Introduction: How to Make Your Own Burlesque Pasties

With a recent revisit to carnival acts, the art of burlesque is making a *big* comeback worldwide. The tasteful and creative play of showing a lot yet exposing little was made popular in the 20s-40s by names like Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand (although the sassy striptease has been around for a lot longer!) Neo and Guerilla burlesque shows are popping up everywhere (unexpectedly in the latter case!) and there's no reason you can't be a part of it. While I'm not going to be able to help you with the dance steps I can certainly show you how to quickly and cheaply make your own high quality pasties to cover your *ahem* naughty bits!

Step 1: Supplies

about 8" x 8" of craft foam (I find black looks best for the fabrics I usually choose)


fabric of your choice

tassels/notions of your choice

grommets (you can buy these in the scrapbooking area of any craft store)

grommet smasher (find 'em right by the grommets)




Step 2: Cut & Sew Forms

I'm sure there is some mathematic equation that will tell you how to get a 3d cone form from a 2d nipple diameter. Barring discovery of this formula, guesstimate.

Take a circular template slightly larger than your nipple diameter and cut it out of the craft foam.

Cut a "Pac Man" shape out of the form. Be sure your first cut goes to the middle of your circle. If you want tassels cut a small portion out of the center for the grommets.

Hold the two sizes together to make a little hat shape. Check to see if it fits you. Trim as needed.

Sew the two sides together.

Make four of these. Two of them will be against your skin so take care that your seams are as smooth as possible (we'll refer to these pieces as the bottoms). The other two we're going to sew your fabric on (we'll call these the tops). The bottoms should be slightly smaller than the tops and don't need grommet holes.

Step 3: Sew Fabric & Notions

Cut a fabric swatch a little larger than your original circle. It should be large enough to fold over the underside to form a seam.

Cut a straight line from the outside to the middle of the fabric just as you did for the foam. Don't forget to also cut out your grommet hole.

Spread the tacky glue on the top.

Line up the center of the fabric with the center of the tops. Put a little glue where the fabric will overlap and press flat. Some fabric will allow the glue to bleed through but most of the time it will be invisible when it dries.

Fold a part of the fabric over to the underside and start sewing. I've found pleating the excess fabric before sewing gives a flatter finish. Do this one pleat at a time. If you really have a lot of excess fabric inside trim it off.

Step 4: Attach Grommets & Tassels

Insert your grommet with the biggest side on the outside of your pasty. Place your pasty point-side down on top of a piece of craft foam on top of a hard surface. The foam will prevent the front side of the grommet from scratching when you hammer it.

Rest the grommet smasher on the inside of the grommet and gently tap with a hammer until the inside splits like a flower. Hammer gently so you don't warp the front of the grommet.

Insert your tassel through the front hole and sew to the fabric inside of the top.

Step 5: Finishing

Sew the bottom to the inside of the top to make a nice finished set of pasties! The difference in sizebetween the top and bottom should allow sufficient room for unseen stitching.

Secure to nips with eyelash glue or double sided tape and you're ready to shake up the party!

Step 6: Variations

I originally started this project to share for a women's sleepover this year. I could find surprisingly little info online about how to actually make pasties so I thought I'd put an instructable together. My intent was just to make one pair but I had such a blast shopping for fabric and really enjoyed the quick completion time and novelty that I'm now selling them at I also happen to know a number of burlesque dancers who I hope will wear them ('cause truthfully I'm quite shy! ;)