Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A new dress

Wow, no posts in a month? I suck.

No, I'm just busy. For one, I started a new job. A good job! I'm a designer now for a home magazine here in town. I'm so much happier here already than I have been at any other of my jobs here in Vegas. It feels like the job I was destined for, and has given me a sense of content-ness (if that's a word).

My latest creation is a dress made from a) a jersey remnant I found at Joann, and b) an old R.E.M. t-shirt my friend Joe had given me. The results came out really well, but I haven't worn it yet! I'm trying to figure out whether it's work appropriate. For my job, it probably would be.

I used Simplicity 2942. It's a Project Runway pattern, designed for juniors, and I went by my bust measurement to figure out the sizing. That's really the only part that needs to fit, the rest is loose and flowy. The pattern is pretty easy to follow, too. Other PR patterns I've seen have seemed harder to follow because of how many different elements are included but this went together very smoothly. The hardest part was deciding which parts of the t-shirt would be best for the different pattern pieces.

Closeup of the bodice:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm Joining

Under normal circumstances, I am an AVID shopper. H&M, American Apparel, Marshall's, Target, it's all fair game as far as I'm concerned. But being unemployed for nearly a month SUCKED without unemployment checks or a freelance gig, which allowed me to continue job hunting for 3 months last Summer without resorting to working retail. So I've decided to take the 2 month pledge at Wardrobe Refashion.

Which means that I am promising not to buy any new pre-made garments. No buying any clothes unless I need them for sports (like a derby uniform or something), or work (I'm going to try and make some cute new work clothes), or unless I buy them from a second hand or thrift store...and I do get one get out of jail free card if I'm bad. And I probably will be.

Let the re-fashioning begin!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wendy & I are like THIS

Can we pause for a moment and reflect on the awesomeness that is Built by Wendy?

Who else runs a successful clothing company, yet tells you exactly how she goes about making them? And then says "Oh here's the patterns to half my Spring line, by the way." My hero!

Plus her designs are so wearable. Other than that skirt I made from her book which was too small for me (even had I made the largest size, I still think it would have been too tight - yikes!), I've worn everything countless times. But there have never been here they are.

This I sewed last week. It began as an oversized shirt I picked up from Goodwill. I wanted to experiment with the basic crew neck pattern from Sew U: Home Stretch, but didn't want to ruin expensive knit fabric or a shirt I really liked. This is the size small, and I had to size it down a bit from that even to get the fit I wanted. The purple ribbing I found at Goodwill last summer added a nice touch.

Simplicity 3692
I sewed this last Summer when I didn't have a job. The Kiss shirt was originally Joe Lawler's who is awesome and gave me a shitload of his old shirts (thanks Joe!)...the red/black striped knit is from a shirt I found at, where else, Goodwill! I wear this shirt all the time, and it has gotten a lot of attention over the year, especially at derby practices.

Simplicity 3694
I sewed this when I was jobless last Summer as well. The checked fabric was $1/yard Walmart special, and the blue was some cheap broadcloth. I believe I sewed the 2nd from the smallest size. I really love it, but haven't had much of a reason to wear it since it is hawt as bawls here in Vegas :)
One word of warning though - the hood looks REDONK. Seriously. Way too small!

Simplicity 3835
I originally bought this pattern (waaaay before I knew enough to sew a garment) to make the mini dress with 3/4 length sleeves, then saw the genius that is View C - short sleeved, elastic neck/arm openings, loose fitting, just brilliant. The first time I wore it out I got 2 compliments, I took that as a sign that I was onto something with this Built by Wendy stuff. And yes, I sewed this also during the unemployed Summer of '07. Heh.

Oh and by the way, there are 2 new Summer Built by Wendy patterns...I'm DYING to buy them but Joann wasn't carrying them when I stopped by on Monday with that swank $25 gift card from Berkleigh's mom.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The weekend of Heidi and airports

Saturday morning I got to see my sister for the first time since February. It's funny, I've so far felt like we don't live a thousand miles apart because of how much we talk - in fact I feel that way about all of my friends and family, except for the fact that we don't hang out, which does suck, I miss having people over for dinners and booze-fueled reality TV nights.

