Sweater Weather

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It’s still cold in Houston. In fact, it goes from 60 to 70 and down to 50 in one day. Seriously, what the hell is that? It makes dressing 10 times difficult because you’re cold in the morning so you layer up, then you’re hot in the afternoon and everything comes off. Once the evening rolls in, you’re so damn confused, you just stand there in your yoga pants and tank top hoping you won’t get hot or cold. Then it rains. True story.

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Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m still sporting sweaters. Since I have so few of them, I’ve really been utilizing the same ones over again. I’ve worn this cream sweater a number of ways (here it is with this cream coat and then here with this red/white combo). While my office doesn’t require us to dress business-casual, there are times when I like to bring my A-game to my cube. (Plus, I know most of you guys work in corporate so this might be something you can try).

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I purchased these pants from the Limited a couple of years ago. Speaking of Limited, I was slightly jealous of the popular girls in junior high, who had the “LTD.” sweatshirts, tops or matching plaid skirt/blazer outfits that Cher wore in Clueless. Some of you may or may not know what I’m talking about. Now, I rarely ever shop there (and those girls…not so popular anymore). The one time I did go into the store, I scored these pants (they fit so well, I got them in white). I like that these are a gray-blue, a bit of a different color. I kept everything with this outfit pretty simple, sticking to a blue/gray color palette and wearing nude pumps. Nothing fancy—just nicely tailored pants and a sweater (yet again).

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Square Dancing with Boys

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Let me start by saying, I LOVE the rodeo; however, this wasn’t always the case. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years and I can count on half of one hand how many times I went to the rodeo pre-mid 20s. It’s not because I used to hate country music (though Taylor Swift’s tween, country-pop crap really makes me reconsider the music…Reba fo’ life!) or that haystacks give me the worst allergy attacks ever. It was the fact that when the rodeo came to town it also brought the elementary and junior high Physical Education (aka PE) course of SQUARE DANCING.

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How I dreaded, hated and ultimately forced myself into the gymnasium for those few weeks of god-awful dancing (side note: even this, wasn’t going to stop me from getting the Perfect Attendance award). Now you’re either A. Wondering Why did Jo hate this so much? or B. Know exactly how I felt. For some of us, especially the socially awkward ones, situations like this in elementary or junior high were a nightmare. Throw in some boys and well…our lives are over. (Yes, my fear of boys started at a very young age). It didn’t help that the PE teachers insisted we do these ridiculous dances while Promenading, Do-Si-Do-ing and Allemande-ing but we had touch boys…like actually had to hold their hands. Ew. All of this, FOR A GRADE. Double Ew. I mean, MY Report Card relied on the fact that I had to learn how to dance…in a square…with a boy.

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After a whole hour of torture, there were the girls who stayed back in their little gym shorts (especially in junior high) to giggle with the boys, those who walked back to the locker room either because they didn’t care or were hoping to catch the eye of some boy (and who secretly wanted to be one of those giggling-girls) and then, there was me. Running, as if I were being chased by a herd of wild animals, to get to a sink so that I could wash off whatever horrid, snotty, germy substance the boys had left on my precious hands. Then quickly dressing, speed walking to my desk or locker—to my books—where I was finally safe.

By the time junior high came around, I had become an independent, my-mom-makes-my-lunch, semi-confident, 4-eyed geek who was unwilling to rely on some boy to help me get an “A” in PE. It was time to do something about this. Three jr. high years later, there I was, letting some weirdo boy “swing me by the arm” to the sound of a banjo and a chicken. Mission unaccomplished.

Now, not everything about square dancing was horrible. It actually taught me quite a few life lessons—who Billy Ray Cyrus is, the Macarena dance and that boys still don’t know how to Do-Si-Do worth crap.

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Cat in the Hat

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We have a third birthday to celebrate. I know…how did that even happen? I don’t mean this in the OMG! Time goes by so fast! It’s been 3 years!—sense. I mean it more in the Whoa…you’re still here?—sense. In this era of, let’s say…”social media domination”, the blogging world is saturated. Practically, everyone and everything has a blog. Even retailers who already have great websites and content (i.e. J. Crew or Kate Spade) also have blogs. I believe it’s the best media for storytelling; which is what every marketer aims to do. The key is to form a bond with your readers or clients. The best way to do this is to give them the inside scoop, make them feel connected to your brand.

