Crop top or Formal dress muslin #1

I hope you’re not sick of reading about my WIPs (works in progress). This time its Felicity’s Formal dress: BurdaStyle 12/2013 #130

Whilst going through my fabric stash for something else, Felicity spied this polyester woven and wanted to know why it couldn’t be used for her Formal dress.

It’s certainly not the jacquard that the pattern calls for, but it does have some body. Perhaps?

I had to trial the alterations I’d made to the bodice of the pattern, so rather than using something stiff from the stash, I choose a softer drapier fabric, just to get a feel for how a non jacquard might work.

[Felicity has a head cold and is having a bad hair day. So her lovely face is not gracing the blog today!]

I think a softer fabric is going to work. After I get the fit right.

That extra fabric pooling between the bust and the shoulder at the armscye needs to go.

I need to move the apex of the dart darts back a bit. I tried rotating the darts up into the neck tucks, but it made the extra fabric pooling between the bust and the shoulder even worse than it is here. A dart will be less obvious in a pattern fabric.

The extra fabric between the shoulder and the bust is not so obvious from the side, but that bust apex needs to shrink

Arrgh, and now I see that the side seam is not vertical…

The back looks ok.

The over bodice will only be closed at the neck on the dress, but a second closure on the crop top makes it more wearable for Felicity (yes, she sees it as a wearable garment! not just a muslin!)

How to get rid of the fabric pooling?

A horizontal tuck above the bust looks like it might work. This is an alteration I often need to do for Felicity.

It does smooth things out. But now I have to both shorten and move the bust dart down!

What do you think? Other alterations needed? Leave the polyester woven in the stash and go look for a jacquard?

Posted in Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

Coat muslin, IKEA style

I’ve listened to you and worked hard this weekend on my coat.

I know you are expecting something like Burda’s vision of elegance for this pattern (BurdaStyle 11/2014 #111)

But, I’ve made a muslin and it’s not an elegant coat in any way.

IKEA upholstery fabric. So much more fun to make muslins from than, well, muslin.

 

The first thing you probably noticed (after the sad blue face on my tummy), was the collar. I’ve got mine on the roll lines marked on the pattern

That’s how the shorter version of this coat (BurdaStyle 11/2014 #110) is intended to be worn

Good to know I have options!

 

Okay lets look at the fit.

This is a straight size 42, with no changes except to make the sleeves a bit roomier though the upper arm.

It doesn’t look too bad to me, but please let me know what you think.

I can see a couple of things

  • The “waist” seam is sitting on my waist, but the pattern is drafted with this seam 1cm or so above the waist. I considered shortening the bodice (I often need to) but the bust darts are about right (sorry, can’t see them in my photos). I’ll probably leave this like it is.
  • There’s a bit of excess fabric under the bust at the sides.

Apart from the extra fabric under the arms on the side, the back looks good. Yes that is a fabric marking pencil in my hair. From Paris (so there is a tiny bit of elegance after all!)

The side views show that the bottom edge might need to be leveled

 

My plan is to use this pattern for this fabric.

It’s an Oscar de la Renta double-faced wool, linen and mohair blend, woven houndstooth with metallic threads and a dark brown laminated back. A fabulous gift from Liz of Designer Fabrics Australia, my favourite online fabric shop!

I’m planning to use it like a double faced fabric, with the laminated side on the outside and the tweed showing on the collar and the turnback.

I need to play around a bit with the fabric, but if I can, I’ll use lapped seams for the vertical seams, to show a little bit of the tweed and highlight the style lines.

Do you think I should try to get rid of that fabric pooling under my bust? The IKEA fabric is not quite as thick as the Oscar De La Renta, and a little bit stiffer. Perhaps a bit of extra ease here won’t be too much of an issue? All advice gladly received!

Oh, and I’m very tempted to cut out another collar piece and a front facing in hot pink for the IKEA coat, chop the coat down to hip length and line it. It could make a fun casual topper! What do you think?

 

 

Posted in Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Lime balls

Have I told you about my great new cooking book?

