Local Crafter Designs DIY Binder Template

Model Merrick Shan Soleil wearing a binder following Glitter Grandpa’s template

Glitter Grandpa is Pittsburgh’s friendly neighborhood queer and trans sewist looking to get you into a binder that fits YOU. He has created a step-by-step guide that teaches you how to draft your own binder pattern based on your personal (or someone else’s) measurements. You can then use it to make an actual, custom binder! 

Mr. Grandpa has been working on this project for a while. It developed organically as he got back into sewing as an adult. As he transitioned he wanted clothes that would fit his body (and look damn good too). He threw around the idea of making custom binders for other people. After some test binders and mock-ups he looked at his plans and realized… anyone can do this with enough instruction and guidance!

While he never got to play with his binder creation prior to top his own top-surgery, he collaborated with a lot of sewist and friends to test out the product. Once he realized he could pull together fairly simple instructions he solicited about 10 sewist from around the world to give it a try.

Here’s what you’ll need to create your own Glitter Grandpa binder.

Step One: Draft the pattern

Read the instructions (currently in English). Make some fairly specific measurements. For this you’ll need a measuring tape.

Step Two: Sewing Construction

It’s recommended you have some basic skills in sewing with knits (stretchy fabrics). It’s possible to pick up what you need to know from a YouTube video, a good friend, or the Carnegie Library. For this you’ll need a basic sewing machine or serger

PS. Did you know you can use sewing machines at the Carnegie Library? Contact your library to reserve a time to use it.  

The end result is something that’s not too different from what you could buy commercially (as that’s what he referenced), except YOU made it and it’s specifically for YOU.

There are a handful of options when it comes to purchasing a binder. Most of the options are online, making it hard to find what will fit you best. Binder styles are also pretty limited stylistically, and let’s be honest, some of us want a little bling in a binder. 

And from what Glitter Grandpa sees, “In the world of sewing, there aren’t actually any formal binder patterns or tutorials ’til this one, aside from a couple of pattern ‘hacks.’”

When it comes to queer folks we know how to fill gaps in capitalism with DIY options. Glitter Grandpa puts the tools in the hands of queer and trans folks to make a binder that fits their body and their style. 

The tutorial is just a starting point. “I envision other sewists thinking about ways to increase the applications: how to create binders for people with sensory processing issues, making binders more accessible for people with physical disabilities, etc.”

Glitter Grandpa has big plans to extend the tutorial as well. He gets a lot of requests for custom binder swimsuits, swim binders, and full-length binders. All this work is just his side hustle, so don’t hesitate to try something new, add to what he’s started, and experiment. 

If you have questions throughout the crafting process feel free to reach out and ask him!

Follow Glitter Grandpa’s next moves on instagram. @glittergrandpa
Get started on your own custom binder here! Purchase the initial template for $15.

This article originally appeared on QueerPgh.com. This article is preserved as a part of the Q Archives project. Please consider donating to help preserve Pittsburgh’s Queer history.