Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Friday, December 30, 2011

The UFO Countdown or Git R" Done Girlfriend

As the new year approaches I find myself bogged down by unfinished projects.
  As much as I want to sew for Spring of 2012 I cannot help feeling like it's time to finish what I started in 2011...or before.  
They are all worthy projects and the time is right to bring them out, reevaluate and dig back in.
  So in no particular order I bring you my unfinished projects:


This wall hanging (which I have no place to hang) was started as a class sample.  It is several years old and needs to be quilted....and then what?

Indygo Junction Bed Jacket
This jacket was started in August 2011.  It is a wool/angora blend lined with silk and hand channel quilted throughout the body.  The sleeve cuff is needle felted, appliqued and quilted.  No surprise it was set aside when my work load became to demanding for them both. 


According to my project worksheet this quilt kit ( a first for me)  was purchased in Sept. 2009 .  The piecing was completed in Dec. of that same year.  I quilted the body of the quilt in 2010 and then put it aside because I could not decide how to quilt the border.....
Dare I say much....any thoughts?


This lovely pile of old lace and silk chiffon will become an even lovelier blouse this year!
The blouse back is pieced together and once again work interrupted.
  The work sheet for this project is dated Jan. 2011 and was intended for my spring wardrobe.....sigh.
It will look just as lovely this spring, maybe even more so because I have been working out this winter:)


In 1997? I moved to a wonderful little town and took a "class" to make this mystery quilt as a means of meeting the local stitchers. For those of you unfamiliar with mystery receive a list of supplies but you do not know what the pattern is...thus the mystery:)
To have this quilted will easily cost me $ I like it enough for that investment?  
What to do, what to do?


Remember this yarn?  It was purchased this summer to make a sweater for my Fall Wardrobe....yup.
All of the components are knit up and I am currently sewing the sections together, so it's well on its way.
My evening sewing / knitting project much of which was accomplished while watching past seasons of the Biggest Loser.

Do you feel pressured or stressed out by your unfinished projects or are they "art in progress" for you?
Anybody want to join me for a UFO sew along?
Do we need a button and a Flickr group?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jasmine Blouse Review

The Jasmine blouse felt like a long journey, but I am pleased with the changes I made and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the project.
 It is my final Fall Palette Challenge piece, outside of a sweater I am still knitting.
 It's a good thing I am bringing my fall sewing to a close seeing as how we received our first snowfall this week....6" or more!  Most Alarming!

Jasmine blouse by Lynne Williams with revisions
 The fabric had a border pattern running across the grain about every 30" which required some planning. 
 I drew up a few sketches placing the border at various locations and ended up with this plan. 
 Placing it along the top of the pattern framed the neckline in front, and reminded me of a midi blouse.

Jasmine blouse by Lynne Williams with revisions
On the back you can see I placed the border just over the hem which I think accentuates the curves in my figure.

As mentioned in a prior post, the pattern is accurately made and the instructions are very easy to follow.  I can certainly recommend this pattern especially if you want to learn how to sew a bias cut garment.  
You will  learn  about working on the bias while keeping the project simple and not get yourself  overwhelmed.

I changed the length of the sleeve to fall below my elbow.  
A simple change - lengthen the sleeve pattern by the desired amount. 
Then I ran a gathering stitch around the hem edge and created a narrow 1/2" band to finish it.  
I used a strip from the border print to set it off.
My hem band was cut 2" x 9" and of course I cut 2.

I also brought the neckline in 1-1/2" towards my neck on each side.  I love the width of the original pattern, but it just was not flattering for my narrow little skull-lol, or maybe it is my lack of jaw....probably the combination.  If you can wear it wide by all means do so...its so lovely like that.

I also changed how the collar was made and assembled.  
The collar pattern has 2 parts a collar back and the collar front which lengthens into the tie. 
 You are instructed to cut 4 front collars and 2 back collars, like a standard collar.  Additionally it has a interfaced facing...front and back. 
 I am not a huge fan of facings, they tend to be difficult to control, additionally I did not think the collar laid particularly well, it wants to ripple along the outside edge.
Instead I chose to make the collar a sash cut on the bias and folded in half lengthwise. 
This causes the gentle roll, which lifts it upwards from the neckline and the outer edge lays nice with no rippling.

