Yes, no kidding, there is a piece of clothing called a bum roll. It is also known as a barrel roll. It is really a very simple garment with an unfortunate name. Essentially it is a bolster with tapes at either end and tied around the waist. The extra padding was used to distend a female’s skirt, in essence it pushes the skirt out generally over the rump (hence the name). The shape varies from sausage shape to cresent to fit the human form better. Constructed out of a variety of woven fabrics and stuffed with horsehair or rags in the period or cushion stuff in modern times.

The first appearance of the bum roll was during the Elizabethan era when the Spanish farthingale morphed into the English farthingale, from a bell shape into a cartwheel shape. It was used during different periods from then on sometimes different shapes but generally positioned in the same place. The last time it was used in serious fashion was when the bustle was reduced from a whalebone frame to a bum roll.

Within costuming circles the bum roll is used to give shape to all manner of costumes. A versatile piece of clothing with a funny name.


For more information and images go to
www.costumes.org

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