Hello Snuggies! I’ve been working, almost to the exclusion of everything else, on my Spring Wardrobe Capsule and rest assured…. I ‘m almost done. Of the 16 pieces in the Spring Capsule, four were shoes and two were already-existing (denim jacket and upcycled sweater). I’ve finished six of the ten made—from—scratch garments in the plan. Actually, I’ve finished seven of 11, since the ‘already made’ sweater upcyle was actually a make. But let’s not split hairs, shall we?
The first of the makes I’m showing off are my super-awesome, I’m going to live in them, denim bloomers. I’ve been plotting patchy denim bloomer-jeans for at LEAST the last two years, and I’ve been stocking up on the denim to prove it. When I thrift I always check for denim dresses and shirts of a good weight for easy going bloomers. I soak most denim finds in bleach once I get home for some extra personality. The bleaching softens the fabric and makes it extra cozy.
For this pair, I started with…
- One full length floral denim dress, button front, size XL bleached from super dark to a nice mix of mid tones and print
- One full length dotted denim dress, button front, size XL bleached from super dark to low contrast light denim and white dots
- One giant denim work shirt from a prior employer (actually, it was Jeff’s shirt) – bleached from pretty dark to pretty light
- One zany size mens’ XL button up shirt in a mix of indigo patchwork cotton prints. No bleaching.
- A pair of Jeff’s cast off Levi’s.
- A bit of mass produced ecru crocheted lace from the Hobby Lobby
My favorite bloomer pattern is an amalgam of what’s worked for me over the years for comfy and a shape I like. Here’s the basic shape…
So a basic elasticized waist, more ‘fitted’ (as you can get with elastic) yoke and then legs that are wider/more gathered. Cuff treatment varies, depending on my mood and what’s available.
I knew I wanted a pieced denim look and initially intended to piece the denim into yardage and then cut pieces from that. But once I had all my denim laid out in front of me, I realized the back bodice of the floral denim made for an interesting start for the yoke, so I decided to ‘piece as I went’.
**Note for the more advanced here… my basic pattern has a center front and center back seam and since I started with a full front piece from the dress bodice, I was really lost for a while. I had no center front and it was too ‘blocky’. At the end, I pieced as close as I could get and then turned the legs, right sides together and sewed the crotch curve in a shape that I knew worked for me. For most, that will make no sense. For those of you like me… it was a serious ‘aha’ moment’.**
The first try was a mess. the front yoke was about six inches shorter then it needed to be and SUPER fitted… sort of like an ‘I dream of Genie” vibe with a good 3” of belly showing under my belly button. It might have worked, but it wasn’t really what I wanted, so I went back to the drawing board.
Before we dig in, here’s the finished duds…
You can see in the photo below the patchwork cotton that I fit in on the yoke – that’s the space that I was ‘missing’ from my first try. I was smart enough to baste everything together so was able to clip apart and rebuild from the ground up
I had planned on an elasticized or drawstring waist, but the optics on the first round (no button fly) were not good. Before I added the lighter denim button fly, the dark blue floral denim formed a sort of triangle pointed at my groin… it kind of had a swimsuit vibe going on. I added the button fly to break up the odd granny-mermaid look it had going on initially.
Since I had a lot of denim to work with, it was super fun. I had TWO full button front dresses, so I used the button fronts to add a fun detail to the back of the legs. One of the denims was just regular denim that I bleached out, the other is a dotted denim the I bleached out. The plackets provide coverage so that it’s comfy to sit down – the buttons aren’t poking in to the back of my legs.
And yes. They aren’t centered. It took three episodes of West Wing to get them set that well. I moved on.
The back/pockets are from a pair of Jeff’s cast off jeans, along with the super dark patches. I just cut out the back as one and liked they way they looked, so all is good. I’m not in love with how they kind of look like cut offs. I tried to ameliorate by adding the patch on the left side, but still don’t love. But I LOVE that I’m wearing Jeff’s castoffs and so does he!
The pattern is meant to be drawstring. I drew in the waist quite a bit just how I cut the pattern, but it was still a bit loose so I added some elastic to the back waist. This is a cool trick for ALL denim which I had never thought of… the waistband is two layers, so I cut in and inserted the elastic right into the waistband! Dark blue thread makes the securing stitching practically invisible. Totally will consider for my regular denim (all two pairs) going forward.
The cuffs were super fun. On one leg I used the bottom hem from one of the dresses… because who wants to do extra hemming – AMIRIGHT? On the other side I used the buttonhole placket from the giant workshirt. I LOVE the detail!
The cuff trim is store-bought crochet trim from Hobby Lobby. I REALLY tried to make a heavier cuff work — like I had white bloomers on underneath. But all my tests were just heavy and messy looking. Lace is much lighter and still a pretty detail.
I was a little more self-indulgent with the label than I usually am. Instead of the back waist with the occasional showy OUTSIDE placement, I put the label on a patch down by the hem. Growing up in the days of Esprit sweatshirts, I’m usually anti-label anything. But this is fun and I love our little Snugbug hound drawing!
These are already shaping up to be a favorite wear for me. I love the bloomer shape and in the summer frequently wear my other bloomers with tanks and a cardi if needed. These are a perfect weight to make it in the winter with tall boots and a pair of leggings and will wear into the warmer months easily with the lighter weight denims I chose.
Here they are on….
And from the back – super cute, right? I was totally shaking my rump roast while Jeff was taking pics….
Total Fabric used… about 2.5 yards (total) of denim, 1 yard crocheted trim, 1 foot elastic, perle cotton for patches
Total cost… Hard to estimate…. 3 thrifted garments + 1 shirt in my closet and a pair of cast off jeans were used, so total fabric cost was around $20, with tons left over. Lace was $3 or $4 a yard. Estimate around $25 in materials.
Total time… I didn’t track too closely… but these took a while. A couple of hours for the initial planning and cutting. I basted together 2 or 3 times to get the yoke to fit properly – another 2 hours there. It took FOREVER to get the legs set in correctly and the crotch properly stitched. Another 2 hours. Then another hour or so for stitching on my machine, adding the lace and elastic. So 8-10 hours total
Pattern rating… this is my own pattern, so of course I love it!
Curvy girl rating…4… I like this silhouette for ‘pants’ – I usually wear dresses and dislike most RTW trousers on me, but these are fun and flowy.
Liklihood to make again… again, this is one of my favorite patterns, so I will DEFINITELY be making again. In addition, I’m really loving these in denim, so might even do another version of patchy denim!
Seriously, these are so super cute on!
Patty! How lovely your refashions are. You have a unique style – it suits you. Keep making…
You are so cute in these, it hurts. I am planning on a sewing weekend starting at noon today. I’m really motivated and inspired thanks to you and some other wonderful sewists out here on the net. I’m doing a 4×4 plan. Only problem is I can’t find my Tina Givens patterns! I know they are here somewhere. But I am definitely going to try to make a pair of bloomers.
Ah! I HATE when I lose patterns! Can’t wait to see what you make — and a sewing weekend sounds AWESOMEPANTS (errr… awesomebloomers?) XO – P