Sunday, 15 January 2012

An Elizabethan Bumroll, drafting the pattern

After a busy day and going to see War Horse (a truly brilliant piece of film-making, alternating masterfully between the horrific, the beautiful, the inspiring and great love; and yes, I cried pretty much throughout!) I needed something quiet and relaxing to do.  I decided to draw up the pattern for my bumroll. 

Once again, using the instructions on elizabethancostume.net I slipped back into my corset and took a measurement a couple of inches below my hip.  I followed an interesting tip of using a length of rolled up tin foil, which allowed me to both measure and retain a shape. To keep her from the TV, I enlisted the help of the 10yr old, she took the photos and learnt a little about pattern making for half an hour or so.


We laid the tin foil on a length of greaseproof paper, the 10yr old held it flat and I traced the internal circumference.  I then evened out our rather wonky line by hand.


The instructions suggested adding 5" to each side edge and 8" to the top edge to create the outer edge of the bumroll.  The author of the pattern is 5'11" and "busty"; now whilst I can't claim any bustiness, I am almost equal in height so I started with her suggested measurements.  It was immediately obvious that "busty" counts, after a little discussion the 10yr old and I went for a redraw by eye.


We reduced the outer circumference and then drew a centre parting; the width of the front edges is not stated, we chose to use the width of the ribbon which will be used to tie the bumroll on.


As my drawing wasn't going to be entirely exact both sides, I folded the pattern in half, picked the narrower of the two sides and cut out a now perfectly matched pattern.  The top is extended by 5" and the sides by 3.5".


It still looks rather big so I did a little googling; always a great Google search, "Bumroll", Images!  Most bumrolls look a little thin and insubstantial, not what I imagine them to be at all, certainly not when you look at the historical data.  The TT also has a relatively thin one in their patterns.  I may yet find that this needs amending, I won't know until its at least in fabric form, but I am aiming high... or is it large... with a bumroll that shouts "I'm here" rather than one that disappears under the dress.  Apart from anything else, I am looking at quite heavy fabrics for my main dress, I need a bumroll that can withstand the weight.

The bumroll will be made in the same cream cotton twill, I may line it in the black cotton drill as it is flexible.  It will be tied with black gosgrain ribbon.  I am undecided as to whether to stuff it with fabric (free as I'll raid the stash but harder to do and achieve a good shape, heavier) or polyester batting (better for the shape and firm but light).  I just wish I'd had time to sew it up tonight!

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