All my faces

So, I know I said in my last post that my Jazz jumpsuit was probably one of the most complemented handmade garments in my wardrobe, but I think that this shirt might have outstripped it already! I even had a lady in a shop ask me where I had got it, and then asked me if I made them to order when I said I made it. I’m really not interested in sewing things to sell, but nice to know there might be a market if I ever change my mind…

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This is my second Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt, and it’s taken me over a year to get around to it even though I intended to make another one as soon as I finished my first! I’ve got some lovely Japanese cotton waiting to become another version, but its quite heavy and I thought I might try something a bit lighter and airier for summer. I love this Crowded Faces fabric from Lady McIlroy, and had been seeing it all over instagram, but I had been struggling to find it anywhere. Then Emma said she was putting in an order to La Mercerie, and did I want to split the shipping with her? Obviously I did! I ended up with 1.5 yards, which was plenty to made this shirt, and gave me the wiggle room to be a bit pedantic with how I placed the faces on the shirt. I’m especially pleased with how the print sits on the collar!

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I even got out my tiny stash of embroidery floss to give one of my collar faces some lipstick. I’m so happy with how it turned out! I used a plain white cotton for the inside yoke and the under collar and inner collar stand, because the cotton lawn is fine enough for the print to show through pretty clearly and it looked a bit messy. I also made a couple of changes to the pattern after my last one, including shortening the height of the collar stand. I felt like the whole collar was really big on my first shirt, and thought that decreasing the height of it might help. I think I should also decrease the size of the collar for my next version (that Japanese cotton, finally!), just to keep it a bit more proportional. I’m ok with the size of this collar though, as it means I can get both of those faces on the collar points!

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The biggest change I made was to straighten out the hem. I kept the cropped length, but just ruled a new hemline straight across from the longest point at the centre front, and kept it mostly level across the back as well. It has a bit of a dip in the back hem, and I’m not sure where that came from, but it looks nice! I also decreased the size of the box pleat in the back by half, as I thought it might be a bit too voluminous without the longer back hem and the wide hem facing to keep the volume under control!

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I’m really happy with the length and fullness I achieved with this one, I think it looks good with my high waisted shorts (these are my Landers) and trousers, and doesn’t flash as much skin when I lift my arms up as my first version does. I still love the shaped cuffs that this pattern has, I think they’re so great. I don’t always love the way a simple bias rectangle cuff wings out on a cut on sleeve, and these two piece cuffs follow the line of the shoulder so nicely. Such a nice touch!

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I finished the shirt off with my favourite shiny black shirt buttons from Made Marion Crafts, and added a ‘Hand Made’ tag from Kylie and the Machine to the back collar. I love it when all those little details add up! And I’m really glad I spent a bit more time and attention on this shirt, from cutting it out to those final details, because I really like the finished garment! It’s been great to wear in this heat over the past few weeks, but I’m also really looking forward to having that collar peeking out over my handknitted jerseys later in the year. I’ll need to get moving on sewing up my next version!

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Jazz lover!

Is it too soon to proclaim this my favourite make of 2019? I suppose it might be a little premature, but I can definitely say that this is one of the most complimented things I’ve ever made, and I’ve only worn it twice so far…

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This is the Jazz Jumpsuit from French pattern company Ready To Sew, and I loooove it! I’d seen a few pop up on instagram every so often (Shauni has some awesome versions!), and thought it looked like an interesting pattern, but maybe not for me. Then it got really warm just before I went back to work, and I was trying to figure out something easy and breezy and comfortable to make with this awesome rayon crepe, and Jazz popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. I had the PDF printed out and assembled tout de suite, and I was away! The PDF was great to print out, there are a bunch of options with this pattern but there are very clear instructions for which pages to print out for each view, which makes it super easy and means there isn’t much wasted paper.

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Big trousers! I only had 2m of this awesome Japanese rayon crepe from The Fabric Store, and it was pretty narrow, so I had a huge headache trying to get the pattern to fit on the fabric and also match the plaid at the vital points. It’s not perfect, but I think I did a reasonable job getting the stripe at the centre front to match across the waist seam, and I got the horizontal stripes to match across the crotch curve and at the side seams, so I’m happy with it. I had only just enough fabric left over to squeeze a matching tie belt out of the scraps! I went down a size from where the size chart put me, looking at the finished garment measurements I knew there would still be enough ease in the size down! I also sewed the centre back seam and the crotch seam with a 1.5cm rather than 1cm, just to bring it in a little bit, and I’m really happy with the way it fits.

