Gymnasium Suit


Serge (Chap. I, Par. 62) or

Flannel (Chap. 1, Par. 59) or

Sateen (Chap. I, Par. 32).

Amount of material called for in commercial pattern.

Thread to match material.


Introductory Statement

In order to get the full benefit of the physical training given in the gymnasium, it is necessary to be dressed so that every part of the body may have perfect ease and freedom of motion. The gymnasium suit of some sort, with its short skirt or bloomers, is designed to fill this need.

Bloomers are often worn with a cotton middy, but a suit made in one piece is very desirable.

Woolen material is generally used for gymnasium suits, although sateen, silk and brilliantine are also satisfactory. The woolen material is particularly desirable because it is a poor conductor of heat and for this reason one is less likely to take cold after violent exercise because it does not allow the body to cool too rapidly.

The gymnasium suit shown in this lesson consists of a waist and bloomers joined at the waist line with a band, thus forming one continuous garment.


Hygiene of Clothing, The Care of the Body, Cavanagh. Personal Hygiene, Pyle.

Working Directions For Gymnasium Suit

The Pattern

If desired, a commercial pattern may be used to make a gymnasium suit. A middy blouse may be substituted for the waist which is joined to the bloomers. If this is done, the bloomers should be joined to a band.

With careful planning on your part, the waist of the gymnasium suit shown in the illustration may be cut from a plain shirt waist pattern; the bloomers may be cut from a drawer pattern by allowing extra length and fullness. The back of the waist may be cut like the shirt waist pattern, with a square neck; the front, you will notice, has a square neck and is opened by unbuttoning the gathered piece which is fastened in a band and buttoned to the side fronts of the waist. To cut the front from a waist pattern, cut the neck square and add about 3" to the front of the pattern for fullness; the sleeves are cut short and made full at the top.

Cutting Out The Suit

If a commercial pattern is used, study carefully the guide chart and directions which accompany it. Cut out your suit according to the directions.

If you wish to make a suit like the one shown in the illustration, by using a shirt waist pattern, cut the back piece with the center back of the pattern on the fold and the front piece the same allowing the folded edge to extend about 3" beyond the front edge of the pattern.

To make the flap which is gathered into the band in the front of the waist, cut down from the neck on each side of the waist to within about 2" of the waist line. If the drawer pattern is used for the bloomers, lay pleats in the material the length desired for the bloomers and cut them out; allow several inches on the folded edge of each leg for gathered fullness, making them enough longer than the pattern to allow them to come well below the knees.

The Seams

As a suit of this sort is subjected to considerable strain, it should be joined with strong seams. The French seams, or felled seams, are suitable for this purpose.


After the seams are basted, try on the garment and fit it very loosely. As it is very essential for the body to move freely in every direction in athletic work, the garment worn in a gymnasium should be very easy fitting in every part. After the garment is fitted, remove it and finish the seams.

Finishing The Neck And Front

If you wish to finish the neck in your gymnasium suit like the one shown in the illustration, cut a piece of material about 1 1/2" wide to fit the neck and extend down the front of the waist. Finish the raw edge around this strip with a bound placket on each side (Chap. II, Par. 161). Cut a band about 2 1/2" wide, and long enough (plus seams) to fit across the opening at the neck; turn in the ends, gather the material on the loose front piece into this band, baste and stitch the gathers in place in the band (Chap. II, Par. 142).

The Sleeves

Make a band 4" wide for each sleeve. Join the ends of each band with plain seams. Join the sleeves with French seams and gather the bottom of each sleeve into the band (Chap. II, Par. 142); when the band is completed it should be double.

The sleeves shown in the illustration are gathered at the top. The following is a good method to use when setting in this style of sleeve: Fold the armholes of the waist so the under-arm seam and the shoulder seam lie together. Crease the fold formed on the front and back of the waist. Place the seam of the sleeve about 2 1/4" to 2 1/2" in front of the under-arm seam. Pin the lower edge of the under part of the sleeve to the armhole from the crease in the front of the armhole to the crease in the back. Gather the remainder of the sleeve and adjust it to the upper part of the armhole, allowing the greatest fullness to come at the top of the shoulder. Baste and stitch in place. Overcast or bind the seams on the wrong side.

If you make plain sleeves, they may be set in with lapped seams.

The Bloomers

The bloomers should be gathered or pleated at the top to fit a band which is to join the garments at the waist line (this band should be loose). Finish the bottom of the bloomers with a 1/2" hem; gather in the fullness in each leg with an elastic band tight enough to keep the leg from slipping.

Joining The Waist And Bloomers

Join the waist and bloomers in the following manner: Cut two strips each 2 1/2" wide and as long as a loose waist measure; put on the waist which should be gathered at the waist line; adjust the gathers in the waist; trim off extra material below waist and put on the bloomers. With both edges of the band turned under, pin the lower edge to the bloomers and the upper edge to the waist. Remove the suit, cut away the extra material under the band, allowing the bottom of the waist to extend about 3/4" below the top edge of the band; baste in place; line the band on the wrong side by pinning and basting a strip the same width as the band over the raw edge; stitch it in place. After the suit is joined at the waist line an extra strip the same width as the band and 9" long, may be cut double. The edges of this should be turned in and it may be stitched to the front of the band (as in the illustration) for trimming. A button is placed at each end.


The gymnasium suit in this lesson is fastened with buttons and buttonholes and snaps.


The pocket is sewed to the front of the waist on the left-hand side. Two rows of parallel stitching serve as trimming and also hold it firmly in place.

Pocket 165