Pasties

The Making of One Eyed Cat - Part 4: the Pasties

I feel like I really stepped up my pastie game since making my last set (which you can read about here).  This set was made with better materials and overall has a much better finish.  So if you want to learn how I made these cute-as-a-button cat nose pasties, keep reading!

 

Photo by Joel Devereux

 

I made my first pair of pasties out of cardboard from a pasta box.  They were star-shaped (for a cowgirl-themed beginner burlesque routine) and covered with silver lame and plastic rhinestones.  After this I graduated to craft foam sheets, being the easiest way to make a quick pair of pasties for an end-of-term group routine.  The problem with craft foam pasties is that they aren't the sturdiest and will be ripped apart when you remove the tape.  Keeping this in mind, I decided when I made my pasties for my first solo that I would back the foam with buckram to protect it from tape removal.  Well, I couldn't find buckram so I ended up using a thick interfacing that frays, which I tried to abate by sealing the edges with nail glue (which I use to fix almost everything, including my overlocker).  

The finished pasties (see above) are pretty but not ideal.  The overlapped section of foam with the added crystals is thick.  So thick they look a little silly.  Don't get me wrong, it's not something you can see on stage, but looking at them makes me think that craft foam sheets really aren't the right material for a proper pair of pasties.  So when I went to make these pasties I wanted to make sure I used better materials.  

I've never had any luck buying buckram.  I'm usually met with puzzled looks when I ask the staff at Spotlight where I can find it.  So when I went to Lincraft and asked one of the staff where the buckram was, I was dubious when they said it was over with the interfacing.  But it was there! I was so excited! I finally had buckram to make pasties with!  

 

Super thick over lap in the last pair of pasties

Nice and thin overlap in the new pair of pasties

 

The next thing to do was create the design for the pastie base.  The easiest way to make a non-circular pastie is to start with a circle, make it into a pastie, and trim it to the shape you want.  I started with a paper circle slightly larger than my nipple which I overlapped as per normal, secured with sticky tape, then trimmed down to a cat nose shape.  I tried them on to check the coverage then altered the size of the starting circle and the shape of the cat nose until I was happy.  I then removed the tape and flattened out the pastie.  I traced this shape onto another piece of paper so that I could refine the design and make a smooth and neat template. 

Using this template I cut 2 layers of buckram for my pasties and a layer of vinyl.  Now that they are finished I think one layer of buckram would be enough.  I shaped and glued the layers of buckram then glued them to each other using craft glue.  I used my trusty pin curl clips to hold the overlapping buckram together while they were drying.  I also used pin curl clips to hold the 2 layers together while they dried.  I used 3 clips for this which not only held them together but also acted as a little tripod that kept them and any excess glue off the table.  The cat noses are pink so after the glue dried I painted them using an acrylic paint.  

 

Finished pasties with the pin curl clip 'tripod'

The vinyl covered inside of the pastie

 

The next thing to do was attach the whiskers!  I was fortunate enough to receive some glitter whiskers with the beautiful half-mask fascinator I bought from Pearls and Swine.  The whiskers are a flexible plastic covered in glitter.  I was sent whiskers in pink and black and opted for black as it would contrast the most with my skin and stand out more on stage.  I cut and attached the whiskers with a hot glue gun to the back fo the pasties.  I then attached the backing of the pastie, which is vinyl, to over the ends fo the whiskers and create a durable and smooth backing.  This I glued in place with craft glue and held in place with my trusty pin curl clips.  

 

Finished pastie

 

Finally, it was time for crystals.  I covered the pasties with a mix of rose, light rose and Crystal AB in ss12 and  ss16.  I glued the crystals on in lines radiating out from the centre using E6000.   I filled any spaces the best I could but with the base painted pink any little gaps are fine and not noticeable.  

