Bloomers as outerwear?

Not too long ago when I was stuck sitting still for awhile, I went through a website for a shop in Hong Kong that makes Gothic Lolita clothing.  Now, I am far too old to wear Lolita clothes and not look like I’m wearing a costume.  However, the separates are basically what I wear regularly, anyway.  I got to the page of bloomers they carry, and upon seeing the first pair, my brain screamed out, “SHORTS!”

Yes, shorts.  I live in a hot state.  Very, very hot, for several months a year.  And I loathe the heat.  But I haven’t worn shorts outside of my home for a few years.  Mostly because, well, shorts are boring, and anyway I almost always prefer skirts to something that has legs in it.  I mulled over the idea of bloomers-as-shorts for a couple of weeks then got busy.

Typically I keep a lot of lightweight black cotton broadcloth on hand, as it’s a versatile fabric and certainly good for this climate.  Of course I was going to use the broadcloth for the shorts themselves; for the ruffles I toyed with lace ribbon or regular ruffles made for the broadcloth, and settled on the latter because I had a new ruffler foot for my sewing machine and I wanted to try it out.  For the design, I decided mid-thigh length, 3 ruffles around the lower part of the legs, and a plain, somewhat fitted body with an elastic waist.  I wasn’t making these for a period style, I just wanted “bloomers lite” and they had to be comfortable.

Then I thought about getting some white eyelet ribbon to sew on the bottom of the legs, but in the midst of the project I went to an outstanding estate sale where I picked up some ribbons and laces, still on their spools.  One of those was an antique-white crochet-style ribbon that would be perfect for the bloomers, and there certainly was enough of it: there were probably 30 yards of it wrapped around the spool!

Over a few days’ time I got the bloomers finished, and as a finishing touch I sewed on a couple of small rosettes on the top of the row of ruffles.  What do you think?

me wearing the bloomers

my sexy, sexy legs


a better view of the front

a better view of the front


detail of ruffles, lace, and rosette

detail of ruffles, lace, and rosette

The white lace is much more textured than I could get to show up in a photograph.  See that sheen on the black fabric?  That’s not a photo anomaly, it’s a nice subtle sheen, but not as much shine as satin.

If you want to make them yourself, I recommend buying a very basic elastic-waist pants pattern, then altering it to fit your unique body.  The pattern I used is one I bought several years ago that included basic pants, a basic top and 2 basic skirts.  I’ve probably made half a dozen pairs of pants, 2 pair of bloomers, some pajamas, several skirts, and a couple of petticoats just from using that one pattern and altering it to make it different every time.  A ruffler foot for your machine will really speed up making those ruffles, post to come in the near future about that neato device.


One thought on “Bloomers as outerwear?

  1. Pingback: Patterns, or the lack thereof « madwhimsy

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