However, blogs tend to die off fast and for hundreds of reasons other than, the blogger gets busy. While, I’ve gone through times, even a month or so when I barely posted anything (eh…life happens), I’ve always tried to re-center myself and come back here. It still serves as my most creative outlet. Even if people don’t like my outfits, the way I write, my limited backgrounds, hell…even how I change the look every few months—I’ve made a commitment to it. Plus, there are a select few individuals who enjoy it too. A good blog doesn’t necessarily mean one that is inundated with comments, sponsors, viewers, etc. but one in which the writer truly enjoys what they are doing and has committed themselves to making it theirs or one that fulfills the mission of an institution/company.

In other words, let’s just say blogs (this one in particular) are not going anywhere. Well, mine may go onto a self-hosted platform one day, but that’s for us weird blog-tech geeks to be enthusiastic about. Here’s to another 3 years!

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I really don’t know what it is about this outfit but I kind of feel like a Dr. Seuss character. Maybe it’s the hat? Maybe with the red/white/black and leopard print – I literally am the Cat in the Hat? Also, mixing leopard with stripes – I’m a fan. Like a HUGE fan. Now all I need is green eggs and ham.

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To see how I wore this combo last year, click here.

P.S. Every year around this time, I try and put up a blogging tips piece. This year will be no different. Right now, I have a “How to Design Your Own Blog” post in the works. It still needs a few touch-ups but for the most part, it’s done. So, if you guys are interested in some first-hand knowledge about how to create a simple, well-thought out blog or website design, it’s coming. Don’t you fret.

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Leather & Butter – Do Not Go Together

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Yes, I am a repeat offender. Kind of. Unfortunately, the two main pieces from the original post, Leather & Jewels, are no longer with us. Both the leather skirt and shirt were involved in a freak-washing-machine accident, having gone to their respective heavens just a few months ago. RIP.

I’ve since replaced one of them. Seriously though, why are all the black, leather skirts these days too tight, too short or too skanky? Anyways, this is still one of my favorite combinations – you can find the first take on this outfit here. While the styling and fabrics used are very similar – chambray, leather and shirt buttoned-up with a necklace, both looks are still quite different. I have to say, leather and chambray are kind of like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together.

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Speaking of food, can I just plug in a blogging pet peeve here? Bloggers who call leather “buttery”. For example, “I love the soft, smooth buttery feeling these leather pants give off.” What in the hell does this even mean? Like how would you even know this, unless you actually sat down and spread butter all over your legs? Which I can guarantee would probably not feel that awesome. Plus, you’ll be slipping and sliding everywhere and getting it in unmentionable parts. Just simply say, “it feels smooth”. Don’t compare it to butter. I eat butter – and I love it. I don’t eat leather.

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Related posts:

Leather & Jewels

DIY: Hello! or Good Day! Sweatshirt

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Udey (aka Dad) Talks Marriage

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Note: I realize these images have nothing to do with my dad but I couldn’t help but post this experience as opposed to talking about what I’m wearing. FYI: Dads really are some of the cutest people on this planet.

My dad has never been on my case about getting married the way my mom has. Yes, there’s the occasional “Get married!” or if he wants to be a bit more specific: “What are you doing with your life? Nothing. Get married!” But never has he expressed any interest in being involved. (Well, there was one time where he collected my e-mail address, gave it out incorrectly and then my mother blamed me for giving him the wrong one (?) when the guy never e-mailed me).

However, the other week, he took a slightly different approach. This, I will try and reenact here. Hopefully, it unfolds just the way it actually happened.

I’ve just sat down to catch up on Downton Abbey and am scarfing down a slice of pizza.

Dad (while digging around in the fridge for something sweet to eat): Soooooooooooo Joooooo…

Me: Yes?

Dad: I was wondering if we could talk?

Me: About what?

Dad: About the word.

Me: What word?

Dad: Well, you know…THE word.

Me: What the hell are you talking about?

Dad: You know…the big “M” word.

Me: No.

Dad: You know, I just want to talk.

Me: I don’t talk. (I’m very good at making conversation).

Dad: I just feel like as your dad, we should talk about things.

Me: I pass.

Dad: You’re my daughter. I care about you. This is what dads and daughters do. They talk.

Me (with a huge piece of pizza in my mouth): No, I’m uncomfortable.

Dad: Fine, I’ll come back when you are more comfortable.

Dad leaves the room with a bowl of ice cream and returns 10 minutes later with a big smile.

Dad: Hi Jyoti!

Me: Go away.

Dad: I don’t want to go away, I want to talk.

Me: And I want to watch my show.

Dad: Do you date?

