Sailor pants and an upcoming sewing pattern...


Some of you who follow me on Instagram know I've been working on a pattern for wide leg sailor pants for over a year now. I thought the first pair was already pretty good, until I wore them more and discovered they were really very uncomfortable! Those pants were drafted using my measurements, but as I've learned through this exhausting process, things don't always fit as expected.  Even when pants fit, they may not look good or they have wrinkles in odd places. The fitting is especially difficult with non-stretch fabrics. I also wanted them to be very fitted in the waist and hips, with a high waist, where the waistband sits at the natural waistline.

Most people think a high waist is at or just below your belly button, because we're so used to wearing pants at the hip. But the natural waist usually hits a couple of inches above the belly button. I know this from all the years of sewing and studying historical clothing. In the mid-19th century, the waistline on a dress would sit at or just above the natural waistline. It's essentially the smallest part of your waist.

I really wanted these pants to have a very high fitted waist, without front darts or hip shaping. I love the sailor pants men wore in the early to mid 20th century. If you've ever looked at a pair of sailor pants from that era, they don't have side seams! So essentially, there is no hip shaping in these. Obviously those pants were designed for a man's body, but I wanted to see if I could borrow from that design while also making them flattering on a woman's more curvy shape.  I wondered if there was a pattern for men's 1940's US sailor pants without the side seams, so I googled around and couldn't come up with anything. I decided to embark on the journey of drafting my own version. Countless muslins and several pants that are almost, but not quite good enough later and more drafting and MORE muslins and more fitting and... I think I finally have a pattern that I'm happy with! (Knock on wood...)

The pictures you see here are the pants I sewed up yesterday. I used a 10oz twill, which isn't actually what I want to use for the final pants. But I'm waiting on the fabric I ordered and this was all I had on hand. I also annoyingly forgot to cut the pants in a single layer (to help prevent "leg skew"). I still have the buttons to install, but so far they seem to fit quite well, despite possible leg skew.... I'm going to be making another pair in a 10oz cotton canvas which is what I plan to use for my final version. I also ordered a few other weights that I'm going to be experimenting with. We'll see how it goes and if it works as planned, I will start grading this pattern!

It has already been a huge challenge (which I never expected when I started), but on the plus side, bigger challenges generally produce the most rewarding results. At least that's what I keep telling myself!! I didn't want to rush this pattern and I still want to make sure it's just as I envision it before continuing to the next step. When I began this whole thing, it was simply so that I could have a pair of flattering wide leg pants for myself. But after posting pictures to my Instagram of my first draft over a year ago, I've had a lot of people ask me about a pattern. So you guys, that's the plan! I would love to say it will be ready in the spring or summer (or even earlier??) but I'm not going to push my luck. I'll take it one step at a time and maybe that means I'll work on another, more simple pattern if this one ends up taking more time. Maybe I'll be surprised and it will go smoothly from here on out!

If you're an intermediate to advanced sewer and are interested in testing my pattern, feel free to send me an email! I won't make the official call for pattern testers until I have the pattern graded and instructions written, but if you want to be notified when it's ready for testing, let me know and you'll be first in line!

If you've actually read this far, I applaud you! I wanted to just write what came naturally to mind, like I used to. I've been feeling more like blogging again and I'm going to try to find my voice, which I feel has been lost through the years. Instagram is lovely, but I don't feel like I can write very much in each picture and I find I need a place again to share more of my thoughts and ideas. I have so many ideas! Hopefully I will find time more often to write them down in this space. I hope to do lots more writing and creating in the new year. I hope whoever reads this will have a wonderful warm and happy holiday!

ANNA ALLEN CLOTHING: HOLIDAY 2017 (20% off through December 3rd!)



Ingrid Black and White Gingham Dress

Ingrid Denim Pullover Top 

Lisbet Navy Floral Blouse

Ester Navy and Red Plaid Tartan Blouse

Lisbet Rust Floral Blouse

It's finally here! My mini Holiday Collection! I'm very happy with how it turned out and I hope you will be as well! This little collection took me much longer than I anticipated, but life happens sometimes and I think it's always better not to rush things. I'm glad I took some extra time to get everything just right and I'm excited to finally share it with you!

Also! To celebrate the launch, I'm taking 20% off the entire Holiday Collection for ONE DAY only! Use code "HOLIDAY" at checkout.  Some people had trouble with the coupon yesterday so I am extending the sale! This sale includes everything in my shop! Just use the code "HOLIDAY20" to receive 20% off your purchase today through Sunday (12-3-17). The fabrics for this collection are limited (especially the floral printed navy and rust Lisbet blouses) so if you have your eye on something, don't wait too long. I may not be able to reorder that particular fabric when my stash runs out!



Non-Stretch Jeans


I'm finally putting up some pictures I took a few weeks ago of these non-stretch jeans I made for myself. I used a self-drafted pants pattern I recently re-worked. I am contemplating making this into a sewing pattern to sell, but I'm also wondering if we really need yet another jeans pattern on the market. Plus I'm no expert in sewing jeans! To be honest, I actually prefer the look of factory made jeans. I absolutely love a good pair of vintage style Levi's. It's hard to make jeans at home without it looking "homemade" unless you're using a dark indigo denim and then you let it fade naturally over the course of a year or more. I don't wear dark denim hardly ever anymore, thanks to my fluffy white/grey cat! And in my experience, dark denim always seems to rub off onto my furniture. I also like the way a good medium to light faded stonewash denim looks on me compared to dark denim. But I am so very happy with the fit of these jeans and I really think others might find a non-stretch pants or jeans pattern useful. I am leaning towards more of a non-stretch pants pattern, which you could easily convert to a jeans pattern if you wanted. I might fiddle around with this some more, perhaps make it up in a slightly different style or fabric. I'm thinking of changing the front pockets to a style a bit more flattering, perhaps slant side seam pockets. Let me know if you would be interested in a pants pattern like this. What do you think of wearing non-stretch jeans? Have you sewn your own jeans before? Did you find it difficult to sew or more difficult to fit? I would love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. The shirt I'm wearing is the Heidi Pullover pattern. Also, there's a 30% off site-wide sale through the end of October. Use code: "OCTOBER" at checkout.

Autumn Scenes


While most my friends in other parts of the country have been complaining of the warmth, here in Colorado it has been cold and rainy for weeks now. Yesterday was a bit warmer and the sun was out, so we decided to drive over to Golden Colorado, where it's generally much warmer and sunnier than other parts of the state. It was a gorgeous fall day and the hike was so lovely with fall colors starting to pop up everywhere. Here are a few scenes from the first day of October. I think I'm finally ready to embrace the fall weather. Bring out the sweaters and wool socks!