There was so much we wanted to do in the span of a weekend. one thing both Heidi and George really wanted to see was Red Rock Canyon. We brought Bowie along, but the excitement of his new surroundings and the heat proved to be a little much for him, after 15 minutes he was literally hyperventilating so we all stayed in the Jeep after that.

That was really the only action George got in on, he spent most of his Saturday getting ready for London...which left Heidi & I to do things he wouldn't be into, like going shopping and walking the strip. We did touristy stuff like go see the Bodies Exhibit at Tropicana and Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden at the Mirage. Can I have a dolphin? Those fuckers are so cute, I can see Bowie and a dolphin swimming around playing in my mind and it brings a tear to my eye.

So this week I'm flying solo. I took George to the airport Sunday morning, then drove Heidi to the airport Monday. I feel very well acquainted with the Las Vegas airport. Did I mention I dropped George's parents off there last Wednesday as well?

This has made me a bit of a hermit. Between the $4 gas prices, no job, and dwindling cash supply I've only been leaving the house to go get coffee and for practice. Though I do want to spend some time at the library today, and go to the Knit Las Vegas meetup tonight. I'm craving me some interaction that doesn't involve 'doggie talking' to Bowie. Oh and I hear that there's wine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My ass is on the internet now...Also, I got fired

I present to you, Mon Petit Chou:

I'm generally pretty modest (excluding when I get drunk and there is a body of water nearby), but I'm just so damn proud of these. Photographing them on a table or hanging them up or whatnot just wouldn't show how well they hug the booty, or how cute the scalloped edges look. No, they had to be worn. They triumphed over becoming another UFO in my knitting stash, where they've been for the past, um, YEAR.

And now that I've worn them around for a few hours, I will say that they will get minimal wear. I think they would be perfect in the Fall under skirts, as they're heavier than the undergarments we are all used to wearing. Or perhaps if I ever become a burlesque performer.

Which I may soon be seeking out, because as I already mentioned in the title, I did get fired yesterday. After a week of my boss sending me home for half days, and seeing the stack of poorly hidden resumes on his desk, I knew something was afoot. Plus, he was being meaner than usual. I mean, he is already a rude and mean motherfucker but he was really laying it on me. So I started being rude back. Then yesterday he told me that 'he really didn't think that I knew what I was doing' (psh please, the only thing about the position that really baffled me was HIM and his constant mood swings) and that 'I should start looking for another job'. Dick.

The truth is, he wanted a submissive woman to never question his terrible taste in fonts, color, and layout, agree with his theory that global warming is bullshit and ooh and ahh over his Hummer, buy him coffee cake at the bakery that he drives past 5 times each day himself, and call him every Monday morning and remind him to take his garbage out.

I'm over it.

Anybody know of any job openings?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

So Here I Am

It has been brought to my attention by somebody who I did not know even knew about my blog that I have not blogged in a while. Oh snap.

So here we go. I've gotten all settled in here at Las Vegas. Except for my craft room. It's still boxes and garbage bags. But I hope to fix that soon so I can get down to business with my sewing projects.

I found employment my 4th day here as a designer at a printing company. The eeeety-beeety teeniest printing company ever that consists of the owner, the press man and myself. I received one week of training, and I still haven't got a lot of it down. I'll say that the owner is a pretty difficult man to work for, and has a reputation around town for that, however he is paying me more than most places would so I am taking that in stride. At least once a day I'd like to tell him where to shove it, but golly I keep reminding myself that he's the boss and since he is a swinging bachelor and also a senior citizen he loves to stay out late all nights of the week dancing and come into work very late in the morning (or early afternoon) and that makes it very bearable.

Also on my 4th day here, I joined the Sin City Rollergirls. I had a lot of anxiety about this, as their league is old freaking school and a lot of girls have been skating far longer than any girls on the Iowa league, and definitely myself. But most of the girls have been so nice, and while some of them can skate circles around me (or send me flying across the track with one of their hits), the rest are at my level or even newer. I'm not quite as fast as their jammers yet but I'm hoping to change that. I was drafted last week to a team that shall remain nameless until our May 10th bout.

