Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some Holiday Sparkle - Tabistry Style

So, I've been a bad girl and not shared some of my past experiments. Last year while working on the stocking, I made some quick ornaments. I was hoping to take them a little farther before posting about them. But, since I didn't finish them, and another Christmas is passing me by, I thought I'd get them up "as is" and maybe inspire some of you to create some last minute gift ideas for those who have everything. ;)

Who needs to blow tons of money on tree bling, when you can make you own ornies from stuff around the house. At our house, we try to make at least one unique ornament each year. They definitely have more sentimental value this way. My daughter's tissue paper princess dolls, that we made her on her on her 2nd Christmas, are still the first decoration to deck the tree every year. But, it's more fun now that she make's things along with us.

I figured out how to make this star/snowflake? shape when I was working on my cloak shoulders. Sorry for the blurry pic. The flash doesn't like the glimmer of the tabs or metallic shoelace. I can make the points using one continuous material strip (meaning less tying off). If more rows are added over it, you can get a much more drastic scallop edge or even pointer star by repeating the technique at the same location (which is how I achieved the star in the image at the top of this post). That one, which has been filled in with a different material to form a circle, will be a future lid for a gift box.

This ball is about 3 1/4" and was created in two pieces and stitched together. I'm challenging myself to make one even smaller. I think I'd like to make some with a zipper around the middle to put potpourri or other items in. Of course, it needs a prettier loop to hang it, too. :)

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another crazy October has passed...

...and I finally finished a tabistry project! Yay!

Meet the new corset addition. I finally finished an underbust corset and matching mini top hat just in time for Halloween. The corset still needs some minor adjustments around the front top edge. I was strapped for time and just had to go with it. I'm debating to remove or add some tabs where the lacing is. The gap where the lace holes begins is not suitable to me. I also plan to add a trim around the whole corset to finish it off better. That ought to help out a bit.

The hat was actually created on the 4+ hour drive on the way to faire. I was working on the brim the next morning as the others were still getting dressed. :) I want to play with the style of it a little bit more. Then, I will most likely adding it to the POP TOP hat tutorial available on

Remember back when I mentioned I'd share a new technique on giving tabs some color. Well, this was the project I'd been meaning to discuss it on. If you look closely at the pic below, you'll see that I wove the tabs upside down and that I hand painted each one with fingernail polish. I made a graduating pattern from gold to burgundy to dark purple to black and back down to gold. I think the paint really tones down the shiny silver tabs.

Since this was to be a steampunk piece, I wanted something a little different. As you might, or might not, have noticed, I tried something new on the seams. I wove them together using more tabs running across the seam. When it is pulled apart the tabs kinda peak through.

You can read about the whole steampunk outfit on my craft blog here. Ciao, until next time!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Has it been that long?!

Wow. Just realized how long it's been since my last post here. Sorry 'bout that. I've been really busy with all kinds of things. Including a steampunk costume for Halloween that is far from finished. Not much else to show just, yet. But, I guess I can finally get around to posting this ring I made awhile back.

In my quest to adorn my tribal costume, I've been searching for ideas to make unusual jewelry out of tabs and other things.

This ring is very simple. Just a tab I found that happened to fit my finger. (It would be easy to make this adjustable by just cutting the ring.) Not sure what it came off of. I've had some gold ones very similar that were from Bumblebee Tuna Salad containers. I just drilled a small hole and hung a bead from where the rivet part was removed. I attached it with jewelry wire so that it wiggles freely in the center of the hole.

As you can see here, I really didn't even smooth out the broken rivet edge. I thought it was odd that the tab was gold on the back side. Though I've found many a random tab the same way.

More projects coming soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tabistry Tribal Headband

I finally made time to finish a tribal-inspired headband! I've just adore the headbands tribal fusion dancers wear with the large round medallions on the sides. I was thinking one would be perfect to help hide my hair and make a better transition to my bun when wearing hair falls. Plus, I can hang all kinds of dangly bits from it! So, here it is with my black turkish vest outfit at Scarborough Renaissance Festival this past weekend. That's my "mundane" daughter with me above.

Finally got to wear my new tabistry armband and horseshoe nail necklace, too. The "tika" on my forehead is also new (to me). Made it from an anklet I picked up at the flea market. Only wish I had poofed up my bangs a bit in the front or pulled a section over to one side. I think it looks a wee too tightly pulled back.

Here another view of the armband while I was putting the last minute accessories on at the car. We had a great time at Scarby this year. Great company and couldn't ask for better weather.

