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?
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.