If you are not familiar with Kelli Ward she is a Denver based pattern designer, the author and seamstress behind True Bias, not to mention a long time friend of the store. She has been desiging PDF download patterns for years, but she just recently started printing paper versions of her patterns. We are so excited to stock these new patterns and wanted to give you a chance to get to know Kelli and learn a little bit more about her latest pattern, the Lander Pants.
How long have you been sewing?
I started sewing when I was about 8 years old. My mom was a hobby sewist so there was always a machine I could use and scraps to play with which I took advantage of. It's always been something I've enjoyed doing since then.
Do you remember the very first garment you ever made?
I took sewing lessons from my talented neighbor when I was about 9. She let me choose a pattern and fabric and I came home with a pattern for MC Hammer pants and a matching top, made out of hot pink and gold swirly quilting cotton. I thought it was the coolest outfit in the whole world and wore it to school proudly. I just wish that I had a photo of it now.
How long have you been designing patterns?
My undergrad was actually in photography, but I still managed to take a few sewing and patternmaking classes while in college. This gave me enough of a base to be able to play around with pattern manipulation for myself. I started my business which included designing sewing patterns for the community about 4 years ago. At the time I was living in NYC and decided to go back to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology for patternmaking. I loved my classes and have been doing this professionally ever since.
If you had to describe your design style to somebody who has never seen your patterns, what would you say?
Modern, wearable, with a slight nod to Boho. It definitely changes a bit with time as I get older and continue to revise my own personal style. I design clothing that I want to and actually do wear.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My children are both recently in school full time, so my mornings include getting them prepped and ready for school, packing lunches, and dropping them off. Next, I hit the gym and then head home. I usually start the day with answering emails or doing other computer related (and less fun) admin work. Once that is done I may be working on anything from blog posts, editing photos, sewing up something fun, or working on a new pattern. It just depends on the day. Once I pick up my kids from school I try not to work on anything for my business, but I do work after they go to bed three nights a week. The other nights my husband and I reserve for dorky date nights where we play board games or put together puzzles.
What was the inspiration behind the Lander Pants? Where does the name come from?
I have wanted to create this pattern ever since I started my business, but I finally felt ready to do so. It is inspired my favorite vintage boy scout shorts which I thrifted and wore to death in high school. I love the retro vibe with the high waist and button fly.
I always name my patterns after places. The Lander pattern is named after a small town in Wyoming (which is actually named after an explorer) that my family and I drove through on our road trip to Yellowstone this summer. The small town had the perfect vibe for my pattern so it was an easy choice.
What are your top three tips for successfully sewing Lander?
1- It's easier than it looks. If you are scared of sewing pants this is a good one to start with because the button fly is actually easier than a zipper fly. Just break it down into small steps, follow my sew-along, and you will be fine.
2- Muslin or make the shorts first. Pant fitting can be a challenge for anyone since we all have different bodies. The Landers take a lot of fabric so if this is your first time, please muslin. If you don't want to muslin, at least try the shorts first because there is less fabric in case anything goes wrong.
3- Choose quality jeans buttons or regular buttons. A lot of the jeans buttons you find at big box stores are not all metal and will likely break on you. Source quality ones online or in a nicer store and you won't regret it. If this is not an option for you, just use regular buttons which gives a really cool, nautical look.
When you design a pattern you typically end up sewing many versions in many different fabrics. What types of fabric ended up being your absolute favorite for Lander?
I sewed up all of my samples in the Kaufman Ventana Twill which is the perfect fabric for this pattern. It has no stretch, is the perfect weight to hold the shape of the wide legs and high waist without being too bulky to sew, and it comes in tons of cool colors. Other great alternatives would be a corduroy or denim.
You can see samples of Kelli's patterns in-store now. Thank you so much for sharing, Kelli!