I then replaced the facing with a strip of self bias like you see on many knit necklines.

I plan on making another one of these blouses from one of my silks.  I just hope I have enough of this lovely periwinkle charmeuse I have had in my stash for about 20 years!!  It is one of those fabrics you love so much, you are afraid of doing the wrong thing with it. 

Do you have fabrics in your stash like that?.

My apologies for not having pictures of me wearing the blouse, its so much easier to slip it on my form and snap a picture and get blogging then setting up for a photo shoot.  I understand this is breaking a cardinal rule of good blogging...but it's so time it leaves me room for improvement-lol

Maybe one day I will have my act together enough to take wonderful fashion /location pictures like some of my favorite blogs....girls I think you know who you are.  I do so appreciate their day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Let's Dress Costumes that is.

Now I am not a fan of Halloween as I like to avoid making light of death, demons, the devil and zombies.  But I do enjoy a good costume and dressing up is so much fun.  As attested to by these photos.

1966 Batman Mini me
 Todd Mello made this amazing mini replica costume for his son.  How cute is this?  
Tom did an amazing job and I am told that he used our Caped Crime Fighter Pattern  as reference,  
with the belt pattern being reduced down proportionally.

I was also informed that Todd had plans of a costume of his own, but ran out of time creating this super suit for his son.  
Having a husband who is a huge bat fan..I can appreciate the sacrifice that was made, but no doubt we can look forward to seeing the dynamic duo appear next year.

Really well done Todd, my cowl is off to you sir!

Paige Garrison as Marilyn Monroe
 Paige is a new student of mine and we have so enjoyed having her in our sewing group at Sewing Cafe.
Her mother taught her to use her machine, but she considers herself to be a beginner. 
She is fearless.  
This is not a project I would recommend to a beginner, but did she learn a bet!

 She had a party to attend with friends in Minnesota....friends who did not even recognize her I am told.

Paige Garrison as Marilyn Monroe
Well Done Paige!!

Looking forward to our next sewing adventure.

If you have any questions you would like me to ask our costume makers, please comment below and I will be sure to follow up.

My thanks to Todd Mello and Paige Garrison for sharing these photos with us.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In the Studio this week - Swing Coats and Bunny Uniforms

I have come to realize that sometimes I make promises on this blog that I do not keep.
  It's a shocking thing to realize about yourself.
  In an attempt to rectify this bad habit I am sharing what Peg and I have been working on in the studio this week(as promised...), which has been a dressy swing coat with matching hand muff, alterations, and a Playboy Bunny uniform.

This silk taffeta swing coat was made using a Butterick 4928

My client/student is making a dress from the same silk taffeta, and due to her date deadline :) decided it was advisable to split the project up by having me make the coat.

 This elegant dress coat has a surprise....

It's lined with Minky, yes Minky and we made a very warm Minky lined faux fur hand muff to compliment the coat.  If you are in need of a dress coat...and who of us is not?.....I can recommend this unusual combination of fabrics.  The coat is lightweight and oh so cozy, with its warm and comfy lining.  If you don't need a dress about a housecoat?  Think about it....Right?

Now on to the Bunny Uniform... because who wants to talk about alterations when there is serious costuming to discuss.
The girls in club uniform greeting Hugh Hefner at the airport
A favorite client of mine commissioned the Union Jack Bunny costume, (seen at far right), but the seamstress who was hired to add the flag pattern became ill, making it impossible for her to do her part. 
 I hope she is feeling better soon

Union Jack Playboy Bunny Uniform in progress.

Enter Lynne.....who received  a base suit made by Bunny PJ in Navy blue, with tail and name tag. Following many reference photos I have begun basting satin ribbon onto the suit to replicate the Union Jack Flag.

Union Jack Playboy Bunny Uniform in progress.
As you can see I have the central cross section basted on, and will start laying in the angled sections soon.  
The costume arrived with ribbon, which was a nice time saver, but unfortunately I believe that one of the red ribbons is in the wrong I am on the hunt for some 5/8" red satin ribbon which will match the red I already have.

