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Sometimes I Wear Swishy Pants...just for fun!

These pants were NEVER on my radar, I mean like EVER, NEVER. I have had a dislike for these types of pants in the past because every pair I’ve made were horrible on me. So I gave it up for bad, it honestly made me so sad, I know that sounds silly and it probably is. I saw all these lovely women wearing them and looking so classy and comfortable, I was envious. I wanted to wear them too. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never wear culottes or wide legged pants or even cropped wide legged pants. 

Fast forward several months and the Samara pants by Itch to Stitch were released, I ignored them. My friend made them and she looked so fab in hers, she exclaimed over the pattern. It was so well drafted she explained, she just knew these would work for me. She had been there for me through all my previous flops with wide legged pants. As my friend is such an experienced and amazing seamstress, I went for it. I am so, so glad I did!

The pattern is rated as beginner + and I would say that is accurate. First, this pattern is so elegant in its simplicity. With the right fabric, you have a pair of staple pants or even statement pants depending on your choice of fabric. As it is summer here and another friend had made a lovely pair of linen trousers last year in white, I unashamedly copied her. I chose this amazing Wooltouch Stretch Twill Fabric in optical white.  When I originally chose this fabric, I had an entirely different project in mind as I often do. However, once I had it in my hands I knew it was for the Samara pants. 

I did make a couple of minor adjustments to the pattern. The sizing was perfect for my waist and hips, I made the size 12. As some of you may know, I’m pretty short, only 62.5 inches tall so I needed to take off some length for sure. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t wind up with saggy bottom blues, so I measured the crotch curve carefully and compared it with my measurements. I ended up shortening the front and back rise by ¾ of an inch. I ended up taking a total of 3.5 inches off the length between the initial shortening and correcting the hem after it hung to let the bias drop. 

I honestly cannot say enough about this fabric. It is so soft, so drapey, so lovely to work with. I had minimal shrinkage, if any. I measured before and after laundering and it may have been a centimeter or two shorter. It washed and dried nicely in a warm wash and warm dryer. Sewing this was really nice as well as pressing it. Now, do be careful of pressing on the right side of the fabric as with most viscose/rayon it will create a shine. So you can either press from the back or use a press cloth. 

My machine sewed this like a dream. I ended up slip stitching the waistband closed because I didn’t want to deal with the possibility that it might hang up and the thicker ends of the waistband, where the closure goes. Ultimately, I think that was the better finish. It looks much more polished and clean looking on the inside. I did, however, machine hem them. I did not feel like hand hemming those crazy wide leg hems! 

These pants, in this fabric are the wide legged pants I was longing for! I love them, I want to dance in them! I need to learn to dance first, but think of the possibilities! This fabric would make beautiful dresses and blouses that call for a good bit of drape. I hope you all can get your hands on some because you will not be disappointed in the least. I am super excited to wear these as soon as I possibly can! 

Sew, Laugh, Repeat

~Viv

@_stitchesandseams_

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Jumpsuit For My Niece!

Hi Minerva crafters, I mainly sew for myself but every now and then I make something for my family too, and most of the times it is for my niece. She is a teenager and it is quite hard to make her something that she would wear as like most of her friends she prefers to wear what everyone is wearing, however she likes  that  I make clothes for her so despite the fact that she doesn’t wear often what I make, I keep sewing for her one or two garments every year. This time I made her a jumpsuit, asked her what colour she wanted it and she went for black and so black it is.

I chose this beautiful quality Viscose Moss Crepe Fabric from Minerva, it drapes very well and it turned out to be a great choice for this jumpsuit. 

The pattern is Burda 6516, view A is a jumpsuit that has wide legs and a long zipper in the back making it easy to put on and take off, view b is a top with short sleeves featuring a peplum and view c is 7/8-length pants with a shaped waistband. It’s a lovely pattern and I might make the top and the trousers for me at some point. The pattern comes in sizes 34 to 48 and I made size 36 based on the measurements chart but should have definitely had made size 34 for her as it fits her quite loose, I bought her a red belt to wear it with so that it does not look too big on her, the fabric is very drapey and it looks quite good with the belt on.