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There are a couple of things I’ll change when I make this again (I’m already planning a dress version and a silk jumpsuit), the main one being the zip up the back. I can get it done up all the way and undone again on my own (thank god, I refuse to take an assistant to the bathroom with me), but only because I have long arms and flexible shoulders. My friend tried this one on, and couldn’t get it done up on her own! Next time I’m going to put in a shorter zip, maybe a 30cm one, and then leave a keyhole opening with a button and loop at the top, like the one on the Meridian dress. That should make it easier to get out of, and keep the contortion-ism to a minimum! I’ll also make two belt pieces, and secure them into each side seam, so that I don’t have to deal with it being a separate piece (also irritating in the bathroom). I like it unbelted, but I think I’m pretty unlikely to wear it that way out in public!

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This fabric is so lovely, I wish I had bought more while they had it in stock! I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with rayon crepe, sometimes I find it really rough and weird feeling, and it grows as you sew it…but this is one of the good ones, it’s soft and has a lovely heavy drape, but its still airy and easy to wear. It was really nice to sew and press as well, I think the texture of the crepe sticks to itself and stops it shifting around.

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This pattern is so great! I love the pockets, and the V neck, and the dropped shoulder. Its so comfortable, but I also feel really put together and stylish when I wear it. Its like the holy grail of summer clothing! I’m really looking forward to trying some more Ready To Sew patterns, I think the Jily Tank top will be my next one. It’s on my #2019make9 list!

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This is me bribing Scotty to be in my photo with a treat…he’s a bit camera shy!

Traditional Summer Sewing

The first few weeks of 2019 have swept me along in a flurry of wedding related business, but all of that is finished now, and I’ve got some space to think of other things! Our wedding on the 10th was perfect. It threatened to rain on us, but managed to hold off, and we were able to have the ceremony outside on the lawn overlooking the farm, which I was very glad about! The venue we picked has a beautiful outlook, it would have been a bummer not to get to see it. I managed to get my wedding sewing finished in plenty of time, and I was really happy with how everything turned out, and the whole day was just really happy and relaxed and full of our favourite people. I’ll do a post about my wedding sewing when we get some photos back!

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But first, I have a traditional first-post-of-the-year post, new shorts and a tee shirt! I’ve been meaning to make a pair of Lander Shorts since I made my linen Lander Pants, and I finally dug out the scraps of cotton drill left over from my black Ginger Jeans and just managed squeezed the pieces on. They went together really easily, I used the whole 1” seam allowance down the side seams as this fabric has 2% stretch, and they’re very comfortable!

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I swapped out the button fly for a standard zip fly, as I really dislike the pulling I get at the buttons on my linen pair and I was concerned that the drag lines would be even more apparent in a stretch fabric! I swapped in the instructions from the Grainline sewalong for the Maritime Shorts, and it worked really well. I had intended to play with the pockets too, I thought maybe I would flip the patch pockets on the front to the inside and turn them into standard slash pockets, but I decided not to in the end. I think the pocket bags would have shown through really obviously in this fabric, and with the black topstitching I used the patch pockets blend in so well that I’m glad I didn’t fluff around with them! Unfortunately the fabric is an absolute cat-fur magnet, I’ve basically given up trying to de-fluff both these shorts and my jeans…

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I made the shorts up between Christmas and New Year, and was wearing them a lot with my cropped paprika linen tee. I had the Maya Tee pattern from Marilla Walker on my #2019make9 list, so after New Year I thought I should make a cropped version to give the harvest tee a break! I used more leftover fabric from my stash, this time some super soft double gauze left over from my Myosotis dress. I didn’t have quite as much fabric left as I remembered, so I ended up cropping it by about 2” from the ‘cropped’ tee line of the pattern. On my short torso the ‘cropped’ length would be mid hip, so it all worked out pretty well!