My dress form is a little small in the waist for this size 8 suit which accounts for the bubbling going on...but notice how the ribbons go over and under each other?  Interesting I thought. 
 Once all the basting is done the hand applique will begin.

So there you have it...this week in the studio. 
 No progress has been made on my Jasmine blouse as of yet...maybe this weekend.
  I am such an optimist...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Jasmine blouse by Colette patterns

This pattern appealed to me because of its sweet femininity, and I guess I like to think of myself like that-LOL

I have also been anxious to try one of the Colette patterns for a few reasons.
1. they seem to be quite popular.
2. I like supporting independent designers.
3. I wanted to test the pattern and instructions, to see if I would recommend them to my students.

Bengal spice tea in vintage cup with Lemon cookies

Upon it's arrival, I of course like everyone else was impressed with it's cuteness.  The graphics are adorable and inviting.  It says "let's put the kettle on, bake some tea cookies and plan our wardrobe" At least that is what it said to me....your results may vary:)

Jasmine blouse photo courtesy of Colette
I knew from looking at the illustration as well as the photos of the finished blouse that I wanted to lengthen the sleeves to mid-forearm.  This is a personal issue.....Elbows to me are like knee's, not attractive.  If you don't cover them, then you need to find the correct height above them, to draw your eye away from the wrinkled knob of flesh.  This, like everything else gets worse as you age...

I also felt there was something not quite right about the collar, but I could not put my finger on it.  It just didn't seem to lay properly, or was it a touch to narrow? 
 It looks so sweet in the photo what exactly is my issue?

I loved the shape of the neckline, the tie, the slight gathering on the sleeve at the shoulder, and that is was cut on a figure flattering bias, as well as the fact that it had no closures.  
Hooray, a simple and lovely blouse to "whip out"
Jasmine blouse mocked up in Tencel by Lynne Williams
I finished my tea and cut out my "muslin" or "mock frock" as one of my clients/ students calls them.
I found a piece of Tencel in my stash that replicated the weight and drape of my finished fabric choice.

The pattern is delightfully accurate.  My bust currently measures 37" and I traced the size 8.
The fit is very nice, straight off the pattern.  The bias drapes in a predictable figure flattering way.  My husband quite liked it:) 
 The neckline though made me feel suddenly quite old:(
Was it just the color of the blouse....?
The depth of the neckline is very nice.  Often times I have to raise necklines, as I am not keen on showing cleavage...supposing I had some...but the depth of this neckline was just right.  My husband agreed something was amiss, and I don't mean with the pattern, but just that the style lines were not flattering to my face.  I am rather stumped by this because I like it just fine on my dress form.

After much pondering I have decided to make it narrower at the shoulder line.  Lengthen my sleeves even more and change the way the collar is sewn, making it less of a collar and more of a sash tie like this blouse from Banana Republic.

I would eventually like to make this blouse up in a silk, but for this 1st run will use this piece of poly voile I have in my stash and picked up for a song at JoAnn's

Please comment about your observations and impressions.  
Am I trying to make 1 style into another completely?
Will the pattern in my poly voile confuse the issue or make for a sublime blouse?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wonder Woman Accessories

Wonder Woman Tiara and Cuffs by Williams Studio 2

Yesterday in the studio I completed a batch of Wonder Woman tiaras, and cuffs.
I am trying a new gold braid on these which folds over the edge. 
 It's quite tricky to apply but Chuck, in particular loves the finish.

 Speaking of finishes...

Can you believe the finish on those cuffs?  We send those out to be done by a professional and upon their return I apply the red stars.....very carefully.

So a lot of sewing and very little breathing was done - lol

I do love my job.

Wonder Woman Tiara and Cuffs by Williams Studio 2
If you are interested in owning a set of these beauties head over to my Etsy store.  Normally I make these as ordered, but I have an extra set currently available for sale. 
 An unusual occasion to say the least.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Fabric Lovelies

My beautiful yarn was not my only splurge this past week.

It all really started at The Cutting Edge Sale, where some very committed women were waiting out in the cold to enter the not going to do that.  I cannot even imagine what incredible fibers she would have to have on sale that would cause me to stand out in the wind for....I am trying...but....

