Straight Leg Philippa Pants Tutorial (with free sailor jeans pockets pattern)


I wanted a pair of straight leg Philippa pants for summertime, so I made a simple alteration to the Philippa pants pattern for a looser fitting leg. Keep reading to find out how you can alter these tapered pants to create a straighter leg. 

First determine how much wider you want your pants to be. I decided I wanted to add about 4” total on each leg, so I divided that number in half and added 2” to the inseam width at the hemline on both the front and back legs.

Measure 2" to the outside of the inseam hemline at both front and back pants and draw a line.

Next you need to draw a line starting from the 2" mark at the hem to the crotch. This isn't a straight line, but more of a curved line, tapered in at the crotch. To achieve this, you can pivot the pattern at the crotch point and swing the inseam out to match the hemline to the 2” mark. Trace the new inseam line. You may need to straighten the line up a bit more from knee to hem so it’s not as curved at the lower leg. But the pivot method helps give you just enough curve at the thigh without using a fancy ruler.

Pivot the pattern at the crotch point and swing the inseam out to match the hemline to the 2” mark. 

Trace the new inseam line. 

I also sewed the buttonholes directly onto the front pants fly, eliminating the button placket entirely. Instead of adding the fusible interfacing on the fly facing, I added a slightly heavier weight interfacing right onto the underside of the fly front. (So when you are cutting out the fly interfacing, cut it with glue side up.) I also found I needed to trim the outside edge of the interfacing about ⅛” so it didn’t show under the fly facing. The facing makes this area extra strong so the fly doesn't ripple as much when you button it. The heavier interfacing also helps if you are using a lighter weight fabric. You could interface both the fly facing and directly on the underside of the pants fly, as I have just described if you are using a lighter weight fabric. I did not interface both pieces for my pair because I used a pretty stiff denim. 

Interfacing applied directly to the underside of the pants front.

Buttonholes sewn directly onto the left pants front after attaching the fly facing.

For fun I added front and back patch pockets for a vintage sailor jeans look. I created a free pdf pattern for the patch pockets if you would like to recreate this style (which you could also use for the Persephone pants).

Click on the photo above to download the free Sailor Jeans Pocket PDF pattern.

The front and back pockets are parallel with each other (lining up at the top edge). On my size 4 pair, both front and back pockets are located approximately 3 1/4” down from the top edge. The front pockets are 2 1/4" from center front edge and the back pockets are about 1 1/2" from center back. Keep in mind the location of the pockets will vary from person to person. You can use the back pocket placement on the Philippa pants pattern to help you determine where the back pockets should go and then line up the front pockets with the back pockets so they are parallel with each other. I made my back pockets less angled and more straight by shifting the center back edge of the pocket placement up about ½”.

Pivot the inner (cb) pocket placement edge up approximately 1/2" to straighten the back pockets.

I recommend waiting to sew the pockets until the end, so you can try on your pants and figure out exactly where you want your pockets to go. I had to rip out the front pockets and re-sew them because they were way too far apart and looked all wrong! Learn from my mistakes!

Belt carriers/loops: I sewed them slightly wider, about 1/8" wider and about 1/2" shorter (3" long). Instead of sewing the loops into the waistband seam, I folded the edges under and sewed them directly onto the pants with bar-tacks on the top and bottom. The three loops in the back are placed on the back darts and center back seam.

The fabric I used is a 13oz Japanese 100% cotton selvedge denim I purchased last year at Fashion Fabrics Club. 

The buttons are corozo buttons in the color navy purchased from Benno's Buttons in sizes 13/16" for the large button and 5/8" for the fly buttons.

For this pair I decided not to use any fancy thread, but instead I just used matching navy thread and I really love this look! I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the hem. I cut the pants with a 1" hem, but originally I just wanted a raw frayed hem at cropped length. I can't decide if I should hem them or keep them raw! I think I'll wear them cuffed with the raw hem like this for a while longer before I decide. 

