The Chelsea: Sewing Pants From My Past

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I am so excited to be a part of The Chelsea Blog Tour today!

Have you ever had a piece of clothing that you absolutely loved?  A special dress, or skirt, or pair of pants that you just wore all the time because not only did you love the way they felt, but you loved how you looked in them?

I used to have a pair of pants back in the 90s that I loved, but it wasn't love at first site.  I bought them (yes bought - I wasn't sewing at that time in my life), to wear around the house.  They were made of black knit material, had this seam down the front, and a flared leg.  One day I got brave and wore them to work.  I actually felt guilty about wearing them to work because they were knit!  You didn't wear knit pants to work, at least not back then, and not in my mind.  But I started styling them with cute blouses and even cuter boots and they very soon became a staple piece in my work wardrobe and in my date night wardrobe as well.

In fact, I ended up wearing them so often that they became threadbare.  I actually wore holes in them and I have never done that with any clothing I have had.  I had to eventually throw them out.  But because I loved them so much, I started looking for another pair.

Fast forward 20 years (YIKES! 20 years!), and I finally gave in to my sewing obsession.  I love sewing for my family and me. I love how I can make clothes that not only fit much better than any ready to wear items, but that are also a higher quality.  I have become a follower of a couple of sewing groups on Facebook and that is where I saw a post from Greenstyle Creations that was calling for testers for a new pattern for pants.  You can't believe my surprise when the picture of the pants was almost the exact same pair of pants that I had and loved 20 years ago! I had always been in search of a pair of pants just like the one I had, but never found any like them. I immediately signed up to be a tester and was so excited when I found out I was chosen!

My third pair.  I love this fabric!

Even though I have been sewing (this time around) for about a year I still felt a little nervous being a tester for this pattern.  I was worried at first if I would even be able to sew these pants.  In my mind I could never do these wonderful pants justice. I also thought I would never be able to get that seam down the front to look good.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy this pattern really is to sew.  And the front seam was not an issue at all.  I don't have a coverstitch machine, so I just lengthened my stitch and top-stitched down the front.

I love the detail of the front seam!

So here are my tips when sewing these pants:

Fabric is the Name of the Game!
Different fabrics will give this pant a different look.  The pattern calls for a stable knit.  The reason is so you can see that bell bottom at the end of the pant.  However you can use a DBP for a more relaxed version. It will still have a flare, it just won't stand out.  When I made my three different pairs, I went with a more stable version in fabrics that were recommended.  However between those three there are differences in how the pants look.  My first pair used fabric that was very heavy (and also was very hard to sew), my second pair used a ponte, but not with as much stability as the first, and my third used a ponte but it was flocked making it heavier and more stable than the second pair, but not quite as much as the first.  All three pairs turned out great and all three will be worn.

My second pair I made. I love wearing these to work!

Don't Stress Over the Pockets.
When testing started, there were not pockets on the pants, but they were very quickly added to the pants.  The pockets were something that I loved and desperately wanted, but I was questioning my ability.  I made the pockets on the first pair and they actually turned out pretty good.  However the pockets on my second pair of pants didn't turn out as well.  On the third pair, I decided to leave the pockets off, but mainly because of the type of fabric I was using.  That flocking just doesn't lend itself to being able to sew through multiple layers of fabric. The point is to try it and see how the pockets go.  They look fabulous and they are a great feature to have.  If you don't do so well the first time, then try again.

The Flare is Not As Big As You Think.
While I love the flare, I was worried how it might look on me.  Yes, they mimicked the pair I had in the 90s, but back then bell bottoms were all the rage.  Here we are right smack dab in the middle of the skinny jeans fad. My daughter Carly called my first pair of Chelseas my "Elvis pants" and you know what, when I had those babies on, I had an attitude.  Even nuking my coffee seemed more hip with those pants.  Carly may call them "Elvis pants" but I like to call them my sassy pants! I actually loved the flare.  They were so flattering because instead of looking like an ice cream cone, it evened out my shape.

These are my Elvis pants!  I didn't think I would like my first pair, but I now love them!