In my head: Whoa! What is happening?!? Naturally, I said…

Me: What? Ew. Why are you asking me these things?

Dad: Like, do you need any help? Do you want MY help?

Me: This is making me feel awkward.

Dad (looks down at the floor, shuffling his feet): You know…I’m turning 64 in 3 weeks. I just want to make sure…

Me: Dad, this is a weird conversation and we’re not having it.

Dad: Marriage is not weird.

Me: I did not say that. I said THIS CONVERSATION is weird.

Dad: Why? Your mom got married at a young age.

He is obviously not listening to anything that I’m saying.

Dad: She said OK and did it.

Dad: Do you think she made the right choice?

I am just staring at him, I have no words.

Dad (looks down again in a shameful way): I think she made a pretty good choice.

I think I might have just died a little inside.

Dad: I mean, she’s happy. Things turned out good. Don’t you think so?

I am still just staring at him. I still have not responded.

Dad (looks up at me): You know what? You’re tired today. We’ll save this conversation for tomorrow. Same time. Same place.

He leaves and I’m sitting there with a droopy pizza hanging from my mouth.

Was this just a real conversation? Did he really just say all these things? Obviously, it was his attempt at trying to get through to me. While my mother’s approach tends to be more pressure-filled and dramatic – “You’re SOOOOO old! No one is ever going to like you now.” Or his mom (aka my grandmother/ba) who often says, “Can you get married? Go on the internet. Do this before I leave this world.” His was so sweet and subtle.

 Did he break me? No. However, every time I recap this “conversation” in my head, I can’t help but smile and want to give him a great big hug. Engineers…sneaky, smart ones, they are…trying to tug at your heart strings. Bravo Udey! I give you an “A” for effort.

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Floral & Fur

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Let me begin by apologizing. It’s been cold and rainy most weekends. With that, my picture-taking has had to move from the outside to the inside (and by “inside”, I mean garage). Hence, the reason why they are all on a white background (as opposed to the green of my garden or the brick wall of my house). With that, please bear with me over the next few weeks while most of my photos are taken in the same spot. I know…I know…this is boring. On the up side, I think it helps the outfit stand out and I don’t get too cold. (Hey…I got to justify the utilization of this white backdrop somehow).

I’m also going to start posting my Peru travel experiences over the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned for photos, thoughts and recommendations (in case you ever go).

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To the outfit. I mentioned in my last post that layering has become a bit easier and more fashionable with a few trends coming into play. Here again, is my favorite combo of faux-fur vest and utility jacket (something I did a couple years back in this winter-post).

DSC_0925T-shirt, leggings & scarf – F21, Booties and hat – Target, Faux-fur vest – gifted, Jacket – Ross 

For a bit of color to an otherwise neutral-colored outfit, I added the floral scarf. Not only is this one of the coziest outfits I’ve worn but it also happens to incorporate quite a few of the fall essentials I posted about last year. Including leggings (or leather pants), utility jacket, gray t-shirt and booties.  So there you go, another variation to add to the other outfits created with these pieces.

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To view the original Fall Essentials post + outfits, click here.

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Simple Winter

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I’ve been meaning to start posting fashion-related content again and putting up some pictures from Peru but I’ve been a bit sick. I picked up some weird Peruvian-stomach bug thing and finally fought it off at the end of last week. I promptly celebrated this victory with a huge plate of drunken noodles and tofu at Thai Gourmet. It was so damn good that I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Along with a donut.

While I really want to talk about my trip, I’m going to save it for another post as there is so much to tell! All I can say is, that if it’s someplace that you have been wanting to go, please go. Especially before it gets too touristy. Not only is it absolutely beautiful but it is also one of the friendliest countries I have ever been to. The experience is something completely different and I definitely recommend that everyone go, at least once. That, my friends, is all I’m going to say for now.

On another note, I do have to say that I feel a bit lucky that I have not had to experience this polar vortex bombarding most of the U.S. However, by Houston standards it has been much colder than years past. Normally by this time of the year, I’m bored with winter-wear. Which really hasn’t been the case, yet. I did get to experience a few days of hot, shorts-worthy weather while on vacation, so it may have lulled me over for a tiny bit.