I hope this little tutorial inspires you to create different variations of pants and jeans using a basic pattern. It's easy to change just a few little details for a fresh new look! If you make this variation to the Philippa pants, I would love to see them! For photos posted to social media, feel free to tag me @annaallenclothing and/or use these hashtags in your post: #philippastraightleg and #philippapants

Lotte Blouse Hack


Spring is here and all I want to wear are pretty floral romantic blouses! I hacked the Lotte Blouse pattern, giving it fuller sleeves and body, adding length to the top edge so that it sits on top of the shoulders and I also shortened the sleeves. I sewed a narrow self-fabric tie for the neckline, mostly for decoration, but I think it adds a nice touch. Keep reading if you are interested in recreating this blouse!


  • Lotte Blouse PDF sewing pattern
  • About 2 1/2 yards of 45" wide fabric (I used Lecien cotton lawn "Memoire a Paris" from a few years ago)
  • A few yards of cord or yarn to make the self fabric tie
  • Elastic, thread etc (as specified in the sewing instructions)

Cut out your size and alter the pattern as follows:

Add 3" to the top edge of all pattern pieces (front, back and sleeve)

Extend the center back and center front 2".

Extend the sleeve width at the fold line by 4".

For short sleeves, as pictured here, shorten the bottom edge by 3 1/2".

Continue with the sewing instructions included with the pattern. When you have folded the top edge under, preparing it for the elastic casing, add a piece of fusible interfacing at center front. This is where you will sew a small buttonhole, about 3/8" long, for the self fabric tie to go through.

Continue with the instructions, sewing the top edge casing, sleeve casing and hem. Thread the elastic through the neckline. Instead of letting the elastic fall off the shoulder, pull the elastic tighter so the blouse sits on top of your shoulders, or wherever feels most comfortable. Thread elastic through the sleeve cuffs, trying on to make sure the cuffs are loose enough around your arms.

Make a self fabric tie: Cut 1" wide bias strips of fabric and sew together so the final length measures approximately 60" long.

Take a long piece of cord or yarn and knot the end. Wrap the bias strip right sides together, around the cord, keeping the knotted edge slightly above the bias tape and stitch along the top edge several times so the cord is secured to the bias tape. You do not want the cord to pull through the stitching when you go to turn it! 

Using your zipper foot, stitch less than 1/4" away from edge, encasing the cord, and pulling the bias tape as you sew.

When you finish sewing the length of tape, trim the top corner and begin pulling the cord so as to turn the bias tape right side out. It may take a little time to get the top edge to turn, so you may need to use a sewing pin to help it along. Keep working at turning the tape, being gentle at any areas where there are seams.

Once you have completely turned the cord, cut off the end. Secure a small safety pin to one end of the fabric tie and thread through the buttonhole, continuing around the neckline and then out of the same buttonhole on the other side. Tie into a bow and trim edges. You may want to turn the edge of the self fabric tie to the inside and hand stitch closed, but I left mine raw. 

That's it! Try the blouse on and re-position the neckline gathers to where it looks most flattering on you. I like the gathers primarily in the front and back, and less on the shoulders/sleeves. I personally find this style looks best tucked into high waisted pants, like the Persephone pants/shorts or Philippa pants. If you make this blouse, feel free to tag photos on Instagram with #lotteblousehack so I can see yours!

The Shop Company Professional Full Body Form Review


I’m so excited about my new full body form! I have been thinking about getting a professional full body form for quite awhile now. Although I had one of those flimsy plastic adjustable forms for years, it completely broke down last year and I had to part ways with her. A few months ago I contacted The Shop Company and asked about doing a collaboration and they kindly agreed to give me 50% off the price of the full body form. I was researching their forms and was planning to make the purchase myself either way, so I am pretty thrilled they agreed to work with me! The form is very well made and quite sturdy. I thought assembling the form would be difficult and take me hours, but it actually only took about 20 minutes.