One of my Christmas presents was the My Petite Kitchen Cookbook.

I love Eleanor’s blog and have been very happy with how her gluten free recipes have turned out (here and here).

I was keen to try some of her other recipes in my “Christmas” book, and New Years Eve was the perfect opportunity for her lemon coconut balls. Not too sweet and refreshingly citrusy. Perfect for a hot summer evening down under. Plus super easy to make.

I repeated the recipe the other weekend with limes. Even better!

I love limes

 

Recipe

  • 2 cups (180g) desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • 80g butter
  • 1/3 cup (115g) honey
  • grated zest and juice of two limes (or one lemon)
  1. Set aside ½ cup of the coconut and put all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Blend for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture starts to form a dough.
  3. Use your hands to form small balls.
  4. Roll the balls in the extra coconut (or use prettier, larger coconut flakes instead).
  5. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to set.

The truffles can be kept at room temperature, but are best kept in the fridge. Makes around 25 truffles.  Will keep for 3-4 days. In theory.

 

Sewing update:

I’m still auditioning patterns for my lovely landscape print

I weakened. Vogue 9021 has been purchased.

I haven’t yet pulled it out of the envelope to see if it fits on my fabric, but I do like this pattern a lot! Also, red booties as cover art. What’s not to love?

And, I have made a teensy bit of progress on my vision of a lovely winter coat in this delightful laminated tweed

“Progress” = pattern traced and IKEA upholstery fabric cutinto for a muslin of BurdaStyle 11/2014 #111

No actual sewing has yet been done…

Posted in Cooking, Dessert, Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

The tale of two “muslins”

Are you a muslin (toile) maker? Or do you get straight into the pattern with your fabric and fit as you go (or, like me, hope for the best)?

Felicity’s Big Winter Coat, 2011

I have made muslins in the past, but not very many (like, all of two or three in the last six years…)

This last month, however, I’ve made two muslins, or “wearable muslins”. And not completely intentionally.

Muslin #1.

What is she talking about, you think, looking at this image. Looks like a nice dress, and those diagonal drag lines are probably just from her hand in the pocket. Perhaps a bit tight through the bust? Still, on balance, it looks okay, and the style lines are lovely. Nice fabric too. Looks like a lace overlay.

Yes, yes, yes.

But, wait. You haven’t seen the back.

We have a classic case of bad fabric pooling at the backwaist. This is after trying to fix it too by retrofitting a(nother) sway back (I’d already made that adjustment whilst tracing the pattern off).

This dress pattern is from an Easy Burda Autumn/Winter 2014 BurdaStyle Special: Dress 4e, minus the neck band and faux pocket flaps

The “lace” overlay is a rayon, polyester linen blend, bought from Gay Naffine’s sales some years back.

I underlined it with a self striped stretch cotton and used this same fabric for the plain central sections. I underlined the central section too, with a lighter weight stretch cotton.

The inside view

I know. I should’ve made a muslin first. Now all I’ve got is a nicely sewn wearable muslin using lovely fabrics.

 

Muslin #2

I didn’t want to make that mistake again, so, for my next dress, I trialed the pattern first in a polyester twill from deep in the stash.

And this one turned out almost completely wearable!

This is Burdastyle 09/2012 #134

No puddling at the back waist on this one, although there is some extra fabric under the arms.

You can see it at the front too: a bit saggy above the waist under my bust, and side on as well.

Apart from this, I’m pleased with the fit.

I might even wear it like it is, with its blue exposed zip (it was close at hand and the right size, and this was just a muslin), obvious machine hem (I needed to check hem length with heels, and this is a muslin after all), and slightly stretched out neckline (no staystitching, see previous comment).

This pattern was muslined for this fabric:

I am very happy with the pattern and still think it would work, but I can’t get Ruth of corecouture‘s, suggestion of Vogue 9021 out of my mind.

Then Gabrielle of UpSewLate recently made a beautiful version.

I might not have enough fabric for those big sleeves though… so still thinking about it. If Spotlight have a $5 Vogue sale anytime soon, you know what I’ll be buying!