I'll be putting a quick tutorial up at my crafting blog on how I made some really simple artificial hair flowers that I'm wearing with my garb with just buttons and hair pins. No messy hot glue.

As usual, have a can-TAB-ulous time!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Up and Running with a Little Change of Plans

I created a discussion group. But, after discussing this with a few others around me, I decided against Yahoo groups mostly due to the inability the post comments on pictures. I've decided that Facebook might be a more common ground for everyone. It also has more useful features and probably more users than many other hosts.

Tabistry Group

Sorry, if any of you don't approve. I may move this to another site or just start another in the distant future, so keep me informed of your opinions as we start this.

Now, start sharing all you fantastic projects and ideas! We now have a place for everyone to share!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Possible Tabistry Discussion Group??

Want to share tips on weaving patterns?
Need help getting started?
Need suggestions on how to create a custom piece?
Short on supplies and need more?

If anyone is interested in having a group to share progress and new techniques for tabistry, I'm thinking of starting one. It would be a great place to share supplies. I know many people would like to help by sending tabs to those who need them. I, myself, have many styles of tabs that I rarely use that I'd be happy to share.

I'm still on the fence about what host to use for this. So, please contact me if you have a preference. At the moment I'm considering or Yahoo Groups. I've never moderated a group before. If you know of a better place, by all means let me know. Just want to make it convenient for everyone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tribal-style Tabistry Armband

I've been experimenting with different weaves and came up with one that is perfect for jewelry. It's a bit tricky at first, but looks nice as a armband.



This was a revised version of what I posted that my daughter made for teacher a while back. I used the same brass brad fastener in the middle to change the direction of the tabs. Later I added a dangly tassel from the strings with some silver wash beads and bent tabs to resemble cowrie shells that you find on tribal armbands and hair falls. The pendant was just something I happened upon at a local dollar store.

I think it turned out surprising nice. However, it would be better if I made a second matching one for the other arm. I've got other tribal inspired items in my brain that need to be brought to life. I may work on some hair falls with the same bent tabs and beads and I'd like to design a headdress somehow for my Halloween costume.

If you don't hear from me before then, have a great St. Patty's Day!!

Skull n' Crossbone Necklace

Last month I made my mom a simple skull/crossbone necklace to wear to a goth themed party we attended.

skull necklace

skull necklace

Sorry, it has taken so long to post. But, it took me awhile to find a suitable pendant to put on it permanently to go with her pirate garb for faire. That is, until a few days ago when we found her a nice piratey pendant at a local thrift store. I had to cut the large center tab to add the pendant. I wrapped the cut with black electrical tape and covered that with black string so the pendant and black beads wouldn't fall off. I also wrapped some string and wire around the two other larger tabs for something different.

The tabs are woven together with a skull shoelace I purchased in a lot at a flea market. It's a bit stiff. However, I thought is was kinda cool that the skulls are spaced just perfectly to show up between the tabs. I must make a belt with these laces!

BTW, I did spray paint the black tabs. Though, you can find black tabs on many cans of the coffee variety, I think. I don't recommend spray paint on tabs that will get frequent wear. THey scratch very easily.

Until next time, happy tabbin'!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back from Sherwood Forest Faire

Just got back from a brand new faire near Austin, TX. For opening of it's very first season, Sherwood Forest Faire had a great turn out. It was beautiful there with all the trees. We had a great time.

Just wanted to share the quick tabistry straps I added to my light blue corset. I wove them on the long car ride to faire. Working on a project always makes the time go faster. I really want to get the skirt started for this corset. Hope to someday. :)

Right now, I've got tabistry fairy costumes beating up my brain cells! The daughter and I have decided to make costumes together. So, I've put aside many projects, and we've entered brainstorming mode. She helped me come up with some great ideas and a possible new technique for adding color to the tabistry!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Turkish-Style Vest Pattern Now Available on Etsy

I know some of you probably thought this day would never come. But, I've finally listed the pattern/instructions for my Tabistry Turkish Vest on! For those of you who want to make one, the tutorial includes illustrations and pics as well as some details for alterations.

Hope it is helpful! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Inspirational Videos!

I've been searching all over the web since I started making tabistry admiring other artist's work. There are sooo many cool ideas out there. is one of my favorite stops for inspriational videos. So , I would like to share some of my favs.

Escama Studios - Fashion show

And, an advertisment for Escama.

