Anna McClurg

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...”

Anna Allen Clothing: Spring Sale!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Today through April 30th, everything in the shop is 40% off! Use code SPRINGSALE at checkout or contact me if you are interested in a custom order. 

: : S H O P : :

Sewing Project: Summer Dress Vintage Vogue 9732

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The other week I found this vintage Vogue Pattern Book and I decided to get it. I'm always so inspired by those old pattern books and this one looked like a fun one for the summertime! Funny, because when I looked up the pattern for the dress on the cover, I thought it looked familiar. I rummaged though my vintage patterns and found this exact design in my collection, plus it's in my size! Funny how I never thought about making it in a casual cotton. I think I like it best as a breezy summer dress. I haven't decided what fabric I'm going to use yet or even when I'll have time to work on it, but I hope I will have the time to make it soon. It's really starting to warm up around here and summer is just around the corner! It always goes by so fast!

I'm planning to trace the pattern out on tissue paper first, which is what I always do whether it's a vintage pattern or new. I know I'll have to make a few alterations since I want it to be more comfortable to wear and not quite as tight around the waist. That will be easy, because I noticed the front dart was rather large, so I'll probably end up letting out a little bit in that area. I don't think I'll make the petticoat with the ruffle either. It should be a quick sew with minor fitting issues, but I'll make a mock-up of the bodice before cutting into the fashion fabric just to be safe.

Does anyone else like sewing with vintage patterns? What era(s) are your favorites and what pattern companies do you like? My favorites hands down are McCall's and Vogue from the 1960's. I also like the late '50s, 1970's and even some of the early '80s patterns I think are fantastic. I find that these eras are pretty simple to incorporate into a modern wardrobe. I also have a fondness for even older patterns (1920s-'40s), but I'm mostly inspired by the 1960's-'70s fashions. Some of the artwork on those old patterns are really phenomenal as well!

Here's a vintage Vogue pattern I made up a few years ago. It's one of my favorite blouses. I've since made another in white dotted swiss cotton with 3/4 length sleeves and lace insertions (sorry that pic isn't a great view of the blouse!).

Hot Cross Buns

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I've never made hot cross buns before and I don't remember the last time I had one. I think they are more of a British roll, as I haven't seen them in the shops around here. But I could be wrong. In any case, I thought I would try my hand at making a batch for Easter this year. I couldn't wait for them to cool before piping the icing cross, so I split one with Jed and it was mouthwatering good! Perfectly sweet without the added icing. I think these would be great rolls to make for other occasions as well. I believe the more traditional hot cross buns have a cross made out of a flour/water paste which is piped onto the unbaked buns before going into the oven. I decided to pipe mine with icing after they were baked, however. Maybe I will try making them the more traditional way next year.

I scoured the internet to find the perfect recipe for hot cross buns and after looking at several, I decided on the one over at Simply Recipes. I can pretty much always count on that website to find exactly what I'm looking for. And after trying this recipe for hot cross buns, I can definitely recommend it. They really aren't hard at all to make. Very similar to a cinnamon roll dough (video). I used a pumpkin spice mix from Trader Joe's in place of the recommended spices, since I like their spice mix (it includes my favorite spice, cardamom). I also made it slightly different than what the recipe instructed. I scalded the milk and added the cold butter, which melted in the hot milk and then mixed in the sugar. Doing this brought down the temperature of the milk so there was no risk of killing the yeast. I then added the yeast and eggs and mixed it around a bit before pouring the liquid into the dry ingredients and continuing with the recipe. I really think the orange zest adds so much flavor to these buns.

Let me know if you make these hot cross buns and what you think of them. I am looking forward to having one for breakfast. Bon appétit!

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Everyone has their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and this one is mine. I've been making it for years and while I've tried many other recipes, I just keep coming back to this one. It's an old Better Homes and Garden recipe from 1963. It's a very basic recipe that produces the perfect chewy cookie. Just the right amount of chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Of course you can omit the nuts if you don't like them, perhaps add more chocolate chips or just omit them altogether. I usually use walnuts because they are my favorite, but use whatever nuts you like or have on hand.

The original recipe says to use part butter and part shortening. Now, I've made these with all butter more than I have with part shortening. I personally have no issues using vegetable shortening in my baking, but I know some people think it's unhealthy. I don't really think it's a problem in moderation (as with practically anything). But I have to say, the shortening does make these cookies extra lovely and chewy. The all butter can make the cookies spread a bit more, which is okay but not really what I look for in my perfect chocolate chip cookie. Either way, whether you use all butter or part, I think it produces a lovely cookie. In this batch I added 1 stick butter with the remaining 3 1/3 tablespoons shortening. Even that little bit of shortening made them just the way I like them without sacrificing any flavor.

When I make a batch of these cookies, I keep a few in our cookie jar and the rest in the freezer. Mom used to freeze balls of cookie dough and then bake them directly from the freezer when needed. That works as well, but I have found they don't spread as nicely when you bake from frozen. So I just bake the entire batch and freeze any I don't think we'll eat in a day or two.

I hope I've inspired you to keep your cupboards stocked with all the ingredients to make these. Because you never know when you'll get a hankering for chocolate chip cookies!

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup shortening (I used 1/2 cup butter and 3 1/3 tablespoons shortening for this batch)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz.)

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Mix butter/shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients together and blend in the butter mixture until just incorporated (don't over mix). Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop in teaspoonfuls about 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until delicately browned. (Cookies should still be soft.) Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. Makes over 2 dozen (I used a tablespoon cookie scoop).