Meanwhile, I have another muslin to make.

 

Formal Dress for Felicity

Felicity’s school has a formal in May for the Year 11 students as well as the Year 12’s. Actually, there is one formal but both years go, so that means a formal for two years. She has relatively low frock expectations for Formal Number One. Phew.

BurdaStyle 12/2013 #130 is her current plan. It’s a German designer pattern, Talbot Runhof, that doesn’t appear to be available as a pdf download.

We don’t have any fabric yet. It seems there is nothing suitable in my very large stash!

I will need to add a FBA to the bodice and the bodice overlay. I guess I will rotate the horizontal side dart I add into the neck tucks and the vertical dart into the side seam for the overlay. Any advice will be gratefully received!

It will also be interesting to see how this style works when it’s on a body that needs a FBA. Yay for muslining!

Yes, I have learnt my lesson.

 

Posted in Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Jungle January Swap Dress

Dark chocolate and white stripes. My favourite type of Zebra.

Lightweight linen. My favourite summer fabric.

Loose fitting dress pattern. Another summer favourite.

Piping and a metal zip in the right colours. I love my notions stash!

A fabric swap with a fellow sewist. This garment has all of my favourite things!

Thanks, Anne and Lara, for the Jungle January Swap. It’s been fabulous fun!

 

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Rare Jungle January sighting…Don’t tell Anne

It’s a rare Jungle January sighting at the He Cooks…She Sews corner of the Game Park. We were convinced that Jungle January Swap garments would not actually be sewn in January. But we were wrong.

We think Anne, the Scary GameKeeper, might have some strict rules about when Jungle January Swap finished objects are actually allowed to be paraded.

So that’s all we’re brave enough to show.

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Jungle January update

I am pretty certain I am not going to make up my Jungle January swap in January. But you need at least an update in January, right?

I have the pleasure of Lara of Thornberry as my swap partner. You know, *that* Lara who sews fifteen garments and blogs about them in the time I take to even think about what I *might* sew. She is amazing. I can’t even use the “but I work full time” excuse with her. She does that too! And has school age children. Definitely wonder woman.

These are the delights she sent me.

Imagine my squeals (there could have been a few *roars* *braying* and *trumpeting* too) when this parcel arrived on Saturday. Not just delightful linen fabric in zebra print but trims, notions, a belt and a collar too! I am very lucky.

And, even more wonderful, the linen was prewashed. I had an hour spare (it was the Australia Day weekend and was jam packed with non sewing activities) so I cut Vogue 8805 out that very afternoon. Fastest fabric in and pattern sorted ever! Perhaps some of Lara’s magic came with the parcel?

I’ve cut all but the bottom band in the zebra print. I’ve used a white linen in my stash for the bottom band, just to break up the zebra stripes a bit.

Now the pieces sit next to my sewing machine, silently whinnying at me in reproach.

 

Posted in Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

BurdaStyle Magazine subscription

Remember my unhappiness that my December issue Burdastyle arrived completely sodden with water? I heard nothing from Abopress, the people in France who I subscribe through. Despite emails and sending messages through the helpdesk. Nothing.

Then the January issue arrived, also water damaged.

It was just after incredibly hot windy weather in Adelaide. Bushfires in the hills behind where I live. The weather conditions in the delivery location were not the reason for the water damage!

I was not happy. That is an understatement.

I sent another email to Abopress.

Said I wanted these issues replaced. Said I expected a response within 7 days. Said I’d cancel my subscription if they didn’t respond. In English and bad but probably amusing French.

 

They didn’t respond.

I felt extremely unimportant and frustrated. L

I had gone back to work after the 7 days ultimatum was up and hadn’t got around cancelling my subscription. Another problem was, of course, that the email I was not getting a response from was also the email I used for my subscription…

In turned out that procrastination was the right thing to do.

A new December issue arrived on Friday.

No note, no email to explain?? Crazy customer relations.

It is nice to have a glossy smooth copy though!

Now let’s hope they do the same for the January issue. I still don’t know if it was the email or the helpdesk message that worked though.