I started right away working on a new pattern for a pair of overalls. I had the pants block ready to go, but I wanted to drape the rest of the pattern pieces on the form. Before I would have had to do this on my own body, which as you can imagine is a little difficult to do! This form is also pinnable, so it was easy to pin the tissue paper onto the form. The other feature I like is that it has collapsible shoulders. This means there is a spring inside the form at the shoulders. You press the shoulders together and they stay in place while you put your garment on. Then once the garment is on the form, you press the shoulders again to make them spring back into place. It’s very helpful! I also ordered the arms to go with the form, and they are easily removable as well.

As for which size to order, I kept going back and forth on the size. I read everywhere to order the smaller size and then pad up. The thing is, the bottom portion of the form was way smaller on the size that fit my top portion best. And I really didn’t want to cover up the form with lots of padding if the one measurement that was too big for me was the bust. Since I will be using the form primarily for pattern making, I decided that it would be okay to order the larger form in the end. So I ordered the one that was closest to my measurements in the lower portion and close enough everywhere else, except for the bust. So far the slightly larger bust hasn’t really been an issue. If you plan to make a lot of tight fitting garments, you might want to be cautious and order down a size and pad it where you need it. I suspect most people will need to pad the bust and to do that you can easily put one of your bras on the form if necessary. The backside is a little less padded than me, but that can be remedied with a bit of quilt batting!

I am very happy with the quality of this full body form and it has already helped me so much with the patterns I am working on. It is reasonably priced, compared to other quality forms and it is quite sturdy, so I think it will last me a long time. I feel like I have an extra helper in the studio!

The Shop Company has kindly agreed to give my readers a $15 discount on any Professional Dress Form! Just add the coupon code “anna_mcclurg” when ordering. You will also be offered a choice of a free gift (either a 10" Heavy Weight Shears, 8" Lightweight Shears, 4.5" Thread Snipper or 120" Retractable Tape Measure) when you check out.

What I Love About Vintage Sailor Pants


Sailor pants have been a classic style for both men and women since the early 20th Century. I wanted to walk through some of the key features of 1940's sailor pants that have made them so popular throughout the years, and show how these details influenced my Persephone pattern, a modern well-fitting adaptation of this minimal style.

The Persephone pants pattern is inspired by original US issue Navy sailor pants from the 1940's. In those days, the pants were made without a side seam, but in later years, you will notice that the side seam reappeared (I'm not sure whether the change was stylistic or utilitarian). I thought it would be helpful to compare the Persephone pants to an original pair from the 1940's and outline the key features that have made them great to wear, and show how they are now an accessible style for women who love to make their own clothes.

