In comparing the up-to-date girl with the old-fashioned girl we found that the modern girl spends much of her time playing tennis, hockey, basket ball and in taking long hikes. This makes it necessary for the up-to-date girl to have a type of garment in her wardrobe which the old-fashioned girl never had. She must have garments that permit her to have perfect freedom of movement. Bloomers and knickers answer this requirement, so they have become very popular. These garments which give so much freedom of movement to the modern girl and woman are symbols of woman's long struggle for equal rights in government, in business and in society generally. Bloomers are named after a Mrs. Bloomer who devised and wore them first about 1840 at Seneca Falls, New York, the town where the first woman suffrage convention was held a few years later. The bloomer has steadily won its way to favor, especially in recent years. The first bloomers were full and long enough to be gathered in at the ankles. Imagine the inconvenience of wearing such bloomers, especially in the gymnasium. Bloomers have been so well liked that they are frequently worn as an undergarment. The bloomers worn for sports or in the gymnasium are fuller than the bloomers worn as an undergarment. These latter fit the leg more closely. Sometimes the bloomers are made to match the dress and then the combination is called the bloomer dress.
The different kinds of bloomers and knickers are made from the same type of pattern and put together in the same general way. However, the knickers are more difficult to cut and make. Therefore, it will be wise for any one who has not had experience in sewing to select the bloomers rather than the knickers for this sewing problem.
Bloomer Construction. - In the first part of Fig. 43 you will see a pair of Indian leggings. The Indian always wore these as a separate covering on each leg and tied them with a leather thong to his belt so they would not slip off. The bloomers that you wear are made on this plan, except that, instead of tying each leg to your belt with a string, the two legs are sewed together and put into a belt. The second part of Fig. 43 shows the two legs of a pair of bloomers before they have been sewed together and the third part of the picture shows them after they have been sewed together and put into a belt.
Try cutting a small paper pattern for one leg of a pair of bloomers. These might be cut from notebook paper or wrapping paper. As soon as you have finished cutting your pattern compare it with the bloomer pattern shown in Fig. 44 and ask yourself the following questions to see if you really understand this type of pattern.
1. Did you think to allow extra length in the back? This is necessary so that the wearer has room to sit comfortably. Can you find the back in Fig. 44?
2. Did you make the two edges that sew together to form the leg of the same length? Can you find these edges in Fig. 44?
3. Did you cut your pattern wide enough to allow for fullness at the waist and knee?
4. Did you make the top and bottom edges different in shape? Fig. 44 will show you how the top and bottom are usually shaped. If you made mistakes in your small pattern it will be worthwhile for you to try to cut a better one. This will help you to understand the full size bloomer pattern from which you will cut you own bloomers.
Ordering Your Pattern. - The class should now decide with the help of the teacher whether all the girls in the class will make gymnasium bloomers, or whether some girls will make bloomers to match dresses or bloomers to be worn as undergarments. If you already have all the bloomers that you need it will be a good plan to make them for your sister. Appoint a committee to buy the patterns that will be necessary for the class. It is economical to get only one or two patterns of each size and kind. These patterns are made to fit girls of average size for different ages, so if you are large for your age you may require a pattern for an older girl. Give your committee definite directions for purchasing the patterns.
Suitable Materials. - It will be advisable to appoint another committee to go to the stores and get samples of suitable materials. This committee should get not only the samples, but the width of each material and the cost per yard. The committee should be ready to make its report at the next lesson. When you made the kimono type of garment you became familiar with several kinds of cotton cloth. Some of these materials are also suitable for making bloomers that match certain dresses. Bloomers are often made from other materials such as galatea and sateen. Your committee should get samples of all the materials suitable for making bloomers. Each girl should also ask her mother for samples of suitable material that she may bring to school for the next lesson.
Selection of Material. - Before you can select your material wisely, you should have a clear understanding of the characteristics and use of each of these materials. Make a more complete list on the blackboard than the one given below of the materials that are suitable for each type of bloomers. You may find that the same material is suitable for two different types of bloomers.
Gymnasium bloomers 1. Galatea