Peg and I then bravely headed over to Jo-Anns where we found a very nice piece of linen.  Yes 100% linen, yarn dyed in this marvelous cafe au lait color.  We purchased enough for 2 shirts, one for her and one for me and we have plans on cutting them out and sewing them up together.
(It looks a little dark in this picture, but what's a girl to do, trying to photograph in the's touchy.)

That will be great fun, don't you think?
Do you sew much with others? 
Lynne Williams for Williams Studio 2 - linen blouse sketch
This is the shirt I designed and sketched for my linen fabric.  I will replace the darts at the front with tucks.  Use pin tucks on the front insert and trim it with some vintage lace from my stash.  A 3/4 length sleeve with a narrow cuff, and lots of little mother of pearl buttons for the front placket. 
Yummy!...if I do say so myself, and since this is my blog I guess I can do that....

Currently I do not know what Peg's plans are for her half of the linen, but I will be sure to keep you posted.

The chocolate colored stuff alongside the linen is a medium wale corduroy and I have plans to make some straight leg jeans to work in.  I am always a touch on the cold side so cozy pants will do just the trick this winter while I am in the studio sewing.  

We did return to The Cutting Edge later in the day where we stocked up on small rotary cutting blades and I purchased some fine cotton batiste for another blouse.  It is in white and I have plans to dye it using some Shibori technique.

Have you tried Shibori ?

Now did I need fabric?....certainly not, and I have been doing a fine job of attacking my stash this past year, but linen at JoAnns, a superfine cotton batiste, and some gorgeous yarn..simply irresistible.

Let's just hope I can get to these projects this year so that these gorgeous finds don't end up in my stash.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Knitting Smartie, or Knit off the pounds.

Black Purl 1102 3rd st, Wausau WI. 
On my recent shopping trip into Wausau I managed to stop by my favorite yarn shop The Black Purl.  
My intention was to pick up a few hanks of Cascade 220 to knit myself another sweater vest for the FESA challenge. 
This I figured was an affordable alternative for my next knitting project.
  Knitting is not for the economically challenged.  

If you have not been to The Black Purl I highly recommend it.  The owner Beth is quite honestly brilliant.  Her shop is an oasis of cozy color, rich textures, and a soothing ambiance.  As usual several ladies were sitting around an old oak table in front of a sunny window knitting away while chatting with one another.

With good intentions I headed straight to where the Cascade was the last time I was in, and searched for a color that would fit in with my palette and ...well speak to me.  
The Cascade was shockingly quiet and subdued...hmmm, well while I am here lets at least look and see what new gorgeous samples Beth has been knitting up...this, I can recognize now, was my first mis-step.  Her samples are all on sale, I started trying them on(the 2nd mis-step), and then it happened, while shaking my arm out of a beautiful deep purple sweater I caught sight of this yarn by Louisa Harding

It was just the color I was looking for to fit in with my fall palette

Merletto yarn by Louisa Harding color #17 True
but not suitable for my fitted sweater vest.
I did just happen to have the directions for the Smartie sweater by Kim Hargreaves with me ( maybe this was my first mis-step...) the gauge would work, although with the texture of yarn I would forgo the window pane texture as knit in the pattern...simple enough to eliminate.

Smartie sweater by Kim Hargreaves / pattern in Rowan #19
I drove home full of's over an hour on a cold and blustery day.  Upon entering the house with my purchases, my wonderful husbands says " Did you find something lovely for yourself?"  
and I responded " Why...yes, yes I did....a few things"
Knitting up Smartie for Lynne Williams
I have been knitting ever since.  Here is my left front, which I started with instead of the back so I could confirm the shaping and lengths.  Chuck likes the texture that the moss stitch creates at the hem. and I love the vent detail at the princess seam and the luster of this yarn.  

