Category Archives: sewing

McCalls 6927 Woven T

I knew it was going to be hot in Washington DC in June, and I knew I needed cool, comfortable clothing. and I wanted something dressier than the average t-shirt.Fabric Mart had some beautiful silk/cotton voiles on sale, and I already made up one piece into a peasant style top with lace accents. I used the second piece to make this woven T-shirt.

I made mine with a longer, flounced sleeve. The fabric is very light and airy, so it doesn’t get clammy, and the longer sleeve protects from the sun. Between the longer tunic length, the type of fabric, the print, and the long sleeves the end result looks more like a tunic than a t-shirt, but that’s Ok.

The pattern is easy, a front, a back, a sleeve, a neckband. I borrowed the semi circular sleeve flounce from a different pattern. It was easy to cut out and assemble, I used my serger. I finished the hem and sleeve flounce with a three thread rolled hem.

I also used a three thread rolled hem to attach the sleeve flounce to the sleeve and the neckband to the neck opening, so that the hem sits on the outside of the garment and resembles thin, thread-like seam piping.

Pattern Description: 
Simple darted woven T (or shell), in two lengths,

Three Thread Rolled Hem used as a seam

sleeveless or with long or short sleeves

Pattern Sizing:
I use RR (womens size).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes except for the sleeve flounce I added

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear and accurate

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it is a simple pattern that I can tweak to my taste and then use as a base for other designs, or surface designs (like dye, paint or embroidery).

Fabric Used:
Silk/Cotton Voile from Fabric Mart

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added semi circular flounces to the sleeves. I used a three thread rolled hem to finish the hem and sleeve flounces, and to attach the sleeve flounces to the sleeves and the neckband to the neck

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and Yes

 

 

 

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McCalls 7358 Wrap Top Make #1 and Make #2

First, a pink button front version

I needed a summer wardrobe of cool and comfortable tops to wear on vacation. The inspiration for my first make on McCall’s 7358 was an asymmetrical button front shirt from a catalog. I couldn’t find a pattern exactly like the inspiration shirt, but this McCall’s pattern came close enough.

I chose a pink rayon for my shirt, and large cream colored plastic buttons from my stash.

I used a normal shirt collar instead of the pattern collar. On the pattern, the front panel is squared off at the wrap point. I extended the slant all the way out to a point, and added buttons and buttonholes. It was actually quite tricky to get the buttons in the right place! I pinned and repined, pinned and repinned to get them correctly placed. I added a few extra buttons (but not buttonholes) on the front panel below the point at the side. I also made tabs for the sleeves.

Which way to put the buttonholes? Normally, front button shirts have vertical buttonholes. But, the placket on this shirt is diagonal. Vertical buttonholes might look weird. I thought about putting them diagonally along the placket, but I worried that might be tricky and might not hold the shirt shut. I settled on horizontal buttonholes.

The end result is not an exact duplicate of the inspiration top, but it’s really close. The inspiration shirt has a slim line, mine has a fuller line (for a fuller body). I have extra buttons on the lower section, and the collar sits a little differently.

Pattern Description: Wrap shirt with belt

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No, it isn’t supposed to.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear and notches lined up.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the wrap front and the comfortable, relaxed fit. I did not like the shape of the lower front facings.

Fabric Used: Rayon challis

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added a shirt collar and tabs to the sleeves. Extended the front panel all the way to a point, added buttons and buttonholes

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would sew this again. In fact, I already have! I liked it so much that I made a second version, below, even before I completely finished this version. Yes, I’d recommend it, but I’d point out that the front panel does not extend all the way across the front, it does not reach the side seam. Also, the lower front facing pieces are a little funny

Then, a blue floral version

I liked this top so much that I decided to make another right away. This time, I used a blue floral rayon print, with a solid blue rayon for accent. I tried to make the shawl collar into more of a double ruffle collar, but that didn’t work quite as I hoped. I also added double flounces to the sleeves.

The body, upper collar, upper sleeve, upper sleeve flounce and one side of the tie belt are blue floral print rayon challie. The undercollar, lower sleeve flounce, front facings, other side of the tie belt, and hem facing are solid blue. The neck and sleeve flounces, both solid blue and floral print, are finished with a three thread rolled hem.