The construction is quite easy, the neckline is finished with a facing and so does the armhole  in view A but I chose to add sleeves so they are finished by turning the seam allowance in. I didn’t have a black zipper in my stash so I used a red one but using the invisible zipper foot the zipper is almost invisible, you can see that it is red if you pull the fabric but I find it looks quite nice and it also coordinates with the red belt, it’s a nice featuring detail. The pattern also features pockets and at first I thought to omit them but my niece asked me to keep them so I added the pockets too, when she tried the jumpsuit, pockets were her most favorite part.

I had to take in the center back seam by 2 cm on each side to make it fit nicely in the back and I also adjusted the center back seam on the trousers starting at 2 cm in the waist and tapering it to nothing at the zipper notch, I did this so that the waist seam of the top and of the trousers would match. I also shortened the trousers as the pattern has a floor length while my nice wanted to have ankle length.

She really liked the jumpsuit when she tried it and I hope she’ll have the opportunity to wear it. Pictures are not great but it was so difficult to convince her to model the jumpsuit and I just managed to take a few quick pictures on the balcony.

Take care,

Aida @aida_k.t

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Stretch Sateen Simplicity 8394 Skirt

Hi, I’m Veleta and I’m back on the Minerva blog to show you my skirt (Simplicity pattern 8394), made using this black and beige Stretch Sateen Fabric from Minerva. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I really love this fabric and when I received it I was torn between a few patterns. The fabric was silky and soft. After feeling it and seeing the drape, I eventually chose the skirt pattern designed by Mimi G for simplicity. It’s a fun summer pattern. The fabric has a little stretch and would work perfectly for my pattern, especially since the skirt pattern is fitted. I had 2.10 meters of fabric. It was a little more than I needed but it’s better to be safe, since I have to lengthen most of my skirts because I’m on the taller side.

Mimi G has YouTube sew-along videos for most, if not all, of her Simplicity patterns. I’ve used her videos before and find them to be very helpful for sewing the pattern itself, along with learning new techniques. This skirt had very few pieces, so it was a simple and fast sew. I didn’t need any video assistance from Mimi G for this project.

I’ve never used sateen before with any garment. This was a new one for me. I wanted the silky look, which in return I’d hope would make a great night on the town outfit. I pre-washed and air dried my fabric before cutting into it. The website stated the fabric could shrink up to 10% but I didn’t encounter much shrinkage at all. Great news for me! Due to the slipperiness of the fabric and potential for runs because it is a woven fabric, I used pattern weights, clover clips and my rotary cutter. The clover clips were gifted to me. I didn’t realize how helpful they were until I used them to hold this sateen together. Cutting was fast, easy and accurate.

I had to cut between two sizes because my waist is a 32” and my hips are 44”. I cut a size 18 but added a few inches to the hips to make it a 44 with ease. I didn’t take a picture of that to spare readers. You can see how my hips very nicely slide into this skirt. We had no seam failures during this photoshoot. The bottom half of the skirt is sized for the size 18. The pattern fits pretty close to the envelope sizes.

When completing the invisible zipper, I found the fabric to be a bit stretchier than I thought.  My invisible zipper is not so invisible, but the color of the zipper coordinates with the fabric, so it doesn’t look bad. Due to the stretch of the fabric and the tightness of the skirt, my skirt fit to my body resulting in the fabric being pulled away from the zipper. I thought about trying to redo the zipper a few times, but I figured I wouldn’t let perfection stop me from finishing my project. We often need to remind ourselves that perfection is one of our biggest inherent challenges.

I overlocked the seam allowances within my skirt. I believe it’s important, especially for a professional look, to have the garment clean inside. If you don't have a serger then you want to use the zig zag stitch that looks similar to an overlock stitch. You always want to put your best forward.

The one challenging (or time consuming) objective for this pattern was the narrow stitch at the bottom of the flounce. I have a flat foot hem but the fabric was too thick for my liking. I sewed a basting stitch ¼ from the edge and pulled the stitch until in folded in nicely. Then, I pressed the seam and folded it again and pressed. I top-stitched on the right side of the skirt. All done!

I can wear this skirt out on date night around town or with a nice blouse and black blazer to match for work. Two outfits in one!

