Friday, 4 January 2013

How to make your bum look big (on purpose)

Having acquired a copy of the V&A Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail this time last year, I ended up falling in love with one of the 1880s outfits. As most people know, late C19th requires wearing a bustle...I didn't fancy making one of those. Instead I opted for a bustle pad used in the 1870s, but thought it would give a similar effect.  There was a bustle in the aforementioned book which I wanted to copy.

I actually started making the bustle pad in April, but never got round to finishing it. I started with the two bottom pads and used the pattern from my 'petal bum' to make them. The bottom one being made a bit longer and the next one half the size in length. Like the original, I machine stitched them with an inverted French seam.

When I returned to them this year, I found that the bottom one was a bit too big and over-stuffed. To rectify this, I made it slightly more square by taking the curves in by about an inch, and (of course) taking some of the stuffing out.

Another problem I encountered was that I couldn't find the left over fabric to make the rest of the pads. Fortunately, the two pads I had already made were enough padding for me and gave the right shape.
I then attached the smaller pad to the bigger one. I pinned it 1" from the top of the big one and machine stitched it in place (about 1/2") and then pinned and stitched the bottom of the small one so it wouldn't flop about (does that make sense?).

The original bustle pad had ties for the waist and hips. I used some cotton tape for this and machine stitched them to the pad. 


  1. What a great title for a blog post!! tee her.

    And thank you for pointing out the book you used to make this cool bustle pad. I didn't know about it, but will buy a copy. I wish I lived in London so I could visit the V & A more often.

  2. Very cool bustle pad and thanks for the book recommendation. I just ordered myself a copy.