I like this shirt! I feel a little bit like Carmen Miranda when I wear it. But, the event I planned to wear it to didn’t happen, so here is a photo of me wearing the shirt on my back deck

Pattern Description: Wrap blouse

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This time it came pretty close, except for the doubled up collar and sleeve flounce

Were the instructions easy to follow? Because this make is closer to the pattern with fewer design changes than the first make, and because this is my second time making it, everything went together a lot easier.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The lower front facing was a little funny, for this make I used a wide strip of blue bias. Also, the top panel does not wrap all the way around to the side seam, it stops about 3/4 of the way across the front

Fabric Used: Rayon challis

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Tried to make the shawl collar more of a ruffle or flounce, but it didn’t work quite as I expected. I doubled the collar and sleeve flounce, and faced the hem with solid blue.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I’d recommend this pattern. Will I make it again? Maybe.

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Simplicity 1694 – A casual rayon shirt

I like this button front shirt. The A-line shape is comfortable, easy to wear, and somewhat flattering on my figure.

We planned a vacation in Washington DC in June, when the weather is hot and sticky. I needed some tops and shirts that looked nice and would be comfortable both indoors in air conditioning and outdoors in the summer sun. I chose rayon challis in a soft army green shade.

I’ve made this shirt before, and it went together easily. Until I reached the buttonhole step. I was confused, and made the buttonholes down the front horizontal instead of vertical. I used buttons from my stash, and they’re a bit larger than the pattern suggests, so it’s probably for the best that I made the buttonholes horizontal. If I had put them vertically, they might have looked a little too crowded.

Pattern Description: Button front A-line shirt with collar stand, collar, jii-low hem and sleeve tabs

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except my buttonholes are horizontal

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes the instructions were clear, but the notches on the collar didn’t quite line up right for me.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the A-line shape and hi-low hem

Fabric Used: Rayon challis in soft army green

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Omitted the pockets, and tipped the buttonholes sideways

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I think I’ll sew this one again. And yes, I recommend it. It isn’t too hard, even a beginner could manage it.

Horizontal Button Holes

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Butterick 5030 Wrap Dress

I don’t remember when or where I got this blue/grey hydrangea print in stretch cotton, but when I rediscovered it in my stash I just had to make something with it. I decided on a summer wrap dress.

Wrap dresses can be tricky. The front often gapes, even when the bust fits nicely, and the front opening can be quite low. I usually have to do FBAs. But oddly, the FBA on this dress gave me almost too much room in front. Another issue is that wrap dresses tend to fit figures with a narrow waist much better than figures like mine, with a straighter line, but that isn’t a problem with this dress.

The pattern was not hard to assemble. I extended the band from the bodice down through the skirt.

Pattern Description: Wrap dress

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear. Notches lined up and pieces fit together

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Fabric Used:  Stretch cotton in a wonderful blue floral print

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I finished the skirt panels with a band like the neck and bodice

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Yes, I recommend this dress, it’s an ideal basic wrap dress pattern.

 

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Simplicity 1716 Again – Light Summer Dress

I really like this pattern, this is my fourth make for view  A/B/C. I have a short sleeved tunic length in pink floral, a long sleeved tunic length version in purple floral, a 3/4 sleeve long T/short tunic length in bold stripes. This time, I made a knee length dress in soft, tropical print ITY knit.

I needed a dress that would be cool and comfortable to wear outdoors on warm summer nights. I wanted a full style that did NOT cling to the body, so I picked this top/dress pattern, and made it knee length.

To keep it light and airy, I used a three thread rolled hem on the sleeves and hem. I knew from previous makes that the two side bust panels fit better when the end is extended a couple of inches. Basically, those couple of inches function as the FBA on this shirt.

The first time I made this pattern I found the collar section a little confusing, but after making several versions of this top I know how it works and it went together quickly. I cut and assembled the dress in one afternoon, except for the rolled hems.

I really love this dress. The ITY knit doesn’t wrinkle, making it a great dress to pack for traveling

Pattern Description: Misses top or short dress

Three thread rolled hem keeps it light and airy

Pattern Sizing: Regular misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions are clear and all the notches line up

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the gathered feature at the bust, and the collar

Fabric Used: ITY knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Lengthened the dress to knee length

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is my fourth time making this pattern, so I’m not sure I’ll make it again. But I do recommend it!