Hopefully, I inspired you to give this fabric a try with this pattern or another multi-use skirt pattern. The performance of this fabric will surprise you.

Best of luck in your next sewing adventure!

Talk soon,

Veleta @veletaleta

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The Jade Tee from Made by Rae

I recently got the Jade Tee from Made by Rae as I thought it had some interesting design differences to many other t-shirt patterns out there. It has a lovely sweeping curved hem and a boat neckline and ballet neckline, both of which I find very elegant.
When I received this navy Cotton Jersey Fabric I knew it would be perfect for a Jade top and decided to make the boat neck version.
The pattern doesn't have many pieces and was very quick and straightforward to put together. As with a lot of Rae's patterns, the instructions come with some extra useful information on sewing with knits and altering the pattern.
To create the boat neck, there are facing pieces included. You sew these to the neckline and then fold them under and topstitch. Unfortunately I overlocked mine to the neckline and then when I tried to fold them under it was really bulky and awkward due to the overlocked seam allowance. In the instructions it gives the option for an exposed facing finish, which is basically a normal knit neckband, so I decided to leave mine with the exposed facing.
I think it looks absolutely fine, but I am keen to try the concealed facing next time. So if you want to do the facing finish, I suggest attaching the facings to the neckline with your sewing machine, rather than racing on with the overlocker like I did!
I also love the look of the scooped ballet neckline at the back, so would like to try that one as well. This pattern is very versatile and is a lovely shape. It also comes with different sleeve lengths. I made the shortest ones as I wanted a cool, basic tee for summer.
The fabric is a perfect cotton jersey. It is 95% cotton and 5% spandex so the recovery is really good and it washes well. It also comes in a huge amount of colours! It was very easy and stable to work with and is my favourite kind of jersey for tops like this. I used my twin needle to finish the hems and this fabric made it really easy and the finish ended up being great!
I know I will get a lot of wear out of this top and it will still work layered under things when it gets cooler. A perfect combination of pattern and fabric and one that I will definitely be repeating in other colours.
Jenny x
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Vacation Kielo

The Kielo Dress by Named Patterns has been a very popular make in the sewing community. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure the pattern was for me. All the makes were beautiful but I couldn't picture myself wearing it. However, when I saw this fabric, I literally couldn't picture the fabric as anything else. It is the perfect pairing.
I recently got married and went to Cancun for my honeymoon. Sadly I made this dress after the trip but oh how it would have been the perfect outfit for Cancun. I guess I just need another vacation to wear it to, or I'll just talk my husband into a nice dinner for an occasion to wear it. 
This Jersey is printed, so the wrong side is white. I used black knit interfacing on the ties and it made the black in the print really pop. I found the jersey quite easy and quick to sew. I only had one time that my machine wanted to eat the fabric which is a common problem for me with jersey. I probably made this in maybe 3 hours altogether. Getting the darts in and ties ready took probably the longest. There are only 3 pattern pieces total.
I used a zig zag stitch on the neckband and armhole. I also used self fabric for the binding which I think gives it a really nice finish. I made a size 4 with no alterations. I'm 5'7" and I found the length perfect, so if you are on the shorter side, I would shorten it.
The pattern features a back vent which turned out beautifully. It really creates a elegant look when walking. 
I'm sure this fabric will look beautiful in many things but I think it's the perfect pairing with the Kielo. I probably would not have tried the pattern without this fabric. There is no better mood booster than wearing something that you feel beautiful in with the adding bonus of having made it.
Thanks for reading,
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Little Wild Things

Hi, it’s Naomi from Naomi Sews, and with one little boy, and another ‘team green’ baby on the way I am always on the lookout for cute, gender neutral cotton jersey prints.  Minerva have some brilliant ones at the moment, including this fantastic mint green Cotton Spandex Jersey Fabric.  I really like cotton spandex for t-shirts and baby clothes. The cotton content means that it feels breathable and comfortable, but the spandex really helps with stretch and recovery. We live quite an outdoorsy lifestyle, so the mountains, trees and foxes seemed perfect.