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This is the basic tee version of the Maya pattern, with the plain front and straight hem, no buttons or pockets or anything flash. I top stitched the facings around the neck and sleeves, and remembered to pop a label in the back neckline so I can tell the front from the back! Aside from cropping the length, I also took an inch or so out of the side seams at the hem, tapering up to nothing at the bust. It was just a bit too bell shaped in this double gauze, which has quite a lot of body, and that adjustment helped to tame that fullness a bit! It’s lovely and breezy as it is now though. I really love the ikat-style print on this fabric, so I’m glad to have it as a slightly more wearable garment than my full and floaty dress! I’m definitely planning another one or two of these, and I’d love to try the cuff variation I’ve seen people make on instagram too…

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I’m pretty chuffed that my first two garments posted this year are both made from leftover fabric, and that I’ve already ticked off one of my Make9! I’ve set myself a challenge to not buy any fabric between the first of January and Easter this year, so expect to see more sewing up of remnants and stash fabric in the next few months…

Miss Fisher goes to Hogwarts

Happy New Year everyone! I’m writing this in a few stolen minutes between wedding prep and heading away to spend New Years Eve at the beach with some friends, so forgive any typos! I’m not on the cocktails yet, I promise…I’m also not parading around in silk velvet, but I really wanted to get this final post for 2018 up! This was my second garment made for the #sewfrosting challenge over on instagram, and I’ve finally got some halfway decent photos. Silk velvet isn’t so easy to photograph, it tends to look like a big navy black hole, so I’ve had to do some fiddling with the contrast etc. Hopefully you can still get the idea!

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This is one of the more ridiculously luxurious things I’ve ever made! When a 3 metre remnant of navy silk velvet popped up on the Drapers Fabrics Instagram page I bought it without much of a plan for it. I was initially thinking it would be a dress of some sort, but then I kept thinking it might be more practical as a piece of outerwear (I’m using practical in a relative sense here, obviously). I nearly made it into a Kochi kimono, but then when I made my first Sapporo Coat I thought it would be very lush as one of those…

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…and I was right! It’s so soft and heavy and slippery, it feels like sometimes if I move too fast I’ll leave it behind like a cartoon character, but it feels lovely to wear and I feel very dramatic and elegant in it. I thought cutting it out would be a major pain, but it was actually very well behaved throughout the cutting and sewing process! I wrapped my tailors ham in a big scrap of velvet and used that when I was pressing the seams so I didn’t crush the pile, but for the most part I managed to get away with blasting it with steam and finger pressing the seams open. The lining was almost more trouble to sew than the velvet, I used a heavy viscose satin twill from The Fabric Store and it kept trying to escape. It’s navy with violet threads streaked through it, which I utterly failed to capture in these photographs but which looks pretty in person!

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This version is obviously much less structured than my wool version, and I made a couple of changes to account for that. I hand sewed some tape along the diagonal seams on the fronts, which runs along the open edge of the pocket bags. They still drape open, which I quite like the look of in the velvet, but hopefully that’ll help them to keep their shape a bit more and not stretch out. I also substituted all iron on interfacing for sewn in silk organza, which was a bit of a faff but seems to have worked ok. I do wonder if I should have used more, or doubled it up in some places, as the collar and the front edges still collapse under the weight of that velvet draping. But then, I think any more structure might have looked strange with the velvet? I’m not sure, and I’m definitely not going back in to add more!

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I think it had a very art deco-ish cocoon coat vibe in the velvet, especially from the back! When I showed it to Hamish he said it was a bit Hogwarts-y, so not quite the Phryne Fisher look I was aiming for, but I think art deco witch works quite well! I also think Phryne Fisher and Minerva McGongall would have had excellent adventures together, I would definitely watch that show…

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Funnily enough, this isn’t my first silk velvet coat NYE post on this blog, I posted about my velvet Tessuti Tokyo jacket way back on my first blogging New Years Eve! I had hair! and I had only been sewing for a year or so, and had no idea what I was getting into with silk velvet. It turned out alright though, all things considered…

A little bit of Frosting

I follow Drapers Fabrics in Auckland on Instagram, and every so often they post a remnant for sale in their insta-stories. Usually I manage to resist, but when I saw this delicious blush and mustard abstract silk crepe de chine pop up I messaged them and bought it without a second thought! I’m obsessed with this colour combination at the moment (see also: my Wiksten Kimono), and I’ve been in desperate need of some ‘nice’ tops to wear when I don’t want to be full on dresses up but also don’t want to just be in a tee shirt (any one else struggle with that in-between dress code?).

