Sewing for the 1890s when you’re used to the 1880s bustle silhouette is quite a change. There’s no ‘scaffolding’ to change the shape… right? Well, sorry Shakira, but thanks to the awesome extant garment known as the Scott Hip Pad, and the loveliness of yet another stranger, my 1890s hips are definitely lying.
I was hoping to find a way to increase my hip spring just a little bit while wearing my Antique Rose dress as well as any future 1890s garments. But I couldn’t really figure out how I could do that until I remembered that a few years ago I had seen a replica of the Scott Hip Pad listed on Etsy via seller Historika. I went back to see if the seller was currently selling another but had no luck. Hmmm, did that mean that if I did want to make myself one then I’d had to draft it somehow, hoping that I might fluke a success.
I ended up emailing Naomi from Historika to ask her if she had drafted her own pattern and was it difficult to do? And she surprised me by finding her original drafted pattern in her collection and offering to draft a pattern for me (for a very nominal fee), to fit my measurements. Excitedly, I said yes please, transferred the few dollars, and watched the letter box impatiently for it to arrive.
When it arrived I checked what I had and what I needed with the small list included in the instructions Naomi wrote. Once I had everything I needed I set about making this little-bit-of-oomph-giver.
I cut out the pattern pieces and got slightly ahead of myself, starching them before sewing the pieces together (honestly, I love to read for pleasure and research, can follow baking recipes but for some reason, I don’t always read sewing instructions properly…ugh). I gave the pieces a good iron, pinned them together and took them to my sewing machine.
Once the three pads had been made, I got to use my new cording foot for the first time and sewed three rows of cords inside each pad. The instructions called for four but I think three is okay though I might try four next time to see what the difference is.
Once corded, I set in the eyelets with my trusty pliers that I acquired last year when making my corset (I think those pliers are definitely on my must-have-to-make-life-easier list).
Then I stuffed the pads lightly with wool (and let the scent take me back to my very rural childhood upbringing with pet sheep). The side pads were easier to fill than the back one because of the eyelet near the top. Next time I might wait until the pad is half filled before setting that eyelet. I was hesitant about accidentally overfilling the pads and maybe a little too cautious? Fortunately, I have enough natural padding for it to still look good.
I then pinned the pads onto the twill tape, making sure that they were even and as symmetrical as possible. When I was happy with where they were positioned I stitched them down and added a hook and bar closure. I had thought about tying the ties but I was worried that it might cause a bit of a bump where it was secured. I think the hook and bar closure works better.
Originally, a hip pad like this would have been worn under a corset and used more for creating an Edwardian silhouette and I’ll probably end up using this when I do make an Edwardian corset. But I really like how, when worn over my Victorian corset, it improves my 1890s silhouette.
I’m really happy with how it turned out and I’m really grateful to Naomi for making me a pattern to work with and for writing me the instructions (that I mostly? followed). Every time that someone in the historical costuming/fashion history community goes above and beyond a simple answering of questions I’m so blown away by their generosity and love that I have fallen into this hobby.