Bloomers : a tale of :

Here at hettie brown the days have been so busy, time taken up with drafting & then sewing, thinking & pondering all possibilities.

When I made the decision to start making and designing clothing for others, not just myself, my first thoughts were Bloomers.


I have been wearing old bloomers for years and as you can imagine they are rather like hens teeth.  Those that did survive the rigours of Victorian life are sometimes available to purchase,  but not on your local high street.

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To me they are sadly a deeply overlooked essential in any wardrobe, and have a fasinating history ….

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in 1849 women readers of the Water- Cure Journal, a popular health magazine of that time were urged to wear clothing that was not so harmful to their health.  The fashion of that time consisted of a skirt that dragged several inches on the floor, worn over layers of starched petticoats stiffened with straw or horsehair sewn into the hems.  Whale bone corsets pushed internal organs out of place and caused long term health issues. Let alone being incredibly uncomfortable, they effected breathing and impaired the wearer to such an extent that women we’re perceived to be weak and feeble.

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A few brave souls responded to the articale with a variety of outfits many inspired by the pantaloons commonly worn in Turkey.

By the summer of 1850 after wearing the style in private, some of the braver  women began wearing bloomers in public, underneath  a shorter length skirt, with no corset.  Of course the freedom this allowed the wearer was huge, women finding themselves able to to do so many tasks that had, until then been forbidden, such as riding a bicycle.

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Newspapers across the country began reporting this new fashion.   In the February of 1851 Elizabeth Smith Miller wore this Turkish dress to the New York home of Amelia Bloomer author of the temperance journal

The Lily.

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The next month Amelia Bloomer announced to readers of

The Lily

that she had adopted the dress,

& in response to many inquiries, she  printed a discription of her dress and how to make it,

it was dubbed by newspapers as the Bloomer Dress.

During the summer of 1851 the nation was seized by a Bloomer craze.

Bloomer Balls & Bloomers picnics were held, women embraced the new freedom that wearing bloomers allowed them & thus the humble Bloomer became a symbol of women’s rights.

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Some of my bloomers are naturally dyed, made from the softest cotton, cool in summer and warm worn in layers for Winter.

Practical yet beautiful.

Slow clothing that weathers with you.

6 thoughts on “Bloomers : a tale of :

  1. I’d been wondering where you went! I knew some of the history of ‘bloomers’ but so enjoyed your retelling. Your creative efforts are a delight–hopefully you can start a fresh bloomer boom!


  2. HeHe! Reminded me of my English Dad and Granddad…
    Who ‘always’ called the above….’Passion Killers’…which
    used to upset my Grandma….! :).
    “I see you’ve got your Passion Killers on the line dear”.
    Then she used to throw the dish cloth at him! :0).

    I must admit..l do find them sexy looking….!!!

    Oh! And..whale bone corsets….Think l’ll leave it there..! :).


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