Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 6 COMMENTS

In the final installment of “As the Drag Queen Turns”, I have video of Shelby’s performances. I had to fumble around with the YouTube, but I finally got it working. (I’m not a kid any more and my techno-savvy pretty much ended with the VCR, so now every time I have to figure out how to work some new thing, I end up clenching my fist and telling it to get the hell off my lawn.)

So follow this link to four videos: the Swimsuit Competition (if you only watch one, watch this one. You will be astounded.), the Talent Competition, the Evening Gown Competition (featuring my beer can dress!), and the Awards Ceremony. We missed the actual crowning because we ere too busy jumping around, but you do get to see all the other contestants.

And if you’d like to see more bits of the event, others have posted some videos. Check out the Opening Montage where you can see the contestants before, during and after their transformations. And Oh. Mah. God. Miss Tara Ligament’s talent performance (she was a really amped up cheerleader with amazing legs. Go ahead, you’ll see.).

We had such a blast while we were visiting Stacy (that’s my friend who played Shelby Free). His friend, George, threw a party before the pageant and we met the most amazing bunch of people, it really was like walking into a whole new family of friends. We loved it so well that we’ll be back next year! Wooooo!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who sent donations and well-wishes to Stacy and Aid for AIDS. It means so much. With your help, Stacy raised over $8,500 – the most money that any contestant has ever raised. In all, the pageant raised over $350,000 for a worthy cause. Feels good, don’t it?

Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 4 COMMENTS

The winner of the 2008 Best in Drag show is . . . SHELBY FREEEEEEE!!!!! How cool is that? I’ll tell you. Totally and completely. It is totally and completely cool. Stacy did such a great job as Shelby, he had the audience whoopin’ and a-hollarin’ from the moment he showed up with his mobile outhouse in the swimsuit competition. You have to have some kind of “reveal” for the swimsuit,‚ so Shelby had a foam outhouse with handles inside so he could carry it walk out on stage in it. Then out he popped in a jewel-encrusted Budweiser bathing suit and a wig all wrapped up in Bud cans instead of curlers. The toilet paper stuck to his shoe was sublime.

I’ll have more pictures later, and hopefully the video came out ok, but I just wanted to pop in to announce the good news. Here are a few pics for now.

The event began with the comedy stylings of the hilarious Kathy Griffin, this was the best I could do with onstage photos. Much was made of her grand opening and everyone enjoyed her jokes, too. (LOTS of jokes about “openings” at a drag pageant, as it turns out.)

I tried to get a photo with Shelby onstage after the show while she was in her throne, but I was too late and we got shuffled out. Here we are in chaos (you can see guys taking the throne away in the back):

And here we are right where Shelby feels most at home. In a dark alley behind the building. Also, how much do you love the gal on the right? She looks just like my Marie Osmond doll from way back when!

And don’t forget, just because the pageant is over doesn’t mean it’s too late to donate! Check out Shelby’s website and give what you can! Also, Stacy has had an amazingly tough week. As if it’s not scary enough to have to perform in front of thousands of people, his mom passed away last week after a grueliing battle with cancer. His commitment to this cause is a testament to his heart and his cojones. Even if you can’t send him a donation, send some love his way. His email is on the main page of his website, I know he’d love to hear from everyone who’s been moved or amused or touched by his most unusual brand of community service.

Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 15 COMMENTS

It is my distinct pleasure to present to you a Crocheted Beer Can Gown in it’s entirety. (You’re really going to want to click these photos for a better look.)

It’s taken a lot of work, a few band-aids and dozens of cans, but I am finally finished! And I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. It really does look just as it did in my head.

I’m going to start with the one detail shot I have, because once you see the photos of the dress actually being modeled, you’re not going care about the details. Trust me. So this is the skirt. I sewed on some opalescent pilettes and they really sparkle like crazy when the dress moves. It was time-consuming, but I’m glad I went ahead and did it.

I’ve already sent the dress off to Shelby and she’ll be adding even more sparkly bits to the top portion. She has some little crystal things left over from another outfit, so I gave her free reign to further bedazzle the gown.

And here is my adorable mother-on-law, Barbara, sewing a band of red, white and blue sequins onto the inside of the skirt. It really needed something extra in there and it added just enough pizazz.

Ok, so now here is where things get really good. I wanted to show you the whole dress, but the dress form just wasn’t doing it justice. I needed a model. Now, I would have been glad to do it, but seeing as how my trunk has it’s fair share of junk. There’s no way I’m getting into that thing without getting sliced in half. While it would have made cool photos, I think the internet has plenty of that sort of thing on it already.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, my mother-in-law was in town, but she’s very short and little and would have been drowning in the dress. There was only one choice.

Jon had to do it. Ok, this was the plan all along, but he doesn’t need to know that. Shhhhhh . . . .

Now, I don’t know if it’s because we’re die-hard Project Runway fans (have I mentioned that we’re both hoping like crazy that Chris March will be at the pageant? Oh my god, we’d both be giggling like schoolgirls.) but Jon really got into the photo session. He was nervous at first, but then turned all RuPaul and was hitting poses left and right. But he did keep hid tube socks and shorts on. Let’s not get crazy, here.