New Sewing Pattern and Summery Dresses

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wanted to pop over here to let you know I have a new pattern now available! I created this design in 2010 for my clothing shop and I am thrilled to now have it available for home sewers. This is a simple pullover top, originally made with blue chambray cotton but I also think it works really well in a soft linen for summertime. The PDF pattern comes in sizes 0-16 and can be downloaded instantly and printed at home. The instructions include photographs and line drawings along with a short video I filmed to show how to sew a thread loop.

I have also recently updated the shop with several new linen dresses and hope to add a few more floral lawn garments in the upcoming weeks as well. Feel free to take a look in my Etsy Shop for all the new goodies!

S H O P!

Once again, I dropped off the face of the earth over in Blog World! I have actually started many times writing a blog post only to decide it was rubbish and ended up not publishing it. Instagram is too easy, you know? But I'm not giving up. I am hoping I can think up some things to post more regularly. Sorry it has been so quiet here. The notes I received on my last Christmas post were incredibly kind and they really do mean so much to me! Thanks to all who have stuck around with me on this space. I want to have more content here and soon! xx

Christmas Memories

Thursday, December 8, 2016

I haven't been on this space in ages! To be honest, I haven't had the "blogging bug" in awhile. Not quite sure what to write about and just being plain old lazy. I think it's too easy to compare yourself to other massively talented bloggers these days and how it seems everyone else is just so on top of it that I just don't even want to bother. Plus I kind of feel like most people seem to be on Instagram more often anyway. I love a good blog, though, don't get me wrong. I've just been lacking inspiration. If anyone still reads my blog and has any ideas of content you would like me to write more about, please let me know! I think I just need to find my focus and once I do, writing here won't feel so forced.

Lately I've been getting into the Christmas spirit with a little bit of crafting and baking. We had our first big snow yesterday (besides a little one earlier in the season, that quickly melted). I decided it was the perfect day to bake some gingerbread cookies. The intoxicating gingerbread filled the house with memories of Christmases past at my grandparent's house. Do you ever bake certain foods that remind you of some fond memory from your childhood? That gingerbread smell takes me back to the moment we arrived in the small town my mom grew up in. My grandparents lived in an old Victorian house with a working fireplace, the same house my mom grew up in. Grandpa would be tending the fire and Grandma in the kitchen cooking a huge Christmas meal. There would be Wassail in a Crockpot with small glass teacups next to it. Aunts, uncles and cousins milling about drinking their hot wassail or cranberry wine if you were old enough to have alcohol. Usually everyone started arriving around noon on Christmas day. We would eat a big midday meal and after the meal was cleared and the dishes were washed, everyone would gather into the big living room with the fireplace and the grand piano. My aunt Susan would play Christmas carols on the piano and we would all sing along. My aunt Gwen lead everyone to her own version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer complete with hand gestures. That silly song always made me laugh as a little girl. After singing carols, we would pass out Christmas presents and everyone would open them one by one, youngest to oldest. That's correct, we couldn't open any present until it was our turn and then when it was our turn, everyone's eyes were on us and we had just one gift to open. This went on for ages, of course, but it was loads of fun. Then when almost all of the presents had been opened, suddenly there was a knock at the back door. Who could it be?! All of the children ran back and when the door was opened there was a big burlap bag filled with gifts. Santa was here! The gifts in the Santa bag were always so nice. Of course they were from our grandparents, but for those young enough to still believe in Santa, it was pretty exciting. One of my fondest memories was receiving my very first American Girl Doll, Felicity. I was overjoyed! The next year my grandpa actually made furniture for our dolls, exact replicas from the Pleasant Company catalog! I have had some pretty amazing Christmas memories. I loved Christmas at my grandparent's house. We would usually spend the night and sometimes Grandma let us sleep in the living room by the fire. My aunt Sarah would tell us ghost stories to my sister, cousin and I. Falling asleep was easy to do after a long exciting day. As I grow older those memories are some of the things I cherish during the holiday season. I know not everyone has good memories during this time, but it's never too late to make new memories and traditions.

What are some of your holiday memories?

Back to school sale!

Monday, August 22, 2016

I've loaded the shop with lots of goodies and thought it would be fun to start the new school season off with a little sale. Everything is 30% off (orders $100 or more) including custom orders! Use code: ENDOFSUMMER in my Etsy Shop to receive the discount. The sale lasts through August 31st. Let me know if you don't see something in the shop that you would like me to make!

New Sewing Pattern: Lotte Blouse

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Lotte Blouse sewing pattern is finally ready! I really wanted to make this one available at a discount, so I decided to try something a bit different for this pattern. Instead of pricing it myself, I'm going to leave that up to you! It's yours for whatever you think the pattern is worth or whatever you can afford. When you click on the button for purchase, you will be redirected to the payment form where you will simply fill in the blank yourself. Easy! :)

I really enjoyed making this pattern. It's quick and fairly straight forward, so a beginner/intermediate sewer should find it a simple one to sew up in an afternoon. I've been getting lots of wear out of the blouses I've made and already have plans for some other variations for this blouse. I keep seeing these off-the-shoulder style blouses pop up all over the place and I think they are so easy to make. There's no need to buy one already made if you can sew!

If you are interested in sharing photos of your creations using my patterns, I would love to invite you to join my Flickr sewing group and post pictures! I am working on more sewing patterns and hope to have them added to my collection in the coming months!

If you would like to receive emails when I come out with new sewing patterns or clothing collections, feel free to join my mailing list for updates!