A Bum Pad for Charlotte: “Cinderella”

Work on “Cinderella” is progressing . . . right now I am in the “there is no WAY we will get all of this done in 8 weeks” state of panic.   Where do you even start?

For me, it was an easy decision to start with Charlotte, since that is the part my daughter will play.  I have an assortment of dresses to upcycle for her costumes, and she is an easily accessible “victim” for fittings and trials of different “looks”.  Previously she and I had explored different hoop shapes, and we ended up deciding to use a short 3-tiered hoop with a 30″ diameter.  We also are going to use bum-pads.  I originally had though of using the pannier look, but decided against it due to constraints of time and budget.

I ordered a really cute light pink and blue damask-looking “corset” from LightintheBox for Charlotte to wear in the scene where she is in her “underwear”.  This post is about making the coordinating bum pad.  She will also need a little bit of filler around the top of the corset (as it is a little bare) and she will wear pantalettes.  If I have time I’d like to make/remodel her hoop so that is has a cage look and is trimmed appropriately, but, we’ll see how time goes.

corset top

The Prototype Bum Pad

I decided to make a sample “everyday” bum pad before I made something fancier for Charlotte.

I used this Simplicity pattern.  I had traced the pattern piece on to a large shopping bag to avoid cutting the original pattern.  I wasn’t real careful about it as this isn’t a project where details matter.  You can see I did mark in the various sizes along the fold, and the smallest and largest cutting lines on the front edge.

pattern traced for use

I used an old sheet for this project.  Really, for a bum pad, you can use about any scrap fabric you have lying around.  Under most circumstances, no one will ever see it.

The dotted line is a sewing line that helps shape the pad, and hold the stuffing in place.  I marked the end of the line with dots of pencil.

pencil dots for the stitching line

For the ruffle, I measured twice the width that I wanted (including the seam allowance x 2) and tore strips of fabric.

tearing strips for the ruffles

In preparation of making the ruffles, I sewed the strips together using a narrow seam.

narrow zig-zag seams to join the strips

Next I ironed the fabric in half.  I am a big fan of ironing.  It isn’t necessary, but, it can eliminate some need for pinning.  (I also really need to replace the feed dogs on my sewing machine as they are pretty worn, and this helps me limp along).

ironing in the ruffle fabric in half

On a whim, I decided that I was going to play with my ruffler.  I had bought it before we did “Grease” thinking I would want to make/upgrade petticoats but, time escaped I never learned how to use it.  This project was the motivation I needed.  I haven’t tried ruffling and attaching in the same step, but I am kind of liking the ruffler.  I do a lot of “squish” ruffling, but, the drawback is that it does make for slow sewing as you have to keep stopping and squishing the fabric you are going to stitch over.   I have nothing against running a gathering thread if I have to, but, since I remembered I had this toy . . .

I started out using some eyelet trim and Wow!  Once I figured out how to attach the ruffler (only two broken needles!) and thread the fabric . . .I was off!  I don’t like that you can’t start at the very end of the fabric, and I was not able to get the seams in the fabric srip to go through, but, otherwise, I am a fan. (And speaking of breaking needles . . if you’ve been zig-zagging, make sure you set it back to straight stitch or there goes another needle . . .)

ruffled eyelet

Ruffler in action:

playing with the ruffler

Once the ruffle was done I made some ties.  I tore another strip of fabric, and ironed one side under about 1/4″.  I then folded the strip in roughly thirds and ran a row of zig-zag down the center.

making the ties

The strip of ruffle fabric is sewn to right-sides-together toward the inside of the bum pad.  I didn’t pin it, I just sewed about at the 5/8″ line.

sewing the ruffle to the bum pad

Then I sandwiched the ruffle in between the two layers and pinned them together.  I sewed along the previous stitching line for the ruffle.

sewing over the ruffle stitching line

The tie was inserted into the seam.  I did a little back-and-forth stitch reinforcement since there will be stress on the insertion.  I also made sure the edge of the ruffle was tucked down and away from the stitching line.  Once the layers were all sewn together I flipped it inside out and checked to make sure none of the ruffle was caught in the seam.

the tie is inserted into the seam for stiching

Then I clipped the curves and trimmed the corner off at an angle, being careful not to clip through the stitching line.