  • HIGH WAIST: Both the original sailor pants and the Persephone pants have a true high waist. Our waistlines have changed a lot over the years and most people wear their pants much lower, closer to their hips. But this is not the true waistline. I love a super high waist, and drafted my pattern to hit at the true waistline.
  • FITTED BACK: Many times, you'll see pictures of sailors wearing their dress whites with a more baggy fit in the rear. Even on modern women's wide-leg pants, the back can be problematic. I spent a lot of time perfecting the Persephone pants so they have a more flattering, feminine fit, and look great both from back and front.
  • NO SIDE SEAM: Original 1940's sailor pants did not have side seams, and I also wanted this minimal look for the Persephone pants. It took many pattern drafts before I came up with the exact fit I wanted. I love a straight side leg, which I believe aids in giving a super flattering fit through the hips and waist. 
  • SPACIOUS POCKETS: Original sailor pants had pockets that were shorter and more rectangular. When I drafted the first few pairs, I didn't think a whole lot about the pockets, except that I wanted the opening big enough to fit my hand. After wearing some of the first drafts, I noticed I put my iPhone in my pocket a lot. I don't know about you, but when I have mindless tasks to do throughout the day I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. So when I made the final draft, I made sure the pocket is able to fit my massive smartphone (e.g., iPhone 6+). 
  • BUTTON FLY: Both the original sailor pants and the Persephone have a button fly. I personally love a good button fly and I'm always looking for ways to construct a garment which uses buttons over zippers (anyone else hate zippers?)! Button flies can be tricky to sew, but my pattern provides a clear and straightforward approach which will make you pleasantly surprised at how easy and fast it is to put together.
  • WIDE RANGE OF SIZES: Sailor pants can look great on all sizes, and I wanted my pattern to support this. The Persephone pants come in a wide array of sizes, from 0-20. Since the pattern was released, most sewers have found that my sizing guide works perfectly for them, but several have had to perform small adjustments to make these pants fit their bodies. I can provide advice on how to do this.*
  • SHORTS: I decided to include a shorts version in my pattern because I wanted it to be versatile for all seasons. Making a good pair of shorts can be more difficult than just the "cut-off" version of your favorite pants, so my pattern simplifies the process. I'm always looking for the perfect high waist shorts that aren't too short short (they are always too short!), but also not too long! I think the 4" inseam on the Persephone shorts is the perfect length, but of course they can easily be lengthened or shortened as desired.
  • 100% HANDMADE: Everything available in my shop is designed and constructed entirely by me. The feeling of having made the pants you're wearing is wonderfully empowering, and I want you to be able to experience that as well. Not only do you get to pick the color and fabric yourself, you can make any alterations to the pattern if necessary, so that they fit your own unique body! It's a great feeling wearing a pair of pants that fit you like a glove. 
I'm really proud of the Persephone pants pattern. It has been in the works for about 2 years, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating, wearing, and fine-tuning it.

Thank you to Morissa from bottleofbread for the use of her great images showing the original 1940's sailor pants

* One of the more common questions I get is how you would fit these pants with a much smaller waist to hip ratio. For this, you can cut the size that best fits your hips and then bring in an inch or two at the back darts and cut the smaller waistband to fit. Most people have had success with this method and haven't needed to add a side dart. If you have a fuller stomach, you can let out the front by re-drawing the opening so it is straighter and tapers less towards the waist.

Inspiration for the Persephone Sailor Pants + Shorts


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Today I wanted to talk a little bit about my new sewing pattern, the Persephone Pants + Shorts. I have been working on these pants for what feels like an eternity! In reality, it's been almost two years since I began drafting the original pattern. That pattern has gone through so many alterations since I first drafted it! I have learned so much about pants in the last year. I finally got the fit I was looking for and with the encouragement of several people, I decided to release my pattern into the world! I have been dreaming of a high waisted wide leg sailor pants pattern for years. I love the silhouette of the high waisted wide leg trousers from the 1930's and '40s. I wanted to create a modern interpretation of these pants, that were less baggy and much more fitted throughout the waist and hips. I think they can be so flattering on many different body types. I also personally love non-stretch pants and jeans and I haven't found a lot of home sewing patterns that were drafted specifically for non-stretch fabrics. Although this pattern was originally intended for non-stretch fabrics only, several of my wonderful pattern testers decided to use 3-5% stretch and they turned out absolutely fabulous! So really, it's up to you to decide what kind of fabric you want to use. I've been enjoying these pants made in a 10oz cotton canvas. I feel like it's heavy enough to hold everything in place, but it still has some movement and it's not quite as constricting as a 12oz or 15oz weight fabric. It's fun to experiment. I know I am looking forward to sewing some shorts and pants in a heavy linen this summer. But I am also thinking about making a pair of denim pants, maybe with a cut-off frayed hem. I love sewing because it gives me the power to make whatever I envision. The possibilities are limitless! 

The Persephone Pants + Shorts are available as a sewing pattern for home sewers or if you don't sew, they are also available for purchase in my shop. If you want to share your Persephone pants or shorts on social media, feel free to use the hashtag #persephonepants