There are loads of lovely patterns out there for babies and children, and a surprising number of them are available for free. I decided that it would be really cute to have a co-ordinating outfit for baby and big brother for coming home from the hospital and for taking a few special pictures. My little boy is going to be a bit young to really understand what is going on, so I want to try and make him feel special and part of it all too. With that in mind, I have hunted out some free patterns from several different pattern makers which any of you can download and try.

This baby is due in the autumn/winter, so I knew that footed trousers would be a good place to start. It avoids the need for socks, while keeping little toes warm. The pattern that I found was the Vagabond Stitch Footed Pants. I wasn’t sure how the enclosed feet would be constructed, but it was much easier than I expected. The top and bottom of the foot are attached together first, which means that the foot can be sewn onto the trouser leg in the round in much the same way as you would add a cuff to a sleeve. It’s definitely a really neat little construction.

With my first baby, we found that they both need changing often, and don’t always like things pulling over their head so dressing needs to be a simple as possible.  I chose a t-shirt pattern with an envelope neckline so that it can stretch nice and wide over their head to make it as simple as possible. This one comes from Patterns 4 Pirates and is the Wee Lap Tee. I was impressed with the instructions and how well illustrated they were. As is often the case with baby things, the trickiest part is finishing the sleeve hems, because there is not much space around the sewing machine foot!

Patterns 4 Pirates also has a whole baby set of clothing, so I also made a version of their Teeny Beanie to keep a little head all cosy. This is the knot version, but there is also a super cute option with ears too that I think I’m going to have to make!

For big brother, I went with a pattern that I have used for him before- the Ringer Tee from Brindille and Twig.  When he was little I sometimes sewed a hacked version of it with a popper neckline, but it’s much easier to get things over his head now and I decided to keep it simple and stick to the pattern. The pattern repeat is quite big and distinctive, so to keep his looking streamlined I used a few scraps of plain grey cotton spandex for the cuffs and neckband.  I love finishing baby clothes with cuffs, rather than hems. They can be a little fiddly to sew, but they always look so neat once they are done.

There are a few really strong motifs in the print, particularly the fox, so while I didn’t worry too much about pattern matching across seams, I did try to arrange the print so that particularly distinctive motifs were mostly mirrored across the pieces.   I did manage to pretty much pattern match the footie piece onto the leg of the trousers, though I think that was more fluke than planning!

I’m really looking forward to being able to see them both in their outfits. Not too much more waiting, and I will definitely be using all these patterns again both for my little ones, and as really quick but lovely gifts for new parents. I would definitely recommend this cotton spandex for baby clothes. It behaved itself perfectly as it was sewn and I’m going to have to look at some of the other prints that Minerva stock (I’ve got my eye on this animal print) over the next few months. Let me know how you get on if you give any of these free patterns a try, or if you have some other favourites to share with me.

Naomi @ Naomi Sews

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Shirt Dress Sewing Fun

I’m happy to be back with another blog post for the Minerva blog and I’m so excited to share this project with you and hopefully inspire you to get sewing!

This project really came about because I’ve been wanting to sew myself a shirt dress for quite a while now. And when I saw this gorgeous, textured cotton/poly Shirting Fabric I thought it would the perfect fabric to make my shirt dress dreams come true.

When I got the fabric in my hands, I was not disappointed! It has such a soft feel and it’s so wonderfully drapey, not like those stiff shirting fabrics you’ll sometimes find. And I just love the little textured geometric design; it gives the fabric an extra special touch.

So, on to the shirt dress! I decided to use the Kalle Shirt and Shirtdress Pattern because I’ve just seen so many amazing versions of it on Instagram. And with the loose fit and not having to really deal with sleeves, I thought it would be a good first shirt dress for me.

I have to say, I’m so happy with how it turned out. I love the relaxed fit and it came together much faster and easier than I expected. I cut a straight size 12 and didn’t make any adjustments at all (not even to the length!). The instructions were so thorough that they made sewing it up super easy, even though this was my first attempt at a shirt collar and placket. And isn’t this pocket just amazing??

