Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bad Passwords Dress

When I'm not blogging about crafting, I actually run another blog for scientists on managing research data. Recently, I've written about anonymization, good null values, and backups, but it's passwords that I really want to talk about today. You see, I'm mildly obsessed with bad (read: all-to-common/easy-to-guess) passwords. It started this spring when I wrote a post on strong passwords but became a full out obsession when I saw this tweet:

The dress in question was made by security researcher and professor Lorrie Cranor. She's made both a dress and a quilt based on the most common passwords from a 2009 breach of the gaming site RockYou. More importantly, she made the fabric available via Spoonflower. You can probably guess where this is going next.

I made a bad password dress! I used the large, clean version of Lorrie's fabric and had it printed on cotton poplin. For the pattern, I went with a shift dress, Colette Laurel, to avoid breaking up the pattern with seam lines. The result is what you see here.

A couple notes on the project itself. First, I'm not too crazy about Spoonflower's cotton poplin. It will work fine for the dress but is a bit stiff overall. I doubt I'll order it again. Another note concerns Laurel. It's a great pattern from one of my favorite designers but, simply put, shift dresses aren't all that flattering on me. I still think it's the right style for this fabric, but the pattern will probably move to the "won't make again" pile. Finally, I want to state that my sewing machine's invisible zipper foot is officially awesome.

Overall, I am very happy with the dress for the sheer nerdiness of it all. It may not be the most flattering thing in my closet, but I have a feeling it's going to become a conference-wear staple.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Mending By Machine

I feel like all I've been doing on this blog since April is gushing over my new sewing machine, but seriously guys, my Janome is awesome! I played with another new-to-me feature recently - the mending stitch - and was again highly pleased with the results.

I experimented with machine mending on a dress with an L-shape rip in the button band. The mending process itself was really simple: iron a square of interfacing onto the back of the rip then run the mending stitch over the rip to stabilize the area. Honestly, the hardest part was sewing the button back on.

I'm excited to add machine mending to my make-do-and-mend repertoire - it's just another bonus of finally using 21st century sewing technology!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Passel of Patterns

I come from a family of makers, one of whom is my maternal grandmother. She's wonderful and a great maker. Not only have I been the lucky recipient of several of her knitting and sewing projects over the years but more recently she gifted me a pile of her old sewing patterns. Believe me, I was very excited to receive two boxes full of sewing patterns in a range of styles and sizes, baby to adult.

The hard part of this whole thing is figuring out where to start with all of this goodness! Thankfully, one pattern caught my eye: Simplicity 7449. Simplicity has put out several patterns with this number over the years and I believe that this particular one is from the 1980's.

I admit that part of my reason for choosing this pattern is because I stumbled upon this Sunnyside Twilight Buttercup fabric while shopping for fabric for another project. The Sunnyside fabric immediately jumped into my mind as something that would look lovely for the yoke of a shirt. I, at least, think it turned out well for this.

The top was pretty simple to put together, as it uses Dolman sleeves - meaning sleeves are done with the general shape of the front and back pieces instead of the normal procedure of setting in the sleeves. I also finished the neckline with bias tape which, besides being simple, is quickly becoming a favorite technique for finishing.

I did add a few other special touches to the top including psuedo-flat felled sleeves. I meant to make french seams but got my fabric pieces backwards. Oops. Making the seams look flat felled was the best compromise to this error. The other thing I did was use one of my sewing machine's decorative stitches to add a little heart to the bottom right hem. Between these small details and my mastery of the basics, my sewing is definitely improving and I'm certainly taking more pride in it!

Happily, I finished this project in time to pack it for my summer vacation - a family trip to Germany! It was a wonderful adventure for me, my husband and my in-laws, though I still have SO MANY photos to go through. One of them is this one below. I could not resist taking a photo of my new shirt next to one of Germany's most famous attractions, Neuschwanstein Castle.

So there you have it, a pile of patterns, a new handsewn top, and a family adventure. It's been a very exciting month.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spin Spin

I'm in the Start All The Things phase of crafting and, in an effort to not get overwhelmed, I'm trying to clear out a bunch of the works in progress hanging around my craft room. One such project was this braid of fiber, half spun up on my spinning wheel.

The fiber comes from Sheepish Creations, whose fiber I've spun up on several previous occasions. It's such a cheery fiber, though not in my normal color palette, so I suspect it will end up as babywear. Any pattern ideas for 140 yards of worsted weight?

Of course, finishing this skein of handspun only makes me want to start spinning more fiber. Not exactly the point of finishing this spinning, but I won't say no to more crafting mojo.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Variations On A Theme

Sewing is continuing apace at casa BrineyDeep, though I'm mostly working on some small items. First on the list was fixing my bucket hat from last month.

I fixed the hat by unpicking the crown-band seam and sewing a new seam with a deeper seam allowance. This took in a lot of the extra depth from the crown, but it also made it so that I was putting a seam into a place that had not been sewn over before. Sewing on "fresh" fabric is really important because even one seam weakens the laminated cotton.

I have about 1/2 yard of this fabric left, but no immediate plans to use it. It's a tricky fabric to work with, so it's just going to wait in my stash until the right project comes along.

In other sewing news, I made another patchwork bag. This one is a little bigger than the previous one, as I used these 3.5" Riley Blake fabric squares instead of a 2.5" Moda mini charm pack. I'm totally fine with the change of size because I adore this fabric, particularly the crown print on the lining.

Thankfully, I have lots of projects on my to-sew list. Otherwise, I could easily become obsessed with sewing charm pack bags. They're just too fun, quick, and adorable!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I love making things for other people. The only downside is that I can't blog about them for a while. Which means that you're only now seeing the very first thing I sewed on my new sewing machine: this little monster plush I whipped up for my niece/goddaughter.

I was actually in the middle of making this plushie when I discovered that my old sewing machine died. Not a fun way to make that discovery, when you're full of excitement about making a cute project. But this little guy did turn out nicely on my new machine.

I just love his little monster face and am coming to enjoy the fact that his arms aren't quite level with each other (oops). It gives him some character, right?

All-in-all, not a bad use of some leftover fleece and a stab at pattern drafting. I think I need one to cuddle up with myself.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Greater Good

I recently asked The Husband what his favorite movie is, to which he replied, "I don't know. Probably Hot Fuzz." This answer excited me - not just because I also love that movie - but because I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to make him one of the cross stitch designs from the Etsy shop weelittlestitches and, happily, the shop has an awesome Hot Fuzz pattern.

After a little secret crafting, Husband now has a cool Hot Fuzz cross stitch hanging out on his computer desk. It's pretty adorable (and definitely makes me want to watch that movie again).