 

***UPDATE***

Response within 24hours of a message on their helpdesk!! A new January issue is coming my way. Isabelle at Abopress hopes it keep dry. Well done Abopress!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged | 12 Comments

Help! I need panel print ideas

What to sew? Jungle January is on and I should be zig-zagging with a zebra.

Or making a toile so that I can turn that glorious designer laminated tweed into a coat.

But this digital border print is messing with my mind. It really needs to be sewn!

This lovely fabric is from EmmaOneSock. Linda describes it as a “new technology polyester woven that mimics the qualities of silk, and this one is very much like a silk charmeuse. It’s a drapey dress weight, elegant, opaque, and a beautiful quality alternative to silk! The print is a beautiful tree grove scene with sunset colors: periwinkle blue, grassy green, indigo, french roast, rosy pink, etc. with a silvery pale gray background”. Each panel is 73 cm (.8 yards) long. The panels are printed across the fabric which is 150 cm (60 inches) wide. I have 2 panels. So plenty for a summer dress.

 

I could go with a very simple trapeze dress like this :

BurdaStyle 04/2013 #109.

Tessuti have done something similar with one of their delightful panel prints

 

 

Or this more glamorous Matthew Williamson designer pattern

 

Burdastyle 09/2012 #134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like this dress too but I may not have enough fabric, so it might end up sleeveless. And I do love those sleeves.

 

 

 

 

BurdaStyle 03/2014 #120

 

 

 

 

This baby doll dress is very cute, but perhaps works because of its rich black yoke and delicate lace.


BurdaStyle 10/2014 #124

 

 

 

 

So, I’m leaning towards the Matthew Williamson dress.

 

What do you think? What other patterns would work for this fabric?

Posted in Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Green shoes, split image skirt and Rachel Comey top

New shoes need a new outfit, right?

IRL, the shoes are a perfect match for the greeny-blue in the skirt fabric. It went from flat-pack-in-the-stash to pencil skirt in a few hours.

(image from Tessuti’s)

I did have a top in the perfect matching greeny blue, but I didn’t want to go overboard. Ahem, well known for my restraint with my favourite colours?

The real reason was that I “needed” to make up the Rachel Comey pattern that everyone in the sewing world already made several years ago.

(V1247, image from Vogue Patterns)

Guided by the squillions of reviews, I made a few adjustments to the pattern:

I raised the neckline by 2.5 cm at the front,

and back,

and went down two sizes everywhere except the hips.

So, what’s my conclusion?

  • Nice shoes.
  • It’s still loose fitting (and no, I don’t know what I am doing with my hands in this photo, but, whatever it is, it’s nicely symmetrical!)
  • The neckline is now quite modest. I might take it back down next time.
  • The horizontal (Hollywood) darts are way too low and too long. They need to come up at least 2 cm and end at least 2 cm sooner on both sides. I keep forgetting I am short waisted and need to check this with new patterns. Although, look at it on Eliza the dressmaking dummy. Her bust points are way above the darts too. She shouldn’t be shortwaisted now should she?

  • I did not follow Vogue’s instructions and use french seams. I could say it was because my tencel fabric was not sheer or light. But it was also because, really? French seams with all that piecing? That would have been a serious amount of work. I tip my hat to all the sewists who have done so. Instead I followed Karen of Did you make that? and chose to zig zag rather than overlock. It’s functional but not beautiful on the inside.
  • No French seams but I did do a nice baby hem.
  • The bias cuffs are delightful.
  • I love the seaming detail.
  • It also looks good tucked in.
  • I need to make another one!

This was (almost) my last make for 2014. I have a wrap skirt that is still to be blogged. It is demanding a new partner before it is willing to be photographed. I have very demanding garments.

 

The 2014 sewing year resulted in 36 garments. That must be some sort of record for me. It’s been fun. And the online sewing community is awesome. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It means so much.

Happy New Year!

 

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Red and white edelweiss dress

I totally fell in love with this viscose knit from Designer Fabrics Australia.

