Saturday, 15 August 2015

Ruched Bloomers

My most popular post to date is the Flexi Shorts hack to make ruched bloomies! 

I know quite a few of you ladies have mentioned that you love the look, but you're reluctant to try it because shirring elastic gives you the heebie jeebies! 

So I thought I'd do a tutorial on how to get the same effect with 4 or 6mm elastic instead. 

I must admit, now that I've made a few this way, I actually prefer it. 

I'll go through the whole construction method again for the first timers, also Ive changed the elastic to start at the front instead of side seams.

I used the Flexi Shorts by Tadah Patterns to make these. I've been taking about 1" off the leg length to make it more bloomie style than shorts - you don't have to do this if you'd prefer them longer or regular and also I wouldn't recommend doing this for sizes smaller than a 1.

In addition to the requirements of the pattern you'll also need some 4 or 6mm elastic. 

Take your two front pieces, right sides together and sew from top to start of crotch, finish seam with your preferred method - press seam to left side. 

Lay your front piece down, right side up. Lay one back piece on top, right sides facing and match up the sides. Sew and finish with your preferred method. Repeat with other side and press side seams toward the back. You should end up with one long piece 

For flat front, cut a piece of medium or light weight interfacing to fit the front of your waistband x 1" wide and iron onto the front. 

Starting with your waist fold raw edge over 1/4", press and fold 1.25" and press well. Or, if you're lazy and don't really care about hiding seams, like me you could just overlock and fold over the 1.25" :) 

Fold cuffs over 1/4", press, fold 1/2" and press well. Again, you can just overlock and fold over 1/2"

Match back pieces, right sides together, unfold waist fold and leg cuffs folds and sew top to start of crotch and finish with your preferred method, press the seam to the right. Refold waist and cuffs and press them again. 

With your shorts inside out match the crotch seams together, unfold the leg cuffs and match the inner leg seams - sew and finish. Refold the cuffs and press. 

Sew the elastic casing on the cuffs, leaving a 2" gap to insert elastic later. 

Lay your shorts down, wrong side out, front facing up. Measure 3" in from the side seam on each of the front pieces and make a mark on the waistband 

Using that Mark as a guide, measure 1.25" down from the waist seam line and make a mark - this is where you will start your elastic from.

Draw a line down to the leg hem line 


Optional: top stitch the top folded edge of your waist as close to the edge as possible (approx 1/8"). This is totally a personal choice!

Sew your elastic casing from the mark you made earlier on the waistband all the way to the other mark. 

This elastic table is the one I've been testing myself - I've not made ALL the sizes, so I suggest you don't cut your elastic to size till you've pinned it at the correct spots - if it looks too long or too short, then adjust accordingly. I've made a 0 right through to 5 and they're all ok so far.


Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic. Insert your elastic into the casing - leaving a 1/2" tail of elastic toward the front of the shorts waist. 

Anchor down the elastic, go back and forth a few times to anchor the elastic down well. Remember to go slowly as this will be visible - I like to keep my needle down and pivot and follow the first line of sewing - repeat at least twice. 

Pull the pin through till the elastic at the other opening. Again leave a tail of 1/2" toward the front of the shorts, remove the safety pin and pin down from the outside to hold in place and sew down to anchor the elastic - again go up and down a couple of times to make the anchor strong. 

Set your needle in the last stitch of the elastic casing (left hand side of shorts) and sew down the front of the waistband. 

Grab your 4 or 6mm elastic and lay it down along the line you drew on the inside front of the shorts 

Cut the elastic at the top of the leg cuffs (where my thumb is) and then cut that piece in half to create one elastic length for each leg 

Pin down one tip of the elastic at the top marking you made earlier and the other tip of the elastic at the leg cuff. 

Stretch it out and find the apporximate mid point and pin there too. 

Set your needle in the elastic at the top pin and back stitch. 

Then stretch the elastic out to the middle pin and hold the waistband with one hand and the middle pin with the other 

Stop at the middle pin and keep your needle down. Remove the middle pin and stretch the elastic between the middle and leg cuff and sew down - back stitch at the end.

Repeat for the other leg. 

This is what it will look like from the inside 

Thread through your leg cuff elastic, sew closed the hole and you're done! 

Happy sewing and don't forget to post a pic of your creation in the Tadah Facebook Group 

Tanya xx


  1. Thank you so much for this! I had been seeing ese and wanting to learn how to make them. These are awesome!!!

    1. You're so welcome Christine! I love them too! Would love to see some pics when you make them xx

  2. Thank you so much for this! I had been seeing ese and wanting to learn how to make them. These are awesome!!!

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  4. Perfect tutorial! Thanks so much

  5. Awesome tute Tanya! Do you have the leg elastic lengths hon?

  6. What a great tutorial, thank you so much! Now I just need to find a hack for the LL collar suit and my life will be complete x

    1. Check out Create Kids Couture patterns - it's called the sparrow top/dress - it's doesn't have a playsuit option but you can mash the top with any playsuit bottom and it'll work :)

    2. Thank you thank you! My daughter has been begging me to make her the collar suit. You are a genius! Thank you again xo

  7. Hi there! I just wondered if I would use just the normal waist hem for a flat front? Or would it be next to use a paper bag waist height seam? Bit hard to explain but I think you would understand that.

    1. Hi Emma, so sorry I missed this! I've made with both the normal and paperbag waists - and I think lately I prefer the paperbag waist a bit more

  8. Hi Tanya, thanks for this tutorial really love these Ruched Bloomers. I also bought the Flexi Shorts pattern and was wanting to know which shorts you used to make the bloomers.

    1. Hi Ruth, I use the basic shorts version - either the paperbag cut or the standard cut, depending on what look you're going for.

  9. Thank you so much - I am quite the novice sewer but this was so helpful and easy to follow - even when I made an error by sewing both the back and front pieces together first - it still worked by sewing just one side seam and then pressing the waist and cuff seams - maybe just a bit more fiddly!

  10. This is a great tutorial. Easy to follow! Do you have the elastic lengths for the leg openings though?

  11. A little confusing.... It says to sew elastic casing from the 3 inch marks made on the waistband and then to anchor the elastic at those points. Yet the picture of the blue pair show this being done at the side seams instead. So which is it??

  12. I'm in the process of making these shorts and the updated version is very confusing.
    Can you please answer these questions:
    You're original hack post says to cut the waist elastic @ 7.75" (20cm) but the updated version says to cut @ 11.75" (30cm) why is there a 2" (10cm) difference?
    In the original post your instructions say to sew the elastic casing from "SIDE SEAM TO SIDE SEAM". The updated version instructions say to "SEW ELASTIC CASING FROM THE MARK YOU MADE EARLIER ON THE WAISTBAND ALL THE WAY AROUND TO THE OTHER MARK".

    So which is the CORRECT method and which are the correct elastic measurements???

    Thank you!