And now for knitting! I knitted a whole Everlasting Bagstopper on the drive here. I started a 2nd, which I've kept in my truck and work on while I sit in traffic during my commute. The traffic here is okay usually but can get insane and sucky. And I've found myself caught with a whole bunch of random skeins of worsted weight wool blends in a desert climate, so I decided to start knitting sampler squares out of it in hopes that one day I'll have enough for an afghan. Yeah, you laugh, I'll bet.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Shedir, originally uploaded by heatherXXLL.

I found it! Man, is this hat awesome. Don't think I'd want to knit another one, as it took 2 months from me, but boy do I love it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I missed iPod Monday last night

...for the last time. 3rd anniversary, I wasn't there. I just got too stressed out about my portfolio! Last Spring I had an interview at one of the top design firms in Des Moines. Very small staff, highly highly creative, and out of my league. The owner and I share a couple of mutual friends though, so he was very helpful and took me through each piece and told me how it could be better. It's taken me almost a year but I'm working on making these changes as I can. One thing that's helped? MY MACBOOK!!!

Anyway, I spent the evening photographing illustrations from school that I had forgotten about. One thing I was told was that having a random vector image was fine but there wasn't much wow factor involved. He suggested that I lay them out on a page together to display.

So here are some of the fruits of my labor, altogether. I feel like the layout was a little rushed but it's getting down to the wire. Also, there are 4 self portraits. I feel vain. It makes me want to hone my skills even further!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I had to buy instead.

With Mission: Relocation underway, I have my first interview scheduled for this Friday. GULP. I haven't needed to look professional since...erm...well nearly two years ago. And I feel so much pressure, granted this isn't for a graphic designer position (production artist), but I really want to look polished and stand out.

Easier said than done. First stop: Banana. I notice how pants are $100 and up. Since when is this the going rate for nice pants??? Holy crap. Lotsa cute stuff, just so much money.

Hmm, let's go to the Gap....geez, everything looks so rumpled and frumpy. Nothing looks polished or sophisticated. Crap.

Umm, how about Express?
Ugh, this is what I saw girls wearing when I shot douchebag bars for Juice! Hmm, their editor pants are okay, but $80? Why spend $80 on a pair of okay-pants when I can buy those pants I REALLY like at Banana for $20 more? How is it that that makes buying $100 pants seem like the rational and smart choice?

So now I'm thoroughly stressed. I leave the mall without buying anything while reprimanding myself, this was my only opportunity to go shopping and I got cold feet and blew it. But I go get my haircut and that fixes my appearance from the shoulders up. A couple of days later, I hit Target. For 22.99 I found a pair of grey pants that were strikingly similar to the ones at Express. Works for me! And thanks to my sister, who picked me up a green cardigan today from J.Crew (my only big purchase), I have a feeling I'll be looking a little something like this:

Smart, right? It's making me wish that my portfolio has the same envelope-style flap, but oh well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What I'll be buying when I get pizzaid.

Thanks to my wonderful new Mighty Mouse and the energy bill, I can't make any real purchases for the next couple of days. But it's cool - really - because I'm really doing a very good job of being less of a consumer. Oh, I still have my seasonal splurges at American Apparel and hopefully buying an item or two from Target doesn't count, but seriously I've become so much less focused on labels and trends and can you believe I ran out of MAC foundation like 3 weeks ago and I STILL haven't gone to the mall for a refill? I'm seriously considering just finding a similar shade at Target. AAAND I haven't had a haircut since JUNE!!!! (this coming from a girl who has a serious haircut fetish)...I really want to grow it out for the first time since I was 13 :)

But these t-shirts, oh! They just make me wanna spend. And I think I will, because when can you ever accumulate too many t-shirts?
Oh Threadless, how I love thee! You saved my ass this Christmas with your $10 t-shirt sale when I ran out of gift ideas and my family loved me for it. Maybe this is karma's way of paying me back for getting them awesome gifts from your store. A sweet ass sweet Lorem Ipsum t-shirt. You bet I'm going to be submitting a photo of me wearing this (with my Lorem Ipsum tattoo showing no doubt) to their website. Yeah!