I think she might be evil. I like almost everything she posts. I show remarkable restraint be not buying the lot. Remarkable, I tell you!

The fabric is just as delightful as I imagined. And as described on the site, it’s a lightweight opaque knit with moderate width-wise stretch and virtually no length-wise stretch.

To me it felt and behaved almost like a stretch woven, not fabulous recovery but with a lovely soft handle. So I looked through my extensive pattern stash for dresses suitable for stretch wovens. And decided to make a pattern I’ve made before: BurdaStyle 10/2012 #118.

One of my all-time favourite work dresses is made from this pattern.  Those other 37 patterns will just have to stay on the to-do list.

I wanted to avoid the nanna look I’ve successfully achieved with small florals in the past. I was hoping that this pattern’s relatively simple but modern shape would keep me away from frumpsville. The soft lightweight knit could give me a more drapey cowl, but I was hoping it wouldn’t cause any disasters. The recommended fabrics for this pattern and its associated tops were all ones ‘with some body’. My red edelweiss delight definitely does not have much body. Disaster was a distinct possibility.

Oh well, I said as I cut into the fabric, I can always turn it into a top. A top with a long zip in the back?? Not the best back up plan.

Despite my neutral expression above, I think disaster was averted. Modification into a top is not on the cards!

I like this dress with several of my jackets too. (Not sure why the jacket doesn’t look straight. I really am the world’s worst model!)

Of course, any excuse to wear those pink shoes is a good one!

Technical Details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 10/2012 #118.

Size: 34-42, I made a 42 with a 15 mm swayback adjustment, same as last time

Changes I made:

Burda has the front cut with the skirt part on the bias and the cowl almost on grain. I did it opposite: skirt on grain and cowl on the bias.

I shortened the sleeves.

Construction:

I made this almost exactly the way I would make any woven dress: interfacing in the neck facing, zip in centre back and straight stitching for all the construction. The only ‘knit’ technique I used was a double needle for the skirt and sleeve hems.

My teenage fashion critic likes the dress but agreed with me that it enhances my rounded belly and flattens my bust. Frankness. It’s a wonderful attribute.

It’s a very comfortable dress to wear, even if this silhouette is not the most flattering. And this dress also works with my fun but crazy high red patent wedges. I love new clothes that play so well with the longer-term residents in my wardrobe!

 

 

All the best wishes for the Holidays and the New Year to all my readers. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog this year. You are a wonderful lot of people!

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Christmas dresses for my nieces

When I said the blog would return to garment sewing, I didn’t say that all my Christmas sewing was over!

Reindeer Retro Dress

Before the final fitting (after which, the hem went up about 10 cm)

Pattern: BurdaStyle 02-2011-101

I’ve made this pattern before, for Felicity.

One of the 13 year old nieces likes retro styles, so this was an easy pattern pick for her.

Size: 36-44, I made a 38 with a 36 waist and a small bust adjustment. I did the small bust adjustment ‘properly’ using the slash and overlap technique (the By Hand London blog has a good post on both small and full bust adjustments)

Fabric: Christmas quilting cotton for the bodice, cotton gingham for the contrast neck and sleeve edges (from the inherited part of my stash) and rayon shirting for the skirt from Gay Naffine’s workroom.

Changes I made:

I raised the neck by adding 15 mm extra to the base of the neckline scoop so that it was not as deep and about 10 mm to the side neck to decrease the width and adjusted the back neck up about 15 mm too.

I cut the back skirt with a centre back seam and moved the zip to the centre back.

But the main change was, of course, to add those contrast neck and sleeves edges.

I cut these out like a facing and interfaced them. I ran a line of stitching on the outer edge, clipped and pressed the edge in. Then I stitched them to the neck edge right side to wrong side.

Trimmed the seam (aren’t those reindeer cute?),

then flipped the ‘facings’ to the right side and topstitched them down.

This is how it looks from the inside

And, to finish it off, I added a button tab and a button to the back neck

Patchwork Birds Sundress

(that’s a small part of the cooking reference library belonging to He Who Cooks in the background of this photo)

Pattern: BurdaStyle 05/2010 #114

Size 34-42, I made a 34 with a small bust adjustment. Not ‘properly’ this time: I folded out half of the dart width in a wedge up to the neck, then gathered the smaller amount of width here rather than darting.