Finissimo - CFW Verao 2009 - Cia do Lacre

More purses/bags from previous year.

Novica Artisan Neide Ambrosio at Brazilian TV Show

Another video about Neide Ambrosio's work.

Some incredible recycled Fashions on Programa Tudo É Possível in four parts(In Spanish):

Part 1

I have to admit that some of these design are a bit flamboyant for my tastes, but play close attention at 3:00 for a black dress made from x-ray film and VCR tape, a plastic bottle maille dress at 5:10, and a unique tabistry top at 6:30.

Part 2

Again, some of the outfits are not for me, but there are more wonderful can tabs and the use of other parts of the can at 2:10 and 4:35.

More awesomeness from Programa Tudo É Possível from 03/02/08:

Part 1
Check out the fairy-like skirt at 1:45 made out of plastic bottles and the cd top at 7:30.

Part 2

I was also impressed with the plastic bottlecap dress at 1:40.

Also in Spanish, Crocheted Can Tabs:

An Interview with Brad Taylor, maker of a can tab lounge chair

For those who care to know, here is a video on how aluminum cans are made.

And, I stumbled on this video purely by accident and cracked up:
"Pop Tab Girl" song

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ev's Tabistry Mermaid Tale!

It's taken me longer than I planned, but I had to share the incredible pic that Ev sent me.

This HAS to be the most ambitious tabistry project I've seen to date! Wow! Look at ALL those tabs! The scale pattern looks great for their fishy mermaid tails.

"This performance was part of the "grotesque delights" tour of Freak Show, which is part of High Performance Rodeo. A big festival of alternative performances here in the city." - Ev

She used a discount jersey fabric cut to about 1/2 a centimeter, which is narrow. This is so it would be flexible to move in.

"I chose white because i planned on having a black light and i wanted us to glow. I had all our friends collecting poptabs! took forever!! i offered 1 cupcake for every 10 tabs. i dont know where you get your tabs! One of my friend's mom's owns a restaurant, without her help i don't know where i could have gotten this many in time!"
- Ev

I wonder if we can still cash in on those cupcakes? :D She commented that they ran out of time finishing these costumes. Somehow, I'm not surprised. One mermaid would be a big challenge to take on. Kudos for seeing all three through!

"...we were actually still weaving minutes before the first show! Thank you so much for your website, and your inspiration!! The fins looked better than i imagined they would. i received lots of positive comments." - Ev

Thanks, Ev, for sharing your epic project with us! Hope the show was a huge success!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Tabistry" Made the Boston Globe!

Well, what do ya know?! The word "tabistry" was chosen as a favorite new words of 2009 by the writer of this article:

The year that was - The Boston Globe

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On a Lighter Note...

I was roaming around the internet today, as I frequently do, and came across this:

A bra made using Tab soda cans made by Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch. It is also constructed with a gutter guard, dryer vents, and rivets. Now, I realize there are no can tabs holding this piece together. So, it's not truly tabistry. But, hey, it's a close relative and this is my blog. I'll post what cool stuff I want. Ha! It even has undies to go with it!

And, best of all...

A garter belt! Wow, how fantastic are they! Not practical or even wearable, I imagine. I'm thinking to myself that my tabistry has to be much more comfortable than these, but they are awesome all the same! She has more inspiring art pieces on her site, including another bra made with washers, nuts and wire mesh at:

Great work, Ingrid! We adore your creativity and craftsmanship!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Don't Understand Some People

WARNING: If you value original designs and respect copyrights, do not buy anything from!

You know, I really try to be an open-minded understanding person. The other day I had posted a site that had a knock-off piece of my work on it. Then, I had second thoughts and removed the post and contacted the owner of the site to inquire about it before I made any further judgements. Well, I just received a reply that floors me.
She has the audacity to say to ME that she came up with that design all on her own after
referring to it as "tabistry" (which was coined by our own GypsyLaKat)! My word, I can't understand some people.

For those who missed my first post on this issue, the site is called which I believe is owned/run by a lady named Ellen in Mississippi. In her shop there is a section called
"Pop Top Tabistry" which contains a corset for sale.

