Welcome to the first in a series of sewing tutorials by me, Sparklewolfie! I like to share my knowledge in order to better the Lolita community as a whole. I have been sewing for only a few years, but I started out learning with (then scarce) tutorials on the internet. After going to school for sewing, I have learned a lot and would like to help other beginning seamstresses by providing more tutorials. After all, sharing is caring~
Today I am showing a very basic, cheap method of making plain bloomers. It is easy and does not require much sewing experience at all! Bloomers are basic and fun. You can add lace or ruffles and frills to your heart's content. They can be made in a lot of fun fabrics because nobody will see them! For winter, I like to make longer flannel bloomers, which are excellent for keeping warm when layered with wool tights and all the layers of Lolita! After moving to Taiwan though, I found that all my wonderful flannel bloomers which kept me so warm in Minnesota were unwearable in the Taiwan heat! Time for some shorter, lighter bloomers!
First, pre-shrink your fabric by washing it. This prevents unplanned shrinkage after completing your garment. All materials should be pre-shrunk before beginning to sew! Wash/steam/clean it the way you will be cleaning your garment. Otherwise, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise the first time you wash your new clothing!
Clean, dry fabric! Cut the fabric in half from selvage to selvage. This leaves two half-yard lengths. Layer them, right sides facing together. If your fabric is slightly skewed (not at 90 degree angles in the corners) grab opposite corners and pull the fabric until it is square. This prevents your clothes from hanging crookedly later on.
Now measure out your (hip measurement)/2 + 13" (red) and cut off the excess
I made an industry standard size M, so it is 38"/2 + 13" = 19" + 13" = 32"
The 13" is extra room so the bloomers are not super tight when worn! Really you can add however much you want
The blue side is just 1/2 yard for the purpose of this tutorial, but in the future you can make it longer or shorter as you please
Now cut out your crotch curves! The shallow curve goes in the front, and the deeper curve goes in the back (for your booty!)
The depth from waistband to crotch is up to you, depending on where you want it to sit (waist, hips, etc.)
Overlock or zigzag all the way around to prevent fraying
At this point, you should make sure you have one left and one right side. If you ended up with two of one leg, it means that you did not lay the two fabric pieces right sides touching! I have committed this crime before...
Now, fold each piece right-side together,sew up the inseams (the straight area below the crotch curve) on your sewing machine and you should end up with two tube-y legs like this:
Turn one leg right side out
Place the right side out leg inside the inside out leg
Here is a close-up to show what I mean better. Stitch up the U-shaped crotch curve. Make sure you pin the intersection of the inseams before sewing! It is very important to always match your intersections. Not only is it a sign of professionalism, but in areas such as the crotch or underarm, if the intersection is not matched the garment will move strangely and pull incorrectly
Now you should have a pair of very big pants. Time for elastic!
Fold up 1/2" at each leg opening and the waistband, press, and pin. I used 1/2" because my elastic is 1/4" so I will be sewing at 3/8", leaving enough room for elastic. Adjust your seam allowance according to your elastic width
Sew all around, leaving an opening for threading your elastic
Measure out how much elastic you need for each leg and the waistband (remember, it should be a little bit less than your leg/waist measurement so it will stretch a little and stay up)
Stick a safety pin through it and feed it through the channel. Secure the ends of the elastic together with a zigzag stitch (go back and forth a few times), pull it all into the casing, and sew up the hole
And you should have a pair of cute bloomers! Congrats!
Using a 1yd length makes mid-thigh to just below the belly button bloomers. This is the most comfortable for me in summer because the waist area will not be too bulky from layers (bloomers, petticoat, skirts/blouse) and the mid-thigh length is long enough to protect my legs from whatever I am sitting on, but short enough to be airy and comfortable.