And Most Important:  If You Haven't Tried Them Yet, You Need To!
These pants are amazing!  They are flattering on all body types! There were all sizes testing this pattern, and I did not see one person that these didn't look great on.  And of course I love how easy they are to assemble and sew.  I see a few more pair in my a stretch denim and a corduroy. 

So here is some exciting news!!  Along with this blog tour there is a giveaway!  The first giveaway is The Chelsea pattern, and the second giveaway is stretch denim from Aurora Design Fabrics.  Be sure and enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chelsea Pants Blog Tour

Monday, October 9, 2017
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017

Homemade Applesauce!

Monday, October 9, 2017
This summer has been crazy!  Wait, it's fall?  Already?  In fact it's October you say? I can't believe how fast this year is flying by. Actually fall is my favorite season, all pumpkin spice and everything nice.  At least it is my favorite until spring comes along then spring is my favorite season, everything new again and flowers blooming, gardens being planted.  Ah, yes, I'm a fickle one.

But back to fall.  What could be more fall-like than warm comfort foods and spices in the air?  Baking and cooking, now that it is cooler weather is something that I love to do, and one of my favorite things to make during the fall is applesauce.

Applesauce has to be one of the easiest things you can make.  There are only two ingredients you need; apples and a little water.  Of course you can always add in cinnamon to spice things up (we always do) or even apple pie spice.  And if you want to give it a deeper flavor, you can add in apple cider instead of the water.

The most important thing to do however is to start with good quality apples.  This is really what makes the applesauce.  Growing up my parents had several apple trees.  The one that they always used for making stewed apples (a chunkier version of applesauce), apple butter, and apple pie filling was a variety called Grimes Golden.  It cooked up beautifully, was sweet without needing much, if any, sugar added and it didn't have a mealy texture.

Blooms on one of our apple trees

Never heard of this apple?  Well I am not surprised, and if you have, then you rock! You really can't find this apple in stores today.  It is an heirloom variety and was first introduced in the 1830s.  It is considered a "parent" of the Golden Delicious apple among many other apples that are popular today.

Ok, enough of the history lesson!

To make homemade applesauce, first use apples that are good for cooking, and are on the sweet side.  If you use Granny Smith (which it is perfectly acceptable to do), then you will need some sugar added.  I prefer not to add any sugar.  Good varieties to use are: Golden Delicious, Fuji, and McIntosh.  These aren't the only ones you can use, but I wanted to list just a few that are readily available in the stores.  You can use just about any apple, just be cautious however, because apples like Red Delicious can be mealy in their texture and aren't the best for cooking.

Peeled and cored apples ready to be cooked

Once you have your apples, you will need to start peeling and coring all the apples.  It is best to purchase a peeler, especially if you want to continue to make applesauce, or you can do it by hand.  Don't throw out those peels and cores!  You can save them and make some amazing apple jelly or apple syrup!

Apple peels and cores that will become jelly

Put your peeled and cored apples in a big pot, a stock pot is perfect for this!  Add a little water, or apple cider.  Depending on how many apples, you can use 1 cup to 2 cups. For the 1/2 bushel I was cooking, I used 2 cups.  You don't need a lot of liquid as the apples will cook down, you just need something to keep them from burning on the bottom.  Put the heat on low to medium low and let them cook, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on them and if you need to add more liquid, you can.

Once they have cooked down to the consistency that you like add in any spices that you wish.  We love cinnamon in ours.  You can also have your apples go au natural if you choose.  We also love to leave our applesauce a little chunky.  If you want a smooth consistency, you can use an immersion blender, or use a regular blender, just do it in batches.

Homemade applesauce, looks so good!

After it is all cooked down and to the consistency you like, you can preserve them by canning them, which is what we do. You can also let the applesauce cool and then put them in freezer safe containers to freeze. Or the best option you can eat it immediately!  If you decide to can them, you can do this using a water bath.  Just be sure and follow safe canning procedures.

Pint jars just going into a waterbath

There is absolutely nothing better than homemade applesauce.  If you have never made anything from scratch, this is one of the easiest recipes you can start with.  And I guarantee, once you start making your own, you will never want to buy pre-made again.

Let me know in the comments below if you have ever made homemade applesauce, and if you have, let me know how you make yours.
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