I think this fabric was really perfect for the pattern. It was very easy to work with as well. This would be a great fabric for a beginner to work with! Another plus is that it doesn’t really hold wrinkles much. I left the fabric crumpled in a ball on top of my dryer for about a week after prewashing and when I finally got around to moving it, there were barely any wrinkles!

So to finish off my post today I thought I would share a few tips with you to help you get confident to start sewing your first shirt or shirt dress based on what I learned through this project!

1.       Start with a pattern for your first attempt if you can. I’m all about drafting my own patterns but having never sewn a button up shirt or shirt dress, I didn’t even know where to start! Now that I understand the basic construction techniques; maybe I’ll draft my own next time.

2.       Don’t be afraid to look things up if you don’t understand the pattern instructions. There is so much info out there and you can find a tutorial for any part of the process you’re stuck on. Some pattern companies even have sewalongs for their patterns (I know Closet Case Patterns has one for the Kalle).

3.       Use light or medium weight fusible interfacing. Ok, this may seem obvious… but I’m a cheapo and always in a hurry, so I decided that instead of getting fusible interfacing I would just sew in some of my really thick, stiff muslin. It worked alright in the end, but things would have been so much easier and less bulky with regular interfacing (this was especially apparent when I was cutting open my buttonholes).

4.       Use flat fell seams at the side seams. It takes a little extra work but the results are so worth it! You’ll get such a professional finish.

All in all, I’m super happy with my new dress! I can already tell it’s going to be a closet staple for me and will get tons of wear all year round.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Carmen

@adoptyourclothes

Adopt Your Clothes blog

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Blue Ponte Dress

Hello everybody, I am Camelia from @calcedoniasewing and I am back today with a new project. A new dress, made in a gorgeous Ponte Roma from Minerva.

This fabric is actually perfect to be used on both sides as the backside is black so it could be used also for garments where the backside is visible. After I received it I washed it in the washing machine and hung it to dry. I only dry in the dryer the fabrics that I know will  get dried in the dryer. 

For cutting, I used my rotary cutter and most of the construction is made on the serger. 

The base pattern is from KnipMode Magazine issue 10/2017 , also as a PDF here, and also they offer a small video on YouTube where you can see how those pleats are constructed...I needed it as I did it wrong the first time:) 

I know it is a bit difficult to see because of my print but there are beautiful pleats in the bodice and the skirt and I knew my fabric was very soft so perfect for this design. 

Usually, I make a toile for the garments I sew, but I do skip it sometimes when I am confident ...or I know the risks are low:). In this case, I knew that I could have a lot of issues in the bust area and my usual swayback. To get an idea about the fit I  compared this pattern with a similar knit pattern that fits me well and actually copied the bust area on this pattern and so I got bust darts and a smaller armhole. Also, I used the back from my other dress and the sleeves. 

 I was so nervous when I put it on!... I did baste it for fit only as I didn`t want to take out millions of serger stitches :) And the fit was perfect! I am really pleased with the results, especially after all my abracadabra pattern changes and to be honest, I will stick with the test garment making, as that makes sewing the final garment much more enjoyable and less stressing.

To be sure that my neckline is not going to stretch out I used some seam tape, also the same for the back neck. As you can see the neckline is laying very nice and flat against the body. I really love the neckline on this dress!

For the hems, I used my cover stitch machine. The last few projects made with knit fabrics I used this machine to make the hems, after a long time of only double needles hems. I discovered that if I use Seraflock Thread in the looper of my cover stitch I get a beautiful stitch, without skipped stitches and all those typical problems for the cover stitch. I am so happy to use my machine as I was starting to think more and more what a waste of money that was, but now I am so happy to have it.

I enjoyed making this dress and I surely love the final dress, soft and comfortable, just perfect. 

Happy sewing and till next time! xx

Camelia  @calcedoniasewing

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Make Your Own Sunshine

Hello again friends, Miranda here, and today I'm sharing another pattern hack.

At any one time, I have a few sewing ideas and hacks knocking around in my brain, and sometimes those ideas need a little nudge before they manifest into something wearable.

In this instance the nudge came from a post on the Tilly and the buttons blog. It was all about hacking ideas for her Stevie dress/top pattern. One of the suggested hacks added a ruffled hem to the Stevie. This matched my idea of making a boxy, loose fitting dress with a ruffle at the hem perfectly. Since this look fits my style, trying out this hack was a no brainer for me. So let's talk about the fabric.