I sewed part way across the top,  leaving a small opening for the stuffing.  The pins mark the edges of the opening, since it is hard to see.

opening left for stuffing

I smoothed the pad out flat and pinned the layers together along the line where  the stitching line was marked (dotted line on the pattern).  This was then sewn, and then the pad was stuffed.  The pad could be stuffed with pretty much anything–fabric scraps, plastic store sacks, pillow filling, or commercial stuffing.  If you put snaps or velcro on the opening, you could stuff it when you wanted to wear it, and then pull the stuffing out for storage (if space is an issue).  The pattern instructions are vague about how full the pad is supposed to be (this was the only thing I looked at the instructions for, lol).  One tip for stuffing is to tear the first pieces fairly small, and fill the edges, corners and any tiny parts first and then move on to the main sections.

I have played around with this pad under garments trying to figure out how full it should be.  I haven’t closed the top  yet . . . hopefully soon!

Don’t forget that the pad will pull up the back of your skirt.  You may need to accomodate for this when making skirts and petticoats.  For our show, we will make some new skirt/petticoats with a “dip” in the front.  Some we will wear under the bum pad, with an overskirt over the top.  It won’t be as nice, but it will do . . .

Charlotte’s Pad

Charlotte wears her undergarments out on stage as she is prepping for the ball.  I thought she should have something a little more fashion conscious than an old white sheet.  I found a piece of thrift store blue fabric in my stash that toned with the blue in the corset.

The ruffles for this one were a single layer and I trimmed them with eyelet and pink organza ribbon.  I had three strips of fabric 45″ wide, ruffled, and that gave me enough to go around the pad, plus I had a strip left over so I added it to the back of the pad (before I sewed it into the sandwich).  I zig-zagged the ruffle to the pad piece, and then added an eyelet ruffle to cover the  raw edge, which rather wanted to ravel.  I could also have bound that edge with bias tape, or the ribbon, but this worked fine.  I am not real concerned about the fabric continuing to ravel as the pad probably won’t ever be washed.  I also added a couple pink bows, which are sewn in place.

ruffle topstitched on, covered with eyelet ruffle

I did stuff this pad really full.  Charlotte is supposed to be a little over the top, and the pad will be supporting her heavy ball gown.  I used bias tape for the ties.  Once it was stuffed I sewed the opening shut by machine.  Not gorgeous . . but who cares?

stitching the bum pad closed

The finished pad:

extra ruffle added to the back

The corset I bought is obviously a somewhat different style than the one on the pattern picture, but I think on stage it will look good.  I imagine someone will tighten her corset in the back, and then while other dialogue is going on, she will tie on her pad, and I rather imagine the audience will find her primping humorous.

Next project . . . a new petticoat to go over the top!

7 thoughts on “A Bum Pad for Charlotte: “Cinderella”

  1. Can you post how you made Charlotte’s hoop? I’m also working on this show and rely heavily on up cycling and repurposing in my costuming.

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    • I purchased them. You can find them online through ebay, or aliexpress or lightinthebox for give or take $7-8/hoop. I looked at purchasing tubing to make them (polypiping, zip ties, plastic tubing, plumbers coil/drain snake–all ideas I found online) and I also looked at purchasing bulk steel hoop steel. For time and effort, I just bought them. Only so many hours in my day!

      I picked the 3-hoop tea length hoop, it is about 30″ in diameter at the bottom. We liked that silhouette the best, and it also is less bulky around the bottom as the girls are trying to dance.

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  2. Pingback: Dressing “Charlotte”: Cinderella (Broadway Version) | costumecrazed

  3. Pingback: Dressing Charlotte (Cinderella): Market Dress | costumecrazed

  4. Pingback: The Bum Pad revisited–Ideas for Quick Production, Assembly Line Construction and Storage | costumecrazed

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