 

Close up of pastie

 

The finished pasties are great and a definite step up from my last pair.  The only thing I'm not too sure about is the vinyl backing.  While it adds strength to the structure and is a smooth surface that won't be damaged by tape, it seems to be too smooth.  The tape I currently used seems to not want to stick to the pasties too well.  This combined with the fact that the whiskers are long and want to catch on thing means that I have lost a pastie on stage 1 out of the 3 times I have performed this act.  Maybe I need to change tapes or maybe I need to change to spirit gum?

 

Photo by Jacs Saffioti | Editing by Ruby Corvette

 

Anyway, I hope this post is helpful to stepping up your pastie game or at least gives you a few ideas for your next pair!  My next post will cover the final elements of the costume including the gorgeous half-mask fascinator from Pearls & Swine!

xo Margeaux

The Making of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' - Part 6: The Pasties

This is the end... Of this costume series at least.  And what better way to end then with the Swarovski covered, tassel twirling pasties!  I am especially proud of how pretty my pasties are and am more than happy to show you how I made them.  I will also include a few things I learnt about pastie making since completing these ones.

 
You'll be as happy as I look with your new sparkly twirling pasties!  Photo by Cameron Obscura | Taken at Naked Ostrich Burlesque

You'll be as happy as I look with your new sparkly twirling pasties!  Photo by Cameron Obscura | Taken at Naked Ostrich Burlesque

 

Pasties are often your final reveal and can create an opportunity for an extra gimmick or punchline or to engage in a little tassel twirling.  In my act I climax after I humping my largest powder puff across the stage - a move affectionately known as "Fucking the muppet" - but I wanted/needed a finale after this.  So tassel twirling it was!  I made my pasties with twirling in mind, but most designs are fine for adding tassels.

 
Photo by David Gatt | Taken at the Bombshells Ball produced by the Bombshell Burlesque Academy

Photo by David Gatt | Taken at the Bombshells Ball produced by the Bombshell Burlesque Academy

 

I did a fair bit of research on pastie designs before settling on my shape.  I didn't want regular circle pasties and wanted something a bit art deco to go with my vague forties theme.  I was inspired by these beautiful pasties made by Manuge et Toi and went with a star-shaped design.  My design is much more basic though and my pasties are nothing like the quality and beautiful perfection you get from Christine Manuge.

To make the pastie base I drew a circle (with a compass) that was the  diameter of my areola plus 1.5cm to account for the reduction in size when the pastie is formed.  To explain this I will show you how I make a regular circle pastie.  Step 1 is to measure across your areola.  Now depending on how pointy you want your pastie to be you need to add on a bit extra.  To create the pastie you need to make a cone shape out of a circle.  You do this by cutting a line from the outside to the centre of the circle then overlapping the 2 cut edges.  

 
 

How far you overlap the edges will determine how pointy the pastie will be.  In the first picture below I have overlapped the edges by 3cm.  For this level of overlap you need to add 0.5cm to the diameter  - that is, to make a 6.5cm diameter pastie with a slight point, you have to make a 7cm diameter cirlce.  In the second picture I have overlapped the edges by 6cm.  This resulted in a 5.5cm diameter extra pointy pastie from a 7cm circle.    There is probably some kind of mathematical formula for this, but in the meantime, just play around with a pastie cut out of paper until you get the coverage and pointy-ness that you require.  

For the pasties I made, I overlapped the edges by one star point.  This the easiest way to make a star-shaped pastie and the same way I make regular 5-pointed star pasties (except I start with a 6-pointed star).   I started with a circle then drew an 8-pointed star inside of it.  To do this I drew lines dividing the circle into 16 equally size segments.  I then marked 0.5cm from the circle on every second line then drew a line from this point to the point where the next line met the circle.  Et  voila, you have a 8-pointed star!  You can of course make the points deeper by measuring further along every second line if you wish. 

