Tuesday 17 January 2012


This month, I'm joining in with Kristy, over at Hopeful Threads, sewing bloomers for children in orphanages and foster care in China. The bloomers, in solid colours, are to be worn with dresses, during the Summer months.

I first heard the term, bloomers, when I was about 9 or 10 years of age, in sewing class at school. There were suppressed giggles around the room as Mrs Club described the pattern we were going to draft. We all had visions of the HUGE underpants that we imagined our grandmothers might wear, but NOT US!!! I have no idea whether I successfully drafted the pattern or whether I actually made any bloomers, but I most definitely did not wear what Mrs Club was proposing. Perhaps I can blame Mrs Club for my reluctance to attempt to draft my own patterns, even to this day.

Several years later, when I attended High School (beginning at age 12), our Physical Education uniform changed from shorts and top, to a very short dress and.... bloomers. This time, however, they were vastly smaller than my first encounter. They were still, however, made of a very, thick, cotton fabric and not particularly attractive to teenage girls. The upside was that they were totally practical, adequately covered what they were meant to cover and everyone else was wearing them... at least, all the girls were wearing them. So, for the next six years, I wore bloomers with my PE uniform. My mother (who reads this blog... hi Mum), would have sewn those maroon coloured bloomers along with the PE uniform.

Ha ha.. the pic shows me in that PE uniform, at about 16 years of age. Thankfully, the bloomers are hidden. During those years, I played tennis and later squash, outside school. My preference was always to wear shorts and a top, but when I wore skirts, I also wore stretch, sports pants. Bloomers were strictly for school, when we had no choice.

So, when I saw Kristy's monthly project announcement, I laughed at the memories which came flooding back, of Mrs Club and those HUGE bloomers.

Kristy suggested we use a shorts pattern and modify it. Once again, I have used the 30 Minute Shorts pattern, purchased from Create HOPE Designs. I added half the length of the boys extension cuff to the legs and instead of 1/2" elastic at the waist, I've used 1/4".

The brief was to use solid colours. I really had to resist the urge to make them in a pretty print, but resist I did. Just as well, because they are to go with specific uniforms. I have used cotton fabric, but a light poplin. And, to make the bloomers a little more girlie, I've used shirring around the legs. You may recall I used shirring on Lucy's Little Flower Dress and how keen I was to do shirring again. As well as looking great and being comfortable, I just love the way the shirring elastic shrinks when I steam it.

I don't think these bloomers are anything like the bloomers of my youth. In fact, I think they are quite sweet. I've seen the bloomers Kristy has made and they are cute as.

According to the Macmillan Dictionary Thesaurus, bloomers are an old fashioned piece of women's underwear that is loose and covers the area from the waist to the knee. This is exactly the image that Mrs Club's sewing lesson evoked. Perhaps all I need is a name change...

This brings back memories of another under garment worn with our high school uniforms... witches britches. These were worn against the wishes of the school authorities, but wear them we did. It was the era of the mini skirt. School uniforms were a regular length, but they came with belts. We, of course, hitched our dresses up over the belt so they were rather short. During winter it was cold and so we wore witches britches for warmth and yes, I suppose a bit of rebellion in there as well. The witches britches were designed to show, but we could quickly adjust clothing so they didn't show, when required.

Oh my!!! What a fashion that was!!! And we thought we looked cool.... LOL!!! Thankfully, that was a fashion which didn't last. And thankfully, there are no photos of me in that fashion. Ah, but I do have one of my sister. Hmmmm.... my life wouldn't be worth living if I were to show that photo. Don't worry, Sis, your photo is safe with me!!!

I really have digressed here!!! But, hey, I've had fun reminiscing. Head on over to Hopeful Threads, and read about the wonderful work that Kristy does. The world is a much better place, thanks to people like Kristy. I look forward to seeing what next month's project is Kristy...

Have you had a look at our three ongoing link parties? Head on over for lots of fabulous ideas and inspiration. Link up your bags and dresses...

... Pam


  1. Love them :) The shirring definitly adds some prettiness! They don't remind me of the old netball bloomers from school either lol

  2. Pam, I love this post!!! This was so fun to read! And that picture of you ADORABLE!!!! Love the shirring effect on the "bloomers"....perhaps we should come up with our own new name??? ;) Thank you so much for sewing along and for your amazing, ongoing support of Hopeful Threads! Hugs!!!

  3. What cute bloomers! and such a great post Pam! Fun and interesting to read! Well done on taking part and promoting another great cause!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  4. LOVE the picture of you as a teen and love your memories of bloomers! The bloomers will be adorable on the girls!

  5. These will be so adorable on little ones! I enjoyed seeing the picture of 16 year old you.

  6. I love reading your post..I've learned so much. The picture of you in the PE uniform is really cute..I wish I could see the bloomers ;)

    From the definition, now I have a picture of Mrs.Club's bloomers like those they would wear in the time of Shakespeare. :))

  7. Awww they are bloomin' wonderful! (Sorry)
    Loved reading your memories, and your sister can be very grateful that you have so much discretion!

  8. Awww! Cute bloomers! I remember my SIL telling me when they came back from a trip to China, that a lot of the little kids wore split pants... these had a split crotch so that when they wanted to go to the loo, they just kinda stood with their feet appart and crouched. Yeah.
    I had a little chuckle reading your reminiscings... I would have loved to see that picture of your sister! LOL Now I will just have to go and google images of "witches britches". :)

  9. What a very nice post! I love the bloomers but I remember I profoundly refused wearing the matching gingham bloomers in Kindergarten - I called them parachute pants...I guess because they were so, you know…spacious.

  10. How cute!! Glad to have you at Things I've Done Thursday!


  11. What a great cause! I love the bloomers you made. I know I think of the old time ones too when I hear bloomers. The photo of you is adorable! LOVE IT! Thanks so much for linking up with us this week.

  12. Good for you! They look really cute. I'm thinking of bloomers for my first ever sewing for my kid project-yours look great x

  13. What a great to make up some bloomers. I can totally understand not wanting to wear them as a teenager though, LOL! Thanks for linking up with Finished It Friday.
    ~Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva

  14. Well, what a relief to see no picture of my bottom in my witches britches posted here! Your life is still worth living, Pam. I agree we looked pretty cool in them, and I loved my blue and maroon striped ones that matched our school uniform. If only my knickers were as warm and my bottom as small as it was then!

    1. Mine were a pale blue. I envied your brightly coloured ones... LOL!!!

  15. cute bloomers! Thanks for linking up to the Tuesday Talent Show! I hope to see you again next week!
    Chef in Training

  16. Thank you so much for sharing last week on Thingamajig Thursday. This is a great cause and the little bloomers are so cute! I love your trip down memory lane, too.

    Hope to see you again this week!

  17. Super cute! and I loved reading about some of your memories.

  18. Wow Pam , we used to wear those kind of shorts not only for PE, but on a daily basis when working on farming duties, and when playing after school hours. we also wore a different kind, with a `bit longer legs`, that were folded inwards and were held with elastic, but the `longer` leg made it look as if they had no elastic. those were supposed to be more festive. In Israel the pioneer women who worked with the men on building roads and every other hard work, they turned their skirts into shorts, for easier working.


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