I chose to work with this stunning Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, in the aptly named colour, Sunshine. The first thing that jumped out at me was how vivid the colour was. It's a rich shade of yellow and the pictures on the Minerva website are spot on.

The fabric is listed as medium weight and at first I thought I may need to line this dress but it wasn't necessary. Linen is a fabric that becomes softer with each wash, so after I prewashed it as usual, I also washed it again after making the dress and I was able to notice the difference in softness and drape.

To achieve this look, I made the dress as instructed but I took 6 inches off the hem. I stitched two gathered rectangles together then attached them to the bottom of the dress. I also added pockets to the side seams. I decided to use french seams throughout the entire dress. Linen can fray so this helped to combat that (you could also use pinking shears to reduce fraying) and I also want this dress to last. Linen is known for its durability, so with french seams, I hope to be wearing this dress for many years to come.

Another added bonus to this dress is that it can been worn with the back yoke turned to the front. I actually like this look when I add a button instead of the optional ties.

Now let me tell you about the superpowers that lie within this dress. It was an exceptionally hot day (by British standards) when I took the photos for this dress. Even though it falls below my knees, the dress kept me remarkably cool. It was like air conditioning for my body. The breathable quality of this fabric makes it perfect for warm weather, and the choice of colours in this range means you will find one to suit your mood/garment.

Both the pattern and the hack are, in my opinion, suitable for beginners. The pattern comes with great written and colour photo instructions, which is usual for Tilly's patterns. The fabric is also beginner friendly because it's what I like to call a "well behaved fabric." It's stable, presses really well and is just a joy to sew with.

I hope you've enjoyed my take on the Stevie pattern. Until next time, thanks for reading, keep sewing (and hacking). 

Miranda @mirry_maker

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Separate Sewing With Familiar Fabric

A little while ago, you may have seen me on the Minerva blog, wearing a Jazz jumpsuit in this Gorgeous Fabric. In that blog, I explained that I had a plan for it and when it arrived, I ended up changed my mind. This project change meant that I had ended up with a little bit of this fabric left over and wanted to make use of it so you’ve got a second blog from me…but with some fabric you’ve seen before. If anything that just shows the versatility of this rayon crepe.

I had already made a jumpsuit for the original blog post so I really wanted to avoid making something that was a one piece, as in a dress or another jumpsuit. I took to looking in my pattern stash to see what separate patterns I had got. I was initially looking for some type of top, but then I came across this Simplicity 8605 Pattern. A few of the big box stores in the US have occasional pattern sales for the ‘big 4’ pattern companies and I know that I had bought this for about $1.99. I always try to stock up on patterns when these sales are on as I know I’m lucky to have access to them being that cheap! The culottes appealed to me the most but once I had taken a second look at the pattern, I really loved the longest length version and knew that long trousers were something that was missing from my wardrobe.

I cut a medium in this pattern and feel like that sizing was perfect. I sometimes don’t use the ‘big 4’ patterns as much, as I know from experience that their sizing can be a little tricky to get right. The pattern had 4 pieces; front, back, pockets & casing. I didn’t cut a tie belt as I thought it would be lost in this pattern print anyway. There was also a pattern piece for the elastic but I ended up just using that as a guide and not actually cutting it out.  

If you’ve never made trousers before, this would be a great pattern to start with as I feel like there’s not too much to worry about with the fit and construction. These were pretty straightforward to make and had simple side seam pockets.  

I found that the elastic casing was the most interesting part of the construction. It was a folded casing with a hole on the inside section to feed the elastic through each channel. There are two channels for the elastic and the pattern recommends using 5/8” elastic. I still created 2 channels but then settled on using just one of the channels as I only had wider elastic on hand. Using the lower channel for the elastic meant that the final look had more of a paperbag waist style, which I think looks great!

These trousers will be perfect to wear in most seasons here. They are light in weight and they pair well with a vest top, or once it gets a little cooler, I could easily wear these with a regular t-shirt. 

Natalie @threadsnbobbins 

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