Um, hi. This is me. Note the hat; every year I knit a hat then wear it ALL winter. Granted, I'm trying to grow my hair out as I already mentioned so it looks like crap but aren't hats just fun anyway? Same with the scarf. I wear them and knit them on the regular. I don't care if the cartoon is mocking the knitters who knit to be subversive. It might be. Then again, it might not be. I just like it. Plus Natalie Dee has kind of become my hero recently.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Summer Dress Fever (I Gots It)

Maybe it's cabin fever or the upcoming move to a warmer climate or just the fact that I have NO time to sew, so OF COURSE all I can think about are freakin summer dresses. There's just something about them, cotton is so fun to sew with and when you wear a handmade dress people notice and give you props. I'm sad that there are no new Built By Wendy patterns out but I'm remaining hopeful for the Summer line because she has another book coming out in May. Since derby practice is cancelled tonight, I'm hitting up Hobby Lobby to buy these.

Yeah, okay, I ALREADY BOUGHT THIS ONE. Geez. But isn't it cute!? Seriously, I could make this tonight and wear it tomorrow over my skinny jeans and boots and it would look just as appropriate as if I made it in lightweight cotton in July. It's the only Project Runway pattern I was taken with, some of the other ones are cute but not as much my style.

I know this is from last year but it took me that long to notice it. For shame! It's so cute! View B looks very work-appropriate, while C is all like, 'here I am, chillin, looking cute'. Not so fond of A. I think it's the sleeves.

Now THIS is kooky - but in a good way. I really can't say for sure that I'll make this. But it's one of those patterns I'll keep looking at until I buy.

Those in the know know that last year I made Vogue 8380 THREE times last Summer. THIS could be that dress, in 2008. Because it's all loves.

Oh! This dress delights me. The idea of tromping around on a hot day wearing this excites me to no end. I have some fabric ideas in mind, too....we'll see.

First Website Design: It's Live!

Here's a story of how Heather designed her very first for-real website for the Mid Iowa Rollers.

Once upon a time, Heather joined a roller derby team called the Mid Iowa Rollers. They were very sad because they had the shittiest webpage ever. Heather's friend, Berkleigh, works on websites for a living and offered to build them one for free! But she needed help with the site design. So Heather got right to work, gave her design to Berkleigh who in turn, built the website. Then it went live! Both Heather and Berkleigh had a new project to put in their portfolios.

The End!

Holy crap I got tattoo-ed

I've never wanted a tattoo. I remember when I was 16, some of my friends went to Chuck's in Ottumwa (who would give the ladies ink for free if you were topless) with "notes from mom" giving their permission, and got some awesome tattoos - you know, the kind that are badASS when you're a teenager but you regret - fast. They all got grounded and I was left going to the Homecoming dance alone that year. When I was growing up, tattoos were done locally and boy were they trashy. Who knows, maybe the artists were actually spectacular BUT their clientele was lowbrow? It also didn't help that I grew up with a family who talked as though people who had them were dirty and had loose morals.

It wasn't until I went to California to Coachella Festival last Spring that I caught the tattoo bug. All these girls had fantastic work done, and it didn't look trashy at all to me! They were all beautiful and fabulous, and I started thinking about what I wanted done.

None of my friends have any, mind you. Oh, I guess one of my friends has the tiniest bug or flower or SOMETHING by her bikini line, but you can't even see it unless she's drunk and takes off her clothes to show you! Honestly, does that even count? I knew whatever I got, I'd want to FLAUNT it. But just what would I feel comfortable flaunting for the rest of my life? I'm pretty fickle and my tastes change regularly. Joining roller derby didn't help. I was just asking for it, and when they organized a tattoo party I was IN.

Drumroll please...

It's perfect for me. My friends have all complimented it, non-designers are bewildered by it ("who's Lorem?"), and it looks so cute peeking out under a t-shirt. A couple of designers have asked me why I didn't choose a proper typeface for it, but damn it, I just wanted it to look like a tattoo, not so darn pretentious-like. Plus I know that even if I decide to change careers, graphic design is a passion I will keep for the rest of my life. And that's what I want my tattoos to represent; my passions in life. But oh, it looks so lonely all by itself on my arm...I think it needs a friend... :)