Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Beautiful Bloomers!







I had to write a post about these wonderful bloomers! A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to pay a visit to one of my favoutire French dealers. I was rummaging around in some black sacks stuffed with old textiles, and found these! A pair of, presumably, c.1900 (I don't know very much about costume) stripey split-leg bloomers, literally held together with patches and darns. I got them for a mere £5.00, or $7.75.
There are stripes, checks, a little bit of ticking, but mostly soft, slightly fleecy-backed shirting cottons in soft ivories, greys, mid blue and palest indigo blue, hand stitched to each other, and interspersed with quite a bit of darning to boot. The fabrics are so beautifully bleatched and faded over time, these were certainly built to last, and have stood the test of time! A wonderful piece of thifty domestic history. Long gone are the days when the automatic reaction to a hole was to darn and patch, now we simply throw away and buy some more. A shame really, perhaps if we had to make all our own clothes from scratch and on a very limited budget, we would look on things a little differently!

9 comments:

  1. These bloomers are fabulous. I think I would wear them now! I love all the different fabrics, the patching, and the soft and grayed colors. I agree that it is too bad that we throw or give our clothes away instead of mending and repairing. This has so much character and charm.

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  2. Aren't they wonderful! A real snip at $7.75! what I like about them is that the patches are very roughly sewn and darned, it wouldn't take too long at all to do the work, whereas I can remember my Mother darning and patching a bit when I was a little girl, and it always seemed to be quite laborious, time-consuming task. In earlier times, though, I suppose there was so much mending, it had to be performed quickly, and then onto the next garment!

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  3. I suppose that as these were undergarments, the quality of mends were not important, just the speed that they could be put back into circulation!

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  4. Thats very true, an excellent observation, thanks for that!

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  5. In agreement with Mendofleur ... I'd be tempted to wear them. I admit to being seen in public in some Victorian white bloomers (in my younger, slimmer days) but how much more appealing are these stripe upon stripe, and stitch upon stitch patchwork baggy knickers. My husband's jeans have worn through in record time and I thought, why should we girls get all the fun with the ticking, why not patch his trews with some.
    Great postings Lois - thanks XXX

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  6. I like it a lot. He could start a new fashion! xx

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  7. My old friend, the supplier of clothes and textiles for films about the 20s, 30s. Bryony Thopmasson,was very much the first to collect what she called 'patches, darns and holes' as well as things like sacks, string and farm ropes, hammocks (for sick horses), and first introduced me to the world of the thrifty old peasants who knew how to make do and mend. The lore and provenance of these humble relics was as interesting as the objects she collected and her scarecrow figure, Jean, dressed in old country clothes was a familiar sight to us all. Glad the tradition of cherishing and preserving is being carried on because very soon that pre-war life will have been forgotten.

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  8. Thank you for sharing that wonderful story! I shall certainly be continuing the tradition of cherishing and preserving, as items held together with 'patches darns and holes' appeal to me greatly, I will most likely publish posts about some of my other finds of this type, and continue to collect them when I can with very high regard for the historical context of the people who wore, used, mended and lived with these textiles.

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