Have you been distracted by the title of my post..." Knit off the pounds" ? 
 I do not mean to suggest that this sweater will make me look thinner, but I have noted a huge benefit to knitting in the evenings...I snack less, in fact not at all.  Evenings are typically my downfall where my diet is concerned, the longer I watch television the more I want to snack, but when I am knitting I am not thinking about snacking, so I now figure that my yarn is a very cost effective diet aid.  Less expensive then a trainer or diet foods, and therapy. 
 After all for the cost of 12 skeins of yarns I am lowering my stress and calorie intake. 
 That's a win, win in my book:D

To see some of Black Purls patterns go here
For my fans of vintage clothing, check out the patterns using this yarn

Have you knit anything with  Merletto?
Do you use knitting, crocheting or hand work as a diet aid?
Have you been to the Black Purl?

Do tell:)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On The Go Tote Class Teaser

On the Go Tote adapted by Lynne Williams

The On The Go Tote Class begins on Saturday Nov 5th at Nicolet. 
It runs for 3 Saturdays in a row from 10am - 3pm  The class registration # is 20702
 Register today so that you have time to purchase your pattern and materials.

Whiligig Designs

This tote pattern is by Whiligig Designs and can be purchased at The Cutting Edge.  

Cottage Creek Quilts designed by Pam Puyleart
This pattern by Cottage Creek quilts can also be purchased at The Cutting Edge.  
It is meant to be a wall hanging, but ultimately it was the artwork that intrigued me, and I used it to jazz up my tote. 

I used this project as a tool for practicing my free motion stitching, which I do very little of.  Because the individual units are small it is easy to get creative and practice.  In class of course you are welcome to sew the tote up without embellishment as the pattern dictates....but what an opportunity to play.  I used a variety of techniques from templates to wild abandon:D  
I would really encourage you to use this class as an opportunity to learn/practice this skill

This tote does require a lot of yardage(9 yds), so I recommend digging into your stash or finding a great deal on a print that you love.  Additionally you can reduce the amount of yardage by sewing it up in a heavier weight fabric, such as a denim, a twill, or a medium weight upholstery fabric.  This saves yardage because the interior pockets when done in a quilting cotton are doubled up.  If you used a heavier fabric that is not necessary.  
In addition to the design changes :
I added a zipper closure
Stabilizing the tote - the pattern calls for using foam core , I simplified this step and in class you can choose between the options.

This tote is incredibly useful for class and if you like taking sewing classes you can just about get your entire sewing room in this tote....minus your machine and project.  
It holds  all of my cutting boards, rulers, scissors, threads, tapes, instructions, pin cushion, chalk wheels, dressmakers carbon etc.  

When I am doing a lot of teaching I simply hang the tote  on the back of a chair in my studio and work out of it, so that I am not loading and un-loading it.
That makes me think that if you have a limited amount of sewing space..this tote might be ideal for regular storage. 

I hope you will join me for sewing this very useful tote, learning some new techniques and meeting other sewing enthusiasts:)

A note to my sewing cafe students:  If you would like to sew on Saturday but are not interested in sewing the tote, please join us anyway.  As usual if you are attending Fridays class then you can leave your equipment set up in class on Friday and simply return Saturday morning for another full day of sewing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Pantaloons

Williams Studio 2 Fall Pajama Pantaloon's

The most comfortable pajama pants I have ever worn:)
  Last week Peg sewed these up for me so we could check my computer pattern skills....learning the ropes, you know?

I have had this homespun cotton flannel for years....literally.  
I made this pair a little longer for the the cooler weather, but they still have that super comfortable smocking at the waist, and I like how the ruffles help the hem keep their shape.  

Peg is now making a pair for herself, can't wait to find out if she likes them as much as I.

If you would like to make yourself a pair, There is a tutorial so you can do that.
With the new format you can just do a picture search to find the posts.. or type Pajama Pantaloon in the search box at the upper right hand side of your screen.
They are a great beginner project. 
 They would make a great gift as well....don't you think?

Today in the studio I altered a pattern for a client who is in need of a dress coat....fur and taffeta...yummy
Answered inquiry's about the Wonder Woman costume.
Thought a lot about the Jasmine blouse muslin....I will post more about that later.
Graded a pattern and prepared some patterns to offer as downloads.
Do you download patterns?  It's so convenient right?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Versatile Blog Award

The Versatile Blogger Award  has come back around and Mary was kind enough to mention me again as one of her receipients:)  I thought I would re-post my original thoughts on winning this award