely corset dress and this is just incredible - you are the mistress of that super cinched hour-glass perfection Heidi.
Those shape is everything, I'm amazed by the result you achieved with such a difficult material, geniously.
It is incredible, as if the corset dress had just been molded onto your body with the bning as decoration. Very beautiful work.
The idea behind your corset dress is right outside of the box and I'm loving how you've interpreted this theme. Nothing to run and hide from, it's all laid bare and it looks a-maaaaze-ing!! The shape and the structure you have acheieved in such an unforgiving medium deserves to be recognised.
That shape! That silhouette! It is beautiful, I love the simplicity of it, and where you got your idea from. And it is so impeccably made <3 I don't know what to say, It is simply gorgeous!
WOW! Beautifully simple but the fabric must have driven you crazy! Love it :) x
What a gorgeous shaping you have made with very difficult materials it's an amazing piece.
The beautiful simplicity of the final corset dress is perhaps exactly opposite of the complexity of the execution. So well done and gorgeous!!
Gorgeous shape! Really well done
marloes dadswell
Whhaaaa, that shape!!!! That material leaves no room for error so very well done indeed!!
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