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June 29, 2017 · 3:38 pm

New Look 6472 Puffy Boho Blouse

Fluffy Peasant Blouse

When an unfortunately placed cup of coffee met my envelope of basic pattern pieces that were tweaked to fit me, I was discouraged. I had to start over again! Well, any excuse to buy more patterns, right? So one of the first patterns I saw was New Look 6472, a puffy peasant blouse. I loved the top in the photo on the front of the pattern! But, elastic at my waist is not a good look for me, so I won’t be making that view, even though it is the reason I chose this pattern. I made View A with the rivet and lace front opening from View B.

I like New Look styles, but I’m at the very top of the size range and still need to make FBA/FWA. On this puffy pattern, FWA is not an issue, and a FBA is easy.

I used a wonderfully light silk/cotton voile in an old fashioned floral print from Fabric  Mart. I’m planning a vacation to a warmer place this summer, and I need some light, airy blouses. The long sleeves will keep the sun off my arms, the puffy style and light fabric will keep things cool.

Reapplying the front facing

I added a navy blue lace ruffle at the neck and at the seam line in the sleeve, just for fun. But, I found myself trying to figure out what to do with the raw edges of lace at the front. Finally, I removed the facing from the slit, tacked the raw lace edges down to the raw edge of the slit, then reapplied the front facing over the lace. Well, truthfully, the previous facing didn’t come off nicely, so I just replaced with a brand new pieces. I f I had thought it all the way through in the first place, I would not have had to remove and reapply the facing.

Gathering with dental floss

Gathering long sections of fabric and distributing the fullness evenly can be tricky with the “Two rows of basting stitches, pull up the bobbin thread” method. So I used the “Zig zag stitch over dental floss” method of gathering the sleeves and neck. The only tricky part is making certain the zig zag stitches don’t catch the dental floss. The floss slides smoothly under the zig zags, so it’s easy to get the fullness even, and the dental floss won’t accidentally break under the strain of gathering

My original plan was to make tiny round buttonholes for the lacing at the front. The test hole worked beautifully. But the first attempt on the top came out in a weird shape. So I resorted to rivets as the pattern suggests.

Pattern Description: Misses Boho Peasant blouses with raglan sleeves and sleeve variations

All the pieces, pattern, lace and fabric

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I added lace trim and used the sleeves from one view and the bodice from another

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. This top was very easy to make, and the instructions were clear, correct and concise.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I both like and dislike the narrow neck and wristbands. This is the only part I found “fussy” on this pattern. They required some hand sewing, and I’m not really fond of hand sewing. OTOH, the result is much sleeker and more professional than a drawstring (or elastic) casing, which is how I used to make the necklines for Renn Faire shirts and chemises. So while I dislike hand sewing, I do like the final result

Fabric Used: Silk/cotton voile from Fabric Mart. I chose cotton voile from the drop down list of fabrics, because silk/cotton voile (and just plain silk voile) were not options.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added lace trim and did a FBA. Normally I’d need to do a FWA on a New Look pattern, but this puffy style easily fits my thick waist

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. With a little bit more tweaking, this might become the basis for my next basic raglan sleeve peasant top block.

 

 

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Comfy Knit Dress Lekala 4386

Me at the Theater

I love this dress! It’s chic and comfortable. It was also an easy make.

I used a piece of digital print poly-spandex activewear knit from Ebay. The fabric is gorgeous, but I felt it was just a little bit thin and a little limp. I decided to beef it up with an underlining. But, what to use for the underlining? I dove into my stash. Only one of the swimsuit linings in my fabric resource facility (aka stash), a dark deep green, would work at all. Unfortunately, the deep green swimsuit lining was also thin and limp. Another option  was a black t-shirt knit, but I really wanted to use that fabric for something else. Option 3 was a rayon jersey in a soft apricot/flesh tone, but, it cost more than the floral fabric! Then I stumbled across the most unlikely choice of all, a vivid neon pink poly-lycra activewear knit from Fabric Mart. I bought the fabric thinking “Neon pink is cool”! When the fabric arrived, it was, well, REALLY neon pink!! Just a little bit too neon pink, except perhaps as an accent fabric, and I had plenty. So, the inside of my knit dress is neon pink!

On Dolly the Dummy

The pattern was easy, and I made no design changes or major fitting alterations (except I think the pattern may include a back zipper, which I did not use). Like all Lekala patterns, it’s sized to fit. Because it’s made with activewear fabric, it’s super soft and super comfortable. Almost like wearing pjs!!

