To give my 18th century peasant / Outlander dress a more authentic looking fit, the next apparent step is to make a bum roll! The shape of this undergarment will come out to look like a croissant. It’s literally a crescent, and has quilted compartments for the filling.
The method I chose to reference is the “How to Make an 18th Century Bum Pad” by Sandy at Old Time Patterns. In her video, Sandy uses option #5 as her own reference, from the blog D’emode’s post “Late 18th Century Skirt Supports: Bums, Rumps & Curls” Option #5 is based upon a caricature from 1785 called “The Bum Shop” held in the Lewis Walpole Library.
To tie around the waist – I used 1” Cotton Twill Tape (it’s not sticky, it’s just called tape). For the shell – I used unbleached Muslin, one of the cheapest fabrics you can get. As of the time of this post, it’s $1.79 per yard at Joann Fabric. For the Filler – I keep separate fabric stashes for quarters of fabric that could potentially be used to sew something small, and also a fabric stash for really small bits. To start, I spent some time (4 hours at least) cutting all of my “really small bits” stash into strips and ultimately into roughly 1 inch x 1 inch squares to serve as filler for the bumroll compartments.
Though it’s hard to tell with scraps, I’d say I had 3-5 yards in fabric. This is also how I plan to recycle muslin mock ups; as part of my scrap-cutting-mission I cut up the muslin mockup for my 18th century petticoat and underdress/chemise, which each had a fair bit of yardage. I didn’t need all of this for one bumroll, but it will make for practical storage of small scraps I don’t tend to repurpose currently, and it will serve as the filling for other projects. It’s like a compost bin for fabric!
To make the bumroll:
- Measure how wide you are across, and how thick you are front to back. My rough width is 14” and my thickness is: 7”
- Draw a straight line for the width (14”)
- At the midsection of the line you just drew, draw a line that comes out perpendicular and is the length of your thickness (ie 7”)
- Draw the same perpendicular line at the top, and then connect the points by drawing an oval. Because the measurements I took came out to thickness being half of the width, mine actually came out as a circle, because the crossed lines end up 14”x14”
- I added more paper pieces to make a large enough canvas here, but only on one side as we’ll end up cutting this out on the fold of the fabric. From the center back, mark at 8”, following along circle, measure another mark halfway between the two original lines marking at 6” and again at 4”, 3” and 2”, to create a grade that would wrap around you in the finished product.
- Cut out the one piece, and lay in on the fold of the fabric to cut it. Do this twice. When I cut my fabric out, I like to use the carpet pad as a pin cushion (apologies to any professional sewists who might cringe at this!)
- You’ll end up with two crescents.
- If you store fabric folded, this is probably a good place to take a break and iron your two pieces.
- Place the two crescents one on top of the other and pin or clip the outer edge together.
- Then sew the outer edge, effectively making a pita pocket.
- Trim the outer edge close to the seam, leaving 1mm of fabric.
- Turn it inside out so that the back seam is on the inside and not visible. Iron it right side out. Because the inside seam is only 1mm, you should be able to iron it almost perfectly flat.
- Draw quilting channels with a chalk pencil if you have one, so you can brush off any color after the stitches are in. The key thing here is making sure they are symmetrical, as in the width between channels matches on both sides as if you were to fold the crescent in half. On the inside ring, I stuck with 2 inches between each line. Along the outer edge, I started with 5 inches in between each quilting and graduated down to 4”, 3”, and 3” inches again, and the last channel is just what’s left over – no measurements needed.
- Sew the channels.
- Take your filling and stuff it into each compartment. It helps to use a stick to spread out the filling in the channel, and to clip or pin the compartment closed with a ½” seam allowance before moving on to the next channel.
- Run the inner curve through the sewing machine following the ½” seam allowance the clips are holding, to keep the compartments closed when you add seam binding.
- For seam binding, use 1” Twill Tape, which will match up with the ½” seam allowance just sewed. Eyeball the length you will need to cover just the inner curve.
- Take the length of the piece of twill tape and iron in a fold in half long-wise. This will make it much easier to situate the twill tape like seam binding on the bumroll.
- Clip the twill tape onto the inner curve and sew.
- Cut 2 identical pieces of twill tape about 1 foot long. Fold over one end of each and sew straight across to pin the flap down. Attach flap side down to the inner most ears of the bumroll by stitching in a box for added security when the bumroll will be under heavier clothing. Finish with a zigzag stitch where the edge of the bumroll meets the twill.
- I simply love aglets, so I finish off with a pair of bronze aglets and this project is complete!