I am currently on a mission to recreate some Edwardian looks. Quarantine has given all too much extra free time and in doing so I have decided to work more in the historical arena.
That being said, underwear is critical to the historical silhouette. I have been working from the skin out – chemise, drawers, corset, etc. In building my corset and with some amazing help from the great folk at Foundations Revealed – I have learned that so much of the silhouette is about faking it. To get that Gibson Girl Edwardian silhouette, I knew I would need some help in the bust and the bum. Bust was not too bad as I have some silicon inserts that worked rather well to help me out there. The bum – that was another story.
I started doing some research and came across the Scott hip pad. I liked the idea of it, but for some reason I felt I wanted to research more. Google patents to the rescue!
I searched google patents for the word bustle and put in a date range from 1900 to 1910. That is the era I am working in, so I figured I would get inspired by something that was created in that time period. After spending way too much time down the patents rabbit hole – I discovered Patent US702158A.
This little invention is a combined bustle and hip form – according to Charles H Scott (the inventor). I liked the way it curved and it looked easy enough to make, so I decided to give it a go!
I decided to see if the little diagram included on this was to scale.
I opened up Adobe Illustrator and traced the outlines using the pen tool. I measured the area on my rump I felt it should cover – 12″ at its longest vertically on my rump. I scaled up the pattern proportionally until it measured 12″ in the center back. Printed it out and to my surprise that little diagram was most certainly to scale. I cleaned up the sizing on the darts to make sure they were equal length on legs then used offset path to create the seam allowances. NOTE: I have a 33″ corseted waist and 44″ hips.
The description of the pattern is really cute. The writer focuses on how it should be reversible for sanitary reasons and to provide two different shapes. Here is the wording:
The principal objects of my invention, therefore, are to provide a combined bustle and hip-form which shall be simple and inexpensive, strong and durable, and of such a construction that when in place on the body of the wearer it will improve and fill out the form, so as to present a symmetrical figure and in such a manner that the device will be invisible or that the fact that the form is worn cannot be detected by the eye.
Another object of the invention is to provide a bustle and hip-form which by reason of its peculiar construction will afford a sanitary and comfortable article of wearing-apparel.
Still another object is to so construct the device that it will be reversible and capable of producing two effects or shapes.
Let’s break down the described invention in the patent.
Figure 1 shows the body in the hip form. Figure 2 is the same view with the outline of a corset on top of the hip form (showing this can be worn under or over a corset). Figure 3 shows what it looks like if you wear it “inside out”. Figure 4 shows the front view of the hip form on a wearer.
In patents, different parts of the diagrams are labelled and then explained in the text. Here are the notes on the letters:
- A = outer covering
- A’ = inner covering
- B = outer interlining
- B’ = inner interlining
- a = inner edge that becomes the waist
- a’ = darts
- C = curled hair or other suitable material (stuffing)
- D = cotton wadding or other suitable material to encase the stuffing
- b = ends to attach the ties
- c = tape/cord for ties
- d = body lines of the wearer
The diagram below is a dissected view of the interior of the hip pad.
It is describe that there is an interlining that is sewn together, then a layer of cotton wadding and stuffing inside of that. The whole thing is placed inside a cover of fashion fabric. The author suggests silk for the fashion layer – with one side white and one side colored for interest and for the ability to wear it with a white garment.
He also describes the sewing process and gives a diagram of the finished product up close.
Here are sewing instructions (in my own words):
- Stitch all darts on interlining and cover in a way that they will not show when attached to each other
- With right sides together, sew along the outer curved edge with the darts. Do this for both the interlining and cover separately. Do not sew the waist edge.
- Place the interlining inside of the cover
- Pad with suitable material making sure to grade the stuffing so it is not lumpy against the body.
- Sew the hip pad closed along the open waist edge.
- Tuft the entire hip pad as shown in the diagram.
- Moisten and steam over over the rounded edge of an ironing board or other suitable device to form the pad.
- Attach ties and finish the waist edge with tape.
I decided to just make mine a single layer as I was not concerned with the looks really as this was more of a test. If i make another, it would be for sure out of super pretty fabric. I used quilting weight cotton for this.
After I had sewn the outer edge seam I decided it needed some help, so I added two lines of cording along the edge.
I also decided to build my pad using layers of high loft batting. I know, poly, but its what i had. I cut each piece smaller then the next as i placed it, pinning as i went to keep the stuffing in place and mark where i planned to tuft the pad. I used narrow twill tape for the ties and wide twill tape to finish the waist edge. This was sewn in by hand.
I then spent a while watching Gentlemen Jack and “tufting”. I didn’t exactly know how to go about doing this, so I basically use double thickness of buttonhole weight thread and knotted each area individually. It works. I did not measure, just eyeballed it. I could have measured, but why go to that much trouble when I was already happy on the couch watching my show?
Here is what the final product looks like on its own.
Here is what it looks like on me with my corset on top.
Oh – and last but not least – here is a link to my store where you can download the pattern for free. Please tag me if you make one, I would love to see how you make up yours.
If you are interested in a fully graded and sized version, let me know and I can work on that as a paid product.