Laying out the pattern

Usually I try to use as little fabric as necessary. I love leftovers! But, I didn’t plan to get more than one item out of this particular piece of floral print, and the print is kind of large and dynamic, so instead of trying to conserve every scrap, I focused on placing the pattern pieces on the fabric so that key elements of the floral design landed in appropriate places on the dress. Both sleeves have a larger floral motif at the top of the arm, a large motif falls on the right chest/shoulder, and another falls directly under the little faux belt that covers the gathers in front.

Because I was using two layers of fabric, I basted (technically pre-stitched, because i did not remove the stitches) both layers together, then sewed the seams with my serger.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with bodice gathers and a straight, slit skirt

Pattern Sizing: Like all Lekala patterns, it’s printed to your size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Neon Pink Interior, as seen through the slit in the skirt

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Lekala instructions are really just a set of assembly steps, but the steps were easy to understand and in a clear, logical order

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the design, and that it was easy to make.

Fabric Used: Digital print poly/spandex interlined with poly/lycra activewear

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None (except omitting the back zipper because the fabric is so stretchy it isn’t necessary)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I DO recommend it to others! If you are curious about Lekala patterns, this is an easy one to start with. Would I make it again? Maybe, in a solid color. The design is unique.

 

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Vogue 9206 Tropical Asymetric

Blouse Front

I fell in love with Vogue 9206 instantly. I love the soft gathers, raglan sl

Pinning the neckband in place. It’s difficult to work with slippery fabric

The almost part is that chiffon is super sheer, too sheer for me tor a blouse. So it needed a black lining. The only question was which lining should I use? An inexpensive satin polyester, to match the polyester chiffon? Or should I indulge in black silk habotai from my dancewear stash? I thought two layers of polyester might be a little bit too warm to be comfortable. And, the chiffon was really nice chiffon. So I splurged and lined it with silk. It feels awesome! I also used silk to make the neck band, cuffs, and front facings.

I hate sewing polyester chiffon. It’s slippery, uncooperative stuff. In an effort to tame the unruly fabric, I machine basted the chiffon pieces to their silk companions before trying to use them. It helped a lot, but the chiffon was still grumpy.

I sewed the silk and chiffon layers together at the sleeve seams. I sewed the silk and chiffon layer separately at the side seams. The hem is a simple serger rolled hem with black metallic thread.

I love my finished top! I will make this pattern again, when the right fabric comes along. Next time I will make the armholes a little higher, to give a little bit more mobility.

Pattern Description: Button front blouse with long raglan sleeves, neck band, gentle gathers, and asymmetrical front opening.

Pattern Sizing: Misses – exactly like usual Vogue sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes,

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the interesting asymmetrical front and soft gathers

Fabric Used: Polyester chiffon from Fabric Mart lined with black silk habotai from Dharma Trading Co and glass buttons from Ebay

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Only the lining because the chiffon is so sheer

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I  recommend it. Yes, I think I will make it again, perhaps in a solid color.

 

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Vogue 8995 Dress (goes with jacket Hacked Vogue 8804 )

This year one of our season tickets to the musical theater includes a performance on Valentines Day. We didn’t even think about trying to eat out on such a busy date night. Instead, we had carry out Chinese before the show.

pink boucle

PINK is the color of Valentines Day, along with red of course. I want a pink dress for Valentines Day!

I fell in love with this awesome pink boucle the instant I saw it. Originally I planned to make a jacket/skirt suit. But, I don’t wear that sort of thing much anymore. I decided to go for a dress. I wanted to color block with something in a solid contrasting color to emphasize the rich woven texture and rainbow of colors on the boucle. I think I pulled every piece of fabric from my stash to find one that would work! It was a tough decision. I finally settled on a blue cotton/spandex knit, leftovers from a tie front pullover. I was a little worried that the knit might be too thin and soft for the boucle.but the high spandex content gives the knit great recovery.

I played around with different color blocking schemes. I wanted the sleeves to be knit for comfort, and to use the blue knit as a neckband. From that point, it was a matter of choosing which pieces looked best in which colors.

One of the things I love about boucle is the softness. But, that can also be a problem, if the boucle decides to sag or bag in an unfortunate place like the behind. To help the boucle keep it’s shape I interlined the boucle sections with plain polyester lining from the stash.

Because boucle is horribly ravelly, I first laid all the pieces out, and traced them with pins and chalk onto the fabric. When I was sure I had more than enough fabric, I laid the pieces out on a single layer (called a flat lay) to make sure the grain stayed straight on each piece. Immediately after cutting each piece of boucle, I finished the raw edges on my serger. I ended up re-serging several of these edges, but my fabric didn’t ravel.