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I waffled a bit about what pattern to pick for this fabric, but then I remembered seeing Chloe (@faburikku_) post about her Papercut Patterns Kyoto tee which she made in a woven. I thought the ruffled sleeves would be lovely and floaty in this silk, so I threw caution to the wind and cut it out…

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And it worked! I didn’t make any changes to the size, as it’s a pretty loose fit (and my knit version had plenty of negative ease through the bust), but I did draft a facing for the neckline. I also had to crop it by several inches, as the hem wouldn’t fit over my hips with no stretch, but I think the cropped length really suits the shape of the pattern. It balances out those ruffles a little bit!

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I used French seams throughout, remembering too late (as I always do) that Papercut uses a 1cm seam allowance. That means my French seams are lovely and small, but does add to the fiddle factor! I rolled the edges of the ruffles and the sleeves on my machine, but I did the hem with the blind hem stitch, as I wanted a bit more heft to the bottom edge.

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I also got a bit fancy with my facing. The silk is so fine that I didn’t want a rolled seam or an overlooked edge showing though where the edge of the facing was finished, so I sewed the facing and some super lightweight fusible interfacing with the wrong sides together, then trimmed the seam allowance, flipped them right sides out, and pressed to fuse the interfacing to the facing. It’s not invisible, but it has a much softer edge than if I had finished it another way.

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I’m so happy with how this top turned out! I think it fills the gap in my wardrobe perfectly, and I love the way the silk feels. In fact, it turns out that this is really pretty fancy silk, because I spotted a whole rack of garments made out of it when I walked past the Juliette Hogan store in Wellington a few weeks ago! Juliette Hogan makes gorgeous but eye watering-ly expensive clothes, and the ones made out of this silk seem to be priced at upwards of $400. I wonder if I would have chopped into my remnant so happily without making a muslin if I had known? Just as well it worked out so well… I’m considering this top the first garment for my entry into the #sewfrosting challenge, because the fabric is apparently so fancy and because a silk tee seems pretty frosting-like! I’m still up to my elbows in velvet dust working on my other garment, so stay tuned…

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I’ll also talk briefly about my trousers in these photos, they’re a pair of Named Alexandria Peg Trousers in a linen chambray from The Fabric Store. I’ve made this pattern twice before (here and here) but neither pair is still in my wardrobe, for one reason or another. I really love this pair though! The linen is soft and cool, and I think it suits the pattern really well. I can see them getting so much wear over the summer!

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The fit on these trousers is great, I should use the crotch curve to adjust less well fitting patterns! I also love the pleat-and-pocket combo. And elastic waists are always a good thing. I did the two rows of top stitching around the elastic waistband, but just looped the twill tape through the two buttonholes and tied it in a bow instead of threading it around the whole waistband.

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Is anyone else furiously sewing up their #sewfrosting entries? The end of November seems to have crept up super fast!

Floral Meridian Dress

I always love it when Papercut Patterns release a new collection, even though it means I have to immediately re-arrange my entire sewing list to accommodate the new patterns that jump to the top of my queue! This time I was lucky to get a sneak peek of the patterns- I responded to an Instagram tester call, and made up the Sierra Jumpsuit. It’s a super cool pattern, but that’s not what I’m posting about today! I haven’t moved past the muslin stage with the jumpsuit yet, but once the collection was released I nabbed myself a copy of the beautiful Meridian Dress and immediately sewed it up for my upcoming work Christmas party.

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The dress came together really easily, but has some clever techniques and drafting to make the front wrap portions of the dress. I did have a bit of trouble figuring out how to shorten the bodice, as the front pattern piece is a pretty weird shape, and I probably didn’t do the best job, but when it’s all wrapped up it’s hard to tell if there’s anything amiss! I considered using french seams to sew this up, but in the end I just went with overlocking them and pressing them open. I wouldn’t have been able to use a french seam for the centre front or back seams, so I figured I might as well treat them all the same! I did the hems with a blind hem stitch on my machine, I love that finish.

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I think the back is just as pretty as the front! The invisible zipper finished half way up the back bodice, leaving a keyhole and button and loop to close the top of the dress. I used a small fabric covered button, and I think it’s turned out pretty cute! I really like the length of the ties as well, they’re really well proportioned with the length of the skirt. The pleats on the front and back skirt help to give it enough wearing ease and swishy-ness to be comfortable, but the skirt still feels slim and modern to me.

