Act 16

April 29, 2008

The Real Open Source Boob Project

There has been a lot of discussion in the feminist blogosphere about an incident at an SF convention that the instigator has called ‘The Open Source Boob Project’ (link to the original live journal post).

While I totally understand that many of the participants had a profound and positive experience–I really do, realization of freedom of sexual expression can be euphoric, I understand that, and I am all for the autonomy of consenting adults, and I have to admit I am totally fascinated by the way that what was essentially a love in at a party has become so huge thanks to the weird private/public liminal space that is the internet–there are several things about The Ferret’s ‘experiment’ report that make me bristle.

Many of them are covered here in an excellent analysis from Jeff Pack at Bookworm, particularly the lechery and victim blaming attitude displayed by specifically targeting women/girls who were “obviously putting [their] assets on display”, and there is a great round-up by lauredhel over at Hoyden. In general it appears to me that, while it was a good experience for some, it shows an enormous lack of understanding of the wider culture and conditions most people with breasts (in western type cultures) live in on a daily basis.

However, aside from the lechery and the inherent sexism and the cluelessness, there is something else that has been bothering me–the name of the endeavor. As someone who is rather passionate about open source culture the misappropriation of the term is annoying me a lot. My thought process went something like this: Open source boob project? Hardly. Now if they were handing out instructions on how to make your own boobs then maybe…

And thus I give you The Real Open Source Boob Project. Free (as in speech) crochet boobie instructions under the cut. (dial-up warning–image heavy)


To make your own crocheted boob you will need yarn in your chosen flesh colour (less than one ball) and a small length of yarn in your chosen nipple/areola colour, and a crochet hook. I used an 8 ply cream/dusky pink combination (mostly due to availability) with a 3.5 mm hook. Different yarn and/or a different size hook will give you a different end product, which is fabulous because diversity is beautiful, so use whatever combination you desire. This is a really simple pattern suitable for beginners (like me) as it only uses chain stitch, slip stitch, single crochet and double crochet.

Step 1:
Make a starting loop and chain 5 stitches

Step 2:
Using the nipple colour slip stitch into the first chain to make a small loop

Step 3:
Single crochet 5 stitches (one in each chain), then slip stitch to close the circle.

Step 4:
Add a second round of single crochet (5 stitches) and slip stitch again. This will give you the nipple–if you would like a longer nipple go ahead and add another row of single crochet.


Step 5:
Now add 15 double crochets (three into each of the single crochets–remembering that your first double crochet will actually be a chain of 3 stitches).

Step 6:
Slip stitch to close the circle.

Voila! Nipple!


Step 7:
Change to your chosen flesh colour and double crochet 30 stitches (that is two into each gap)


Step 8:
Slip stitch to join the circle.


Step 9:
Add a round of double crochet, increasing at every third stitch (so double crochet, double crochets, then 2 double crochets in the same gap)


Step 10:
Finish off the round and slip stitch to close the circle.

Step 11:
Add one more round of double crochet (no increases, just the one in every gap) and you’re done!

Hooray for boobies!

Are these boobs good enough to touch? My word yes!

14 Responses to “Act 16”

  1. cricketk Says:


    Also, I think sending theferrett one large enough to be a hat would be nifty.

  2. sajbrfem Says:

    I think sending theferrett one large enough to be a hat would be nifty.

    te he :) I too was thinking we could all make a spare and send him one as a memento.

  3. lauredhel Says:

    Love it. You want free access to boobs – make ’em your damn selves.

    Plus, that’s about the only beanie I’ve ever seen that I think I’d actually consider wearing. Just for the double-takes.

  4. […] “The Real Open Source Boob Project” However, aside from the lechery and the inherent sexism and the cluelessness, there is something […]

  5. cupidsbow Says:

    That’s awesome.

  6. strangedave Says:

    That is my favourite response to the whole OSBP yet (I’ve been writing something myself, but I’m travelling).

    You should send it in to the Alice Springs Beanie Festival!

  7. sajbrfem Says:

    Thanks everyone :) The one pictured above is actually about a b-cup size, but due to popular demand I am now working on a beanie version :)

  8. Rosalie Says:

    beautiful. The phrase, “nice breasts” popped into my mind. Thank you for giving that phrase a new meaning. It needed to mean something new.

    What a wonderful way to engage with breasts — with women’s experience and feelings about their own breasts… to take away the power of objectification by making a soft, hand-made, labored-over object.

    As a woman who developed early, a heterosexual, a mother who breastfed two children, I’m going to keep thinking about this. Thank you.

  9. neleh Says:

    this is wonderful – a beanie sized version would be perfect. We could all then wear them to our next con with a badge saying ‘make your own’ :-)

  10. LauraMH Says:

    Hi, folks,

    We have a group of charity crafters, some of whom really would like to assist women who have undergone mastectomies. May we adapt your pattern to make crocheted breast forms? We’ll be glad to send you back the final version, in the event you want to post it.

    Laura MH

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