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I’ve slowly been dumping my slew of colored clothing (for the time being) and gravitating more towards blacks, navy, cream, olive green and other neutral colors. Then layering them up. It sounds a bit boring but I have to say that I’ve really been enjoying this minimalistic style. I love that sweaters, cardigans and turtlenecks are not your only winter-layering options. With trends such as leather, utility jackets, faux-fur and sweatshirts (just to name a few), layering has become easier and more comfy. I guarantee that a couple of years back, I would never wear a sweatshirt in this fashion – layered with this jacket, boots with socks showing and walked out of the house to go to work or out with friends. It would have felt way too wrong. For me, utility jackets were too boxy, sweatshirts were for the gym and lounging around and boots with socks – no…just no. Fast-forward three years later, I feel like this outfit is something that really suits my personality. I’m more comfortable in it and I like that I don’t need to wear “dressy” things to feel dressed up. Just the leather pants make me feel that way. It just goes to show, that your own personal style and outlook on fashion are always evolving.

I normally don’t post on weekends but since I hadn’t put up anything in quite some time, I thought I’d go ahead and get something up. Hope everyone is having a happy weekend (and staying warm)!

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Off to Peru!

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Well hello there…and Happy New Year! I know…I’m 7 days late in saying it. However, if you really think about it, in the long-scheme of things it’s really not that bad. I mean, some people have already broken their resolutions and it’s only been 7 days. Now that…is pretty bad.

The last few weeks have been nothing but crazy and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know it’s because I’ve been planning an excursion to Peru! One of my best friend’s and I decided to kick-off 2014 with a bang. With that, we’re headed to Peru to explore Lima, Cusco and hike our way up Huayna Picchu and Macchu Picchu AND we leave tomorrow! So yeah, I’ve barely had time to think about resolutions and goals for this year. All I know is that there is A LOT that I want to get done and I’m thinking this trip is really going to help me re-energize and refresh.

While I really wanted to have a full post up before I left, this is the best I could do. With that, I bid all of you Adios! I’ll see you back here in a couple of weeks where I plan on sharing my adventure and having some good posts for the new year!

xo, jo

P.S. If anyone has been to Peru – any tips or recommendations will be helpful!

Top 13 Moments of 2013

2013…I have to say, you did quite a few pretty awesome things. Now, in no particular order, here are my…

13 Top Moments of 2013

1. Real-life super heroes who come together to help save the day.

Phillippines Relief and Boston Marathon

2. Destiny’s Child Super Bowl Halftime Show Reunion Performance – There was SO much booty-shaking (and flames) on this stage that I just couldn’t handle it. Like, I….just…couldn’t. (They were right).

Destinys Child Super Bowl Reunion

3. N’Sync Reunion Performance on the VMAs - Destiny’s Child AND N’Sync – in ONE year?!?! 2013 made. Note: there was a lot of loud singing, fist pumping and screeching done during this performance.

NSYNC Reunion Performance

4. Stephen Colbert’s “Get Lucky” Performance - MTV…as if you don’t suck enough already – you deny Daft Punk to Stephen Colbert. Well, here is his awesome “slap in your face.” 

Stephen Colbert Get Lucky Performance

5. Malala’s Interview on The Daily Show - Can she be president…of the world…like yesterday?

Malala Daily Show Interview

6. Google India Commercial – Cried like a baby.

Google India Commercial

7. Wendy Davis’s 11-Hour Filibuster to Block Senate Bill 5 – I mean, this woman came prepared – fashionably dressed, hair did, killer kicks and sharp words. Three words…What a BOSS.

Wendy Davis Filibuster

8. Rejection of DOMA – You fly that rainbow flag boo.

DOMA Rejection

9. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Hosting the Golden Globes – If only Mindy Kaling was in on this, my life would have been made.

Tina Fey Amy Poehler GG Hosts

10. Nina Davuluri becoming the First Indian Woman to Win the Miss. America Title – No amount of twitter-flavored haterade stopped this woman. Seriously…women were on a major GIRL POWER role this year.

Nina Davulvuri Miss America

11. Orlando Bloom Reprising his Role as Legolas in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Did you really think I would leave this off my list?

Legolas in The Hobbit

12. Nelson Mandela – Even though we lost him this year – his words, actions and heart will always live on to inspire.

Nelson Mandela

13. The pound sign is forever changed. #wanttohatethem #cannothatethem #wewontstop  #watchthisformorehashtagfun

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! XO, JO

And now, the short version:

All images via Google.

DIY // Fleece-Lined Scarf

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I had my eye on a blue/green plaid scarf at ZARA. It’s flannel was so soft and it wrapped around my neck 4 times which made it nice and thick. Unfortunately, thirty bucks for a piece of flannel fabric (esp. in Houston) was not something my wallet was into so I had to break up with the scarf right there. It was a sad day. I kept thinking about it for a couple of days and decided I just had to have one but I’d make it myself .