I then transferred the pattern to a sheet of craft foam.  I also transferred it onto a piece of heavy weight interfacing that I used in lieu of buckram, which I was unable to get.  I glued the 2 to each other then cut along one of the lines between 2 points, overlapped and glued in place with hot glue.  I used a pin curl clip to hold it in place while the glue set.  The reason I put the interfacing on the back is because I want to reuse these pasties many times and applying and removing double-sided tape (my preferred pastie attachment method) can result in some of the foam being ripped off when the tape is removed.  Also, the interfacing can fray, especially when tape is removed, so I sealed the edges with nail glue. This will not happen if you  use buckram, which is what I recommend you use.  

 
 

Using this method of construction does result in a ridge in the pastie.  It's not that big of a deal, but it would look better if it wasn't there.  The ridge is quite pronounced due to the thickness of the foam.  Looking back, I should have cut out one points and glued the edges together instead of overlapping then glued on the buckram backing to further secure the 2 edges together.  Overall, this is an OK way to make pasties but is far from the best.  What it is though is quick and easy, which may be exactly what you want at the time.

 
 

Next up was gluing on the crystals.  For maximum sparkle it's always a good idea to use a mix of colours and sizes of crystals.  For these pasties I used the same crystals I used on all the other costume elements:  ss16 and ss30  AAA hot fix  AB crystals from Bead, Trimming & Craft Co., and Swarovski ss12 Light Rose and ss16 Rose flat backs.  I find it best to determine a pattern before gluing.  I started with a pattern radiating from the centre to the points of the star.  I then filled in between the points with another pattern I mirrored on both sides.  One important thing to remember is to leave space in the centre for your tassel (if using). Once you've completed you patterns you can then go and fill in any spaces - which I did with the smaller crystals as well as some ss10 AAA hot fix Crystal.

Sidebar:  I have heard of people having issues gluing hot fix crystals.  I have only ever used hot fix crystals for my crystalling projects for the silly reason that when I buy my crystals I buy a mix of AAA and Swarovski.  Because the AAA only come in hot fix the guy I buy from assumes I want the Swarovski in hot fix too and I never think to tell him otherwise.  Anyway, I have never had an issue gluing hot fix.  I personally think that you just need to use more glue then you think you do.  I use E6000 glue (in a well ventilated room, with a fan on, and wearing a respirator).

Now for the tassels.  I bought the hugest tassels I could find, but not on purpose.  They just looked nicer than any other tassels I could find.  I bought them from the curtain section of Lincraft.  They are actually really good quality tassels that never crinkle or crease no matter how I store them and they twirl like a dream.  To improve the twirling though, I used fishing tackle.  This is something I learnt from Miss Burlesque Queensland 2016, Lenore Noire.  To maximise twirling you use fishing swivels to attach your tassels to your pasties.  Simply hand sew one end of the swivel onto the pastie then feed the tassel loop through the other end of the swivel and feed the tassel through the loop to secure.  The added bonus of this is that you can easily change the tassels on your pasties.  

 
 

The next piece of fishing tackle you need is sinkers.  If you flip over your tassel and find the centre, you can easily find a strand in the centre to thread a sinker or 2 onto.  You then secure them in place as close to the 'head' of the tassel as possible with a double knot or by tying the next strand to the strand you've threaded the sinker on to.  Adding extra weight to the tassel will improve you twirling immensely.  Fishing tackle can easily be purchased from Kmart as well as sports and camping stores.  

 
 

And that's it!  The only thing left to do is perfect your tassel twirling skills.  While I was developing my act I also took a tassel twirling class with Lenore Noire at the Bombshell Burlesque Academy and I was so glad I did.  Lenore is a great tassel twirler and teacher and I highly recommend taking one of her classes or doing a private lesson with her.  

So ends the Making of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'.  But don't be dismayed, I have just  started an intense 8 week period of costuming for my next solo act that I hope to debut at the next BB Le Buff's School of Performance CaBBaret on the 7th of October!!!  So stayed tuned for updates!

xo Margeaux