Fabric: Christmas quilting cotton, with cotton bias tape (from the inherited part of my stash) as a flat piping and lined with a soft cotton batiste, also from the inherited part of my stash.

This is a cute pattern.

 

And to top of all that cuteness, just look at these Rudolph chocolate tartlets!

For the tartlets you’ll need:

  • 250g packet of Butternut Snap Cookies (a delicious buttery cookie made by Arnotts)
  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup single cream
  • 200g dark chocolate
  1. Place 12 biscuits over each hole of a twelve hole round based tartlet tin. Bake for 2-3 minutes at 180°C or until soft. Remove from oven then carefully press softened biscuits into tin to mould into a cup shape. Allow to cool. Remove from tin and transfer to serving plate. Repeat with remaining biscuits.
  2. Place butter, cream and chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until cool but not set – about 20 minutes.
  3. Fill biscuit cases with 1 heaped teaspoon of chocolate mixture then place in refrigerator for 20-25 min or until set and ready to serve.
  4. To turn these chocolate tartlets into Rudolph tartlets, you’ll need regular and mini marshmallows for the eyes and faces, jaffas for the noses and pretzels for the antlers. Cut the marshmallows in half and press them into the chocolate filling cut side down. Stick the jaffas on with a dot of chocalte icing, and use the same icing to add pupils to the mini marshmallow eyes.

recipe from Taste

They taste good too!

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I heart recycled stuffed toys

It’s that time of year when I descend into kitsch craft sewing for Christmas. Bear with me, garment sewing will return soon!

I was inspired by these garlands at Woolworths

He who Cooks thought something like this would make great nameplace holders for the Christmas lunch table.

He’s brilliant.

They will.

The hearts are all from remnants used for other projects. All the buttons are from my stash. Some of them are probably older than me.

Best of all the stuffing is from a much loved, but no longer with us, toy Bunny.

Big Blue Bunny belonged to my nephew. Then to my niece. Then he came to live with us and performed admirably as Felicity’s bedroom door guardian. Recently he suffered a fatal accident. We kept him on life support until his ‘organs’ were donated.

The stuffing in storage.

The Orthopaedic And Trauma bag was perfect for Big Blue Bunny’s organ preservation.

Big Blue Bunny donated his heart, over and over!

I wish my Burdastyle subscription distributor had a heart :-(

So far there’s been no response despite an email and two online help requests.

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Plans for December BurdaStyle sewing dampened

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the December issue of BurdaStyle.

It came today. The package was unusually heavy. Every page was completely wet and stuck to the next one. The trip must have involved a nice long soak in a large body of water somewhere en-route to my place in sunny Adelaide.

Perhaps drying the pages and ironing them will give me a magazine that will still be useable??

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New fabrics coming to live with me (Gay Naffine and Lucy Giles fabric sale)

I missed the first day of the sale. Gay and Lucy’s workroom looked very sparse this morning after that first day of frenzied shopping by others!

No doubt, everyone else’s shopping was a very good thing for my bank balance. And the groaning shelves where my fabric collection is stored.

I did, however, find some lovely evening wear fabrics to add to those shelves.

And also some great neutrals (a textured white and a stretch cotton beige), a bright striped cotton, zips and a lovely trim.

The muted colours of that first sequined fabric are a bit out of my comfort zone. He who Cooks was with me at the sale (yes, I know, potentially a very bad idea) and he really liked this fabric. It will work for me if I highlight the purple and green in this fabric, rather than the tan.

The sequins are on mesh, with a digital print over both the sequins and the mesh. He who Cooks thinks this fabric would make a great top. I bought enough for a dress, just in case.

The other sequined fabric is more me: black on stretch velvet. This fabric is telling me it wants to be a winter LBD, but it also thinks it could be happy as an evening coat.

And isn’t the trim whimsical and lovely?

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