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Before I saw the patterns I had bought myself a length of this gorgeous Atelier Brunette viscose pique from Miss Maude Fabrics, and once I saw the patterns I knew it would be a perfect match for the Meridian dress! It was lovely to sew with, it’s really light and floaty but also fairly stable. It didn’t seem to want to slip off the table or out from under my pins like some silky fabrics do! I do wonder if it camouflages the details of the pattern a bit though, the wrap front and the pleats in the skirt aren’t as obvious as they would be in a smaller print or a plain fabric. And I’ve only just noticed that I’ve cut the front skirt piece upside down to the rest of the pieces, I didn’t think the print was directional but those big pale pink loopy flowers are definitely up the other way on the rest of the dress!

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I’ve been playing around with different ways to wear the wrap front, the top picture is just wrapped around my waist as shown in the sample photos, but the second picture is the ties knotted together in the front and then tied in the back. I really like the second way as well, it’s hard to tell in the photos but it gives the bodice a slightly looser, more blousy fit and changes the overall silhouette of the dress.

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I love this dress! I love the shape and the length and the sleeves, I love the weight of the fabric and the print and the colours. I feel really good in it, and I know I’m going to get a bunch of wear out of it! Now I’ve just got to get going with my Sierra Jumpsuit, and also the Palisade Pants…and maybe the Pinnacle top too…

 

Denim Fiona Dress

Is anyone else struggling to get their head around the fact that it’s November? I’m not ready for there to be Christmas displays in the shops! This year just seems to have disappeared, I’m not sure what I’ve done with it. I mean, I did hand in my research project last week, which means that I’ve finally finished my Masters of Information Studies (provided I pass, of course, though I would be a bit salty if my supervisor had let me hand in something below a pass level!). I don’t think I realised how much space it had been occupying in my mind this year until it was all handed in and no longer in my control, and I’ve been enjoying daydreaming about all of my summer sewing plans rather than musing about my data matrix or something equally dull.

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This dress is one which I sewed up in tiny chunks in between writing up my results and discussion sections. It’s the Fiona Sundress from Closet Case Patterns, and it was a good one to sew in drips and drabs! I could sew the front princess seams, then write a couple of paragraphs, then sew the back princess seams, then draw up some figures and charts, then sew the side seams…you get the picture!

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I really loved the 90’s style of the longer version, and I loved the drama of the low backed version, but I decided to be very sensible and make up the mini-length with the high back! I just really hate not wearing a bra, and I wanted to be able to wear it without a tee shirt underneath when we get further into the summer. I do wish I had made the below-knee version rather than the mini length, but I think this length will be good with tights when I’m layering it for cooler weather too.

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Fiona was a fun wee pattern to sew up, and came together with minimal fuss or changes! I took a centimeter off the bottom of the bodice to account for my short waist, and possibly could have taken a sliver more off at the centre back for my sway back, but I’m not too bothered. I did have to shorten the straps considerably, but that’s easy enough! The instructions even remind you to wait until you get to the point you can try the dress on before securing the straps at the back, in case they need to be altered. I do wonder if I should have taken it in a bit through the bodice, there’s a bit of extra ease under my arms and around my waist, but I really didn’t want a tight dress so I’m not overly bothered!

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I used a lovely stretch denim from The Fabric Store, it was marked as Marc Jacobs and was on special for something crazy cheap so I bought a bit of it! I’ve got enough for another pair of Ginger Jeans, which is timely as my first blue pair are getting pretty ratty now. I think denim works really well for this pattern, especially for the shorter versions, but I wish I had used a lighter fabric for the strap and top band facings. I cottoned on in time to use a chambray for the pocket facings, and I think it would have worked better to reduce the bulk at the top of the button bank especially. Having a rigid fabric facing at the top there might also have helped to combat the slight gape I get under my arms too (seriously exaggerated in the above photo!).

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All those lovely copper buttons came from Miss Maude Fabrics, and yes, making 14 buttonholes and whacking in 14 buttons was a bit of a chore! Honestly, getting in and out of this dress is a bit of a chore too, even though I only have to undo the top 6 buttons. If I was going to make it again, especially in a lighter fabric like linen, I think I would stick a long invisible zip in the side seam, just to make it easier to get in and out of! I would probably still make the buttonholes, but at least it would make getting dressed in the dark at 6am before work easier.

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I am really happy with it though, I’m looking forward to getting to wear it with bare shoulders and sandals like this! It looks cute over my striped tee shirts too though, so I’ll be able to wear it no matter what Wellington decided to do with the weather…