I couldn’t find any flannel that was the same fabric as the original scarf nor a print that had enough material. Plaid seems to be pretty hot right now. So I decided I’d buy whatever plaid fabric was left and then add a piece of fleece in the middle (of 2 pieces) to make it thick and warm enough. When I sat down, I had enough for 2 scarves and it only cost me $20. High five to me.

It’s actually quite simple to make and would be perfect as a gift! Details about supplies and steps on how to make the scarf are at the end of the post.

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This is one of my favorite outfits on the blog this year. I’m not sure why, maybe because it’s so simple yet chic. Nothing about it is fussy and I put it together with really basic pieces found in my closet. Under the coat is this black blazer which I found on sale at Target a week ago. I love the leather detailing on the collar (which you can’t see) and running up the back of the arm sleeves (seen in the top right picture below).

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DSC_1280_w textBlack coat: TJ Maxx (very old), Bag – Houston Flea Market (very old)

DIY // Fleece Lined Scarf Tutorial

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What you will need:

  • 2 – 2 1/2 yards of fabric
  • 2 – 2 1/2 yards of fleece
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing pins
  • Tape measure / ruler
  • Scissors (fabric shears are the best)
  • 1 yard of trim (optional) i.e. tassels, pom-poms, ribbon, yarn

Click on image to enlarge.

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1. Keeping your fabric in its original fold, iron out the wrinkles.

2. PREPPING THE FABRIC (Sorry, I don’t have any images for this step so hopefully this makese sense! See image number 2 above for what the piece of fabric should look like once this step is completed): Still keeping your fabric in its original fold (length-wise), lay it out onto a hard surface, making sure all the edges are lined up. Measure half-way (width-wise) and mark it with a pin. Continue to do so along the entire length of the fabric, pinning every few inches. (If using plaid fabric, you maybe able to use the lines as your guide otherwise you may need to draw a line using the pins as your guide). Cut the fabric in half, so that you have two long pieces of fabric that are 2 – 2 1/2 yds. in length. Take the piece that still has the original fold and cut the fold, to create two seperate pieces. You should have 4 pieces total now. (You can either make 2 scarves or save the other 2 pieces for another project).

3. Lay out your fleece, then lay one of the two previously cut pieces on top of the fleece. Use this fabric as your guide and cut the fleece length-wise. This piece of fleece is what is going to go in the middle of the two previously cut pieces of fabric.

4. Make sure your fleece is 1″ shorter in length from the top and bottom then the piece of fabric on top.

5. Keeping one piece of fleece on the ground, lay the two pieces of fabric right on top, lining up all the edges (make sure that the fabric on top is 1″ longer than the fleece from the top and bottom). Read this part carefully or you will hate yourself: If you are using a fabric, that when flipped over is “white-ish” (this is the back) – you will need to take the two pieces of fabric and lay them on top of each other so that the printed sides touch. (If you do not do this, you will do what I did – sew it and when turned inside out, one side will be printed and the other will not be. $*@! Then you have to seam-rip everything and start over). Pin the pieces length-wise, at least 1/2″ – 1″ away from the edges. Leave the shorter edges (width) unpinned.

6. Place one edge of the fabric on your sewing machine. Depending on how wide you want your scarf to be, begin to sew a straight line 1/2″ – 1″ away from the edge of the fabric (length-wise) but start 1″ down from the top or where all three layers of the scarf first meet. Continue to sew a straight-line all the way to the bottom but leave another 1″ of fabric (or stop when the three layers stop touching). Do the same on the other side of the fabric. Carefully, turn the scarf inside out and smooth out the edges.

This is the easiest way to seal the shorter edges of the scarf.  

7. Take the side edges and fold them into the “hole” (as if you are wrapping a gift). It should form angles on the edges (as seen in the image).

8. Tuck in the frayed edges into the “hole”.

9. This is what it should look like.

10. Make sure it it’s tucked in nicely so that the edges are straight and even. Place your pins on the fabric about 1/2″ way from the edge to secure the fold before sewing. Sew an exposed straight line to seal the edge. Repeat for the other end.

OPTIONAL: Adding Trim

11. Take your trim and measure it out to the same width as the edge of the scarf and cut.

12. Place the trim in between the tucked folds of the scarf. Then place your pins on the the fabric to secure the folds and trim together before sewing. Make sure everything is lined up. Sew an exposed straight line to seal all the pieces. Repeat for the other end.

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