I thought I had taken more construction photos of the dress, but I can’t find them in my phone.

The front section went together quickly without incident. I screwed up the back. I mismeasured, and finished the edges of the back slit so high up it was almost at my butt! NO WAY could I leave the skirt open that high up!! I didn’t know what to do. Picking apart the rolled finished edges would be time consuming and messy. I thought about zigzag stitching the upper portion of the slit together, but I was afraid that would look exactly like the band-aid solution that it was. The boucle was a little thick and bulky to make a nice kick pleat. The lining fabric would make a nice pleat, but, it might look like underwear or something that wasn’t supposed to show – and whatever I used to fill up that crazy high slit was going to show

Pink Dress Front

Then, my eyes fell on the very last scraps of the blue knit fabric. These scraps were almost perfect triangles. I realized if they were tall enough, and I sewed them together, I could make a circular sort of kick pleat. Because it matched the sleeves, neckband and yoke, it would look like it was supposed to be seen. I took a deep breath and grabbed the measure tape. Luck was with me! The triangles were plenty big. I simply cleaned up the shapes a bit, sewed them together to make a wedge shape, and sewed the wedge shape into the giant back slit.

Pink Dress Back

The boucle sections of the skirt have a fairly deep double folded hem. I knew this would be too bulky for the soft, flowy knit in the kick pleat. So I hemmed the boucle sections first. Then, I folded the knit up to the proper hem depth, and topstitched with a slightly stretchy stitch. Finally, I finished the edge off with the serger fairly close to the stitching

 

Pattern Description: Sheath dress with princess seams, interesting shoulder yokes and side and skirt insets.

Pattern Sizing: Misses – exactly like usual Vogue sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, Except – I used a different color block pattern. And an error resulted in a skirt that’s much less pegged.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the interesting seaming. Lots of potential here for color/texture blocking, decorative seam treatments, etc.

Fabric Used: Polyester boucle from Fabric Mart, with a cotton/spandex knit for color blocking

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Because my accent fabric is a stretchy knit, I omitted the zipper. The knit portions stretch enough to go over my head and shoulders.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes. The seam lines offer all kinds of opportunities for fun embellishment, and contrasting colors/textures, etc.

It takes a little time to put all the pieces together, but the process itself is easy. This pattern is labeled Very Easy, and I think it is.

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Quick Stripe top with Leather Tabs

Finished Top

This is a simple top. The stripe and leather tabs make it exciting.

I started with a basic long sleeved, tunic length, T-shirt pattern with no darts. I cut it with a slightly scooped neck and elongated sleeves. Instead of a neckband, I cut a simple rectangular cowl collar. I used the serger for everything except piecing the leather wrist straps, hemming the bottom and sleeves, and the buttonhole that the neck tab buttons through. I ruched the sleeves by hand, more on that later.  For the top hem and sleeve hems, I used a decorative stitch on my Babylock Symphony.

The fabric is a polyester knit of some sort, similar to a scuba or thin double knit. It came from my Fabric Resource Storage Area, and lacked a tag.

The leather scrap that became the tabs

I cut the leather tabs from a small piece of leather leftover from costuming. The scrap had some top stitching, and the holes from the top stitching are still visible. I cut the scrap into four strips. I used the nicest strip for the neck tab. I cut the worst strip in half, and sewed each half onto the last two strips, so they are long enough to go around my wrists.

Leather tab on cowl neck

One big potential problem – laundry!! Leather and polyester double knit have very different care requirements. I solved the problem by making the leather tabs removable. The neck tab buttons onto itself through a buttonhole in the top near the neck. The straps button onto glass buttons sewed to the sleeves. Leather doesn’t ravel, and these buttons are purely decorative, so the buttonholes are simple slits in the leather strap.

 

Finally, I ruched the elongated sleeves between the leather strap and the hem. This is where following a pattern can be helpful! I had no pattern, just an idea in my head. In retrospect, I should have run gathering stitches up the sleeve before sewing the sleeve seam. But, I didn’t. Instead, I sewed the sleeve seam and hem, then did the ruching by hand.

ruched sleeves with leather strap

When I wore this top outside on a bright sunny day, I was shocked to realize the stripes are not black but a super dark almost-black navy blue. The blue is noticeable only in super bright light, where the leather tabs are. Or maybe the dark leather simply makes the stripes near it appear blue in bright light? Either way, I still like this top and will continue to think of the stripes as black.

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