I had mixed feeling when I saw it, so I posted here about it. Then, I decided to just contact the artist to see what they were thinking. To be fair, I will include the email that I sent her:

"To whom it may concern, Hello. I'm Tiffany, also known as "mieljolie" on forums and my blogs. One of which is "The Art of Tabistry" at I came across the "Pop Top Tabistry" section of your site, which made me a little happy and sad at the same time to see the corset/bodice listed there. I'm really flattered that the artist who made it liked my tabistry designs enough to give it a try. It looks very nicely done, and I really like the colors chosen and the addition of the zipper. However, when I posted my pattern for the bodice/corset on my own blog, it was displayed for personal and educational use only. It was not with the intention for others to use the design for profit. I realize some effort has been made to make the item different than what I have created, but it does not change the fact that the design is based on someone else's work. I want to express my feelings to you in hopes that you will see my side and remove it from your site. Or at least, publish credit for the design to the appropriate source. I'm happy that you are providing ready-made tabistry items to the general public, but please make them original designs as conveyed on your "About Us" page. I'm fairly certain that this was not done with any malice in mind, which is why I am writing to you with the sincerest of appeals. I wish you much success in selling tabistry clothing. Perhaps, if we all work together, many more people will see what beautiful things can be done with tabs, and your sales will grow beyond what is imaginable. I'd even be happy to advertise your new and original designs on my blog for others to admire. All that I ask is that you please please give credit where it is due. That way we can all benefit from our creativity. Hope the new year brings you success and happiness! Sincerely, Tiffany Hinnen"

I know I'm not a writer, but it was sincere enough, right? Doesn't it deserve at least an honest refusal? Now, here comes the response, so that all of you can see the kind of person I'm dealing with. Please indulge me while I comment on what I was thinking when I read it. The number represent my thought in order below:

"Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the effort and sincerity that you put into your email. However, the corset is a centuries old pattern [1], the design of which cannot be attributed to any one person. Yours is not the first pop tab corset. In researching your concern, I have found pop tab corsets that pre-date your blog. If you have made a functioning, fully boned corset, you can make a costume corset out of just about anything [2]. Although there are many small details that vary, the basic styling of all corsets is extremely similar [3], whether it be made of canvas, leather, cotton, or pop tabs. I'm sure that having worked with pop tops, you are able to make just about whatever you can imagine using pop tabs and your aquired techniques [4]. I have done both corsetry and tabbing. So putting together a pop tab corset was not an unfamiliar endeavor [5]. However, I did not buy your pattern or attempt to re-create your corset. I did look at as many photos of pop tab items as I could find, and in doing so I briefly viewed your site as well [6]. Your site is quite nice, but our corsets are different in many ways.
I'm sorry, but I cannot credit you with the design of our items, nor will I remove them from our item list. Sincerely, Ellen Klimczak Sales@CoquetryClubwear.Com"

1. Hmmm, I wasn't aware that pop tabs were used in the construction of corsets in the renaissance. Though my pattern was based off of a Elizabethan-styled pattern generator, I sited my source.

2. I'm not at all sure how this justifies copying someone else's design. I mean, even if it wasn't mine, it was someone's, right? Though, I'd like to see all these other pop tab corsets and how similar they are to mine.

3. Wow, really? " Extremely similar"? No changes in style for how many centuries? I don't know a great deal about the history of corsetry, but IMHO the cone-shaped renaissance corset varys substantially from the Victorian hourglass shaped ones. Not to mention over/underbust, full and half length designs. Even the seams and closures move to different areas around the body. But hers used every seam mine does. How coincidental!

4. Well, yes, I believe my blog proves that I CAN make just about anything with tabs, as can anyone else who learns how to connect tabs together. So why are all of her work so similar to everyone else's.

5. She must be gifted, because putting together a pop tab corset was definitely unfamiliar to me the first time I tried it. Even after sewing/drafting patterns for many years, what parts of making a traditional corset and one out of tabs is similar besides the shape? Corset fabrics are not intended to stretch. Tabistry has some stretch, though the nature of the stiffness gives ample support. An unaltered corset pattern would not be suitable in tabistry corset making. May I also ask where she's inserting the boning?

6. Well that's just contradictory, isn't it. ;) Let me paraphrase, if I can. 'I looked at your stuff for ideas, but though mine is just about exactly like yours in style, shape, weave, and construction, I didn't copy it. Look, I even used different colors and a zipper.'

I hope you understand why I'm going through all the trouble of posting all this. My intentions are not to bash people or spew negative comments on here. I just want everyone to know what kind of company they are buying their tabistry items from. Though, I am not selling items, yet, or taking any requests for custom work, if you do indeed want to purchase ready-made items or get a custom piece made, feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to suggest some more reputable artists than this one. I can even try posting requests on here to find you someone.

Hope everyone is having a better day today than I. Until next time! :)