Hot! The “Minimalist Lingerie” Ensemble

The Facts
Fabric: polka dot crib sheet, never used; upcycled, never worn, hand-me-down nightgown
Pattern: Colette Madeleine Mini Bloomers
Year: contemporary
Notions: 1/4-inch elastic
First worn: this week
Wear again: yes
Time to complete: a couple hours
Total cost: free-ish

I had some beautiful visions of projects featuring embellishment, but in my summer sleep- and loungewear ensemble this week I admit the embellishment was half-hearted.  We’ve had guests staying in the room where all my sewing stuff lives, and anyways the apartment has been so horribly sticky after several days of around 100 degree temps.  I love summer, and I’m used to these unbearable stretches in New York City without central air conditioning or abundant nature to ameliorate the air quality.  But when it gets to a certain point, I’m not capable of much.  People, I reached that point.

So I made mini bloomers from a crib sheet, cut the tags and the all the hanging bits and baubles that I guess were supposed to be sexy from a designer white cotton nightgown, hemmed it to a comfortable length, and then drew on it with thread.  I encountered this embellishment technique in Amy Karol’s awesome book, Bend the Rules with FabricAmy’s is the first blog I started reading regularly in that shortest longest year after my daughter was born in 2006.  I love her DIY, unperfectionist approach, and I found it at exactly the right point in my life.  All you need to draw with thread is a walking foot; you have to lower the feed dogs and then draw away.  However, my fancy new sewing machine has a special foot primarily for quilting that makes it even easier.  I’ve been meaning to experiment with this special foot (the Bernina Stitch Regulator) ever since I bought the machine last year.  I didn’t actually spend too much time with it this week though.  I set it up and freehanded some curlicues while my daughter was working on a puzzle.  The thin light cotton is probably not suited to my level of expertise.  My stitches looked a lot better on the more substantial twill I briefly practiced on.  But hey, I completed the challenge, I used the fancy foot, I’m calling this a win.



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


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  1. I love your lingerie ensemble. So sweet with the embroidery embellishment. You inspire me to spend time making a cool summer nightie for myself. Enjoy your summer!

  2. Go for it Lee, just plain fun to embellish freehand. It’s. To dam hot in NYC. Spent the day on Govenors Island. There is a really cool exhibits of old gowns. Check it out.

  3. Great way to stay cool in your new little ensemble and conserve your creative talents for weather that is not so unbearable. I love the free-hand embroidery idea. I’l have to try it.

  4. Too cute.. Love the polka dot bloomers.. is hot.. we are having it here in Ms. too..

  5. Love this technique Lee it sure is a win. I’ve seen this idea applied to this clear wash-away solvy stuff which you place in your hoop, you do your freehand swirls over and over, then when you’re finished you place it under water and it dissolves leaving the cotton swirls, I guess you could use it lace trim etc. Not a bad idea I think.

    Your weather sounds unbearable you poor thing hopefully it cools down enough for you to not get to ‘that’ point again.

  6. This looks so fresh and comfortable. I think the embroidery looks really good. It kind of matches the fun of the bloomers. I am a bloomers kind of girl which is probably why I love the shorts so much. They kind of remind me of bloomers.

    The weather is pretty hot here too but I like it. I think it’s because I’m not a fan of the snow.

  7. It is a winner indeed!!! Love it!

  8. Cuteness! Though, I’m perplexed by your no- central A/C comment. What? I live in the D.C. area and thought I would melt into the carpet during this latest freak heat wave…no wonder you felt meh!

    I do dig the simple machine embroidery. And must brave it myself finally.

    • Thank you! Most workplaces have AC, but most people rely on window units in their homes. Why I don’t know. Our window units do a poor job of cooling the place.

  9. These bloomers have been on my to-do list for a while. My friend made them and said she felt like she was wearing a diaper. Sounds like you would recommend them, though, so maybe I’ll try anyway!

    • Actually, they are kind of diaper-like and I already changed the pattern to be more like boxer shorts the next time I make them. But for a low-stakes experiment I’m happy with them.

  10. I’m thinking I may need some kind of polka dot short something soon after seeing these : ) SO sorry about the heat, we had two days of 105 out here and then it cooled down. Here’s hoping you get some cool weather soon!!