And there you go. An evening gown that has champagne taste on a beer budget. Cheap champagne, but champagne nonetheless.

This dress is a memorial of sorts. When Stacy (Shelby Free’s real name) contacted me out of the blue to create the dress (he found my by googling “crocheted beer cans”. Ha!), it didn’t take much for me to say yes. Partly it just seemed like a fun project and a good challenge. But it’s also for a great cause. A couple of years before I met Jon, his brother, Tim, died of AIDS. I never got to meet him, but he’s still included in family dinner conversation and provides lot of laughter as people reminisce about his past exploits (truth be told, he was a bit of a red-headed devil in his younger years) and wonder what he’d think about various things going on in their lives. I do feel a deep affection for Tim because I’ve gotten to know him from the fond and often hilarious memories of those who loved him, and I think he would have gotten a huge kick out of this dress and the pageant.

If you haven’t already, please check out Shelby Free’s website, read Stacy’s story about why he’s doing the pageant and if you feel moved to do so, please donate. Just navigate your way to Shelby’s donation page from his main page and make sure you put “Shelby Free” in the company name field on the donation form so Stacy can keep track of the donations he’s collected. So far, he’s raised $7,000!

Give until it’s glamorous, people!!

Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 8 COMMENTS

Ze top, she eez done! Voila! (Click peectures for zee big)

With the lining in and the back laced up, the shape has really come together. If you compare the front and side to the last update, it’s a lot smoother.

And here is why the shaping works! I am so happy with the way the back came out, it looks exactly like I imagined! And yes, those are the tabs from the cans acting as corset loops. Shelby is a svelte lass, so I’m assuming that the last row of cans is not even going to need the loops and will end up being seamed together.

And here is the inside. I lined it with a soft cotton t-shirt and sewed the bra right in. The boobs aren’t sewn in, I figured we should keep those free and easy until the end. I used a zig zag stitch and it’s a little wonky since it’s hand-sewn. But it serves the purpose.

I realized that the top was going to be a little tricky to get on since it’s backless and all, so I ended up leaving the bra strap attached. That way, Shelby can hook it on while one of her minions laces her up. I’m going to sew in little pockets to the lining so she can tuck them in when the dress is on.

I’m all set to send it off to Shelby in California so she can try it on. Once we’ve got the fit right, I’ll know how big to make the skirt. The skirt will actually be a lot faster since there isn’t a whole lot of shaping. And although it’s floor length in the back, it’s really short in the front, so that’s half to work! Good thing Shelby dresses like a floozy!

Don’t forget to give whatever you can on the Donations page of Shelby’s website. All donations go to Aid for AIDS, whose mission it is to provide financial assistance for necessities of life to adults and children living below the poverty-line with HIV/AIDS, primarily in Los Angeles County. Be sure to include Shelby’s name on your donation as requested on the Donations page.

Oh, and before I sign off, I would like to address some rumors that have been flying around on the internet. It’s very painful to talk about, but I feel like I must set the record straight in order to preserve my reputation. I have been accused of using unethical practices in the making of this gown and I would like to take this opportunity to say that in no way have I ever utilized child labor. Ever.

Well, maybe just that once.

Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants 8 COMMENTS

After doing some research, I was shocked to learn that Stitchy McYarnpants does not appear on the list of fashion designers allowed to use the term “Haute Couture” in an official sense. I guess it’s my own fault for embracing Freedom Fries. C’est la guerre du mode.

So I have coined a new term and will heretofore be known as the preeminent fashion designer in the Haute Canture movement. In order to keep the fashion pure, I’ve had to put a few rules in place to keep out the riff raff.

-Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.

-Have a workspace cleared in the living room that employs at least four cats in order to provide full cat-hair cover.

-Must present a garment to a contestant in a prestigious Drag Queen beauty pageant. The garment must use acrylic yarn already in the designer’s stash so that the only cost incurred is for beer.

With Haute Canture behind her, Shelby is going to be the most stunning Beauty Queen to ever wear a pile of recyclables.

Shelby Free is her name, being cheap and easy is her game. But we all know that you’re not cheap and easy. Well, not cheap, anyway. So please give whatever you can on the “Donations” page of Shelby’s website. All donations go to Aid for AIDS, whose mission it is to provide financial assistance for necessities of life to adults and children living below the poverty-line with HIV/AIDS, primarily in Los Angeles County. Be sure to include Shelby’s name on your donation as requested on the Donations page.

Go ahead, I’ll wait while you make your donation.



Hooray! Thanks for your generosity! And now, on to the dress (as always, click for big):

Here is the front, in all its canny glory. The white tank top is actually going to become the lining for the top. I’m going to sew it just below the edge around the neck, arms and bottom. All of the squared-off parts will be filled in with crochet, and then I’ll crochet another row all around the neck and arms to smooth everything out.

These cans will most assuredly NOT make Shelby’s but look big.

Here’s a closeup of the front. I’m crazy about the bows! I think they add just the right touch.

And here is the back. It’s going to lace up so the fit can be adjusted. I’m going to cut the tank top and bra to sew them in, so this is going to be a saucy little number all nakedy in the back. I’m thinking of adding a nice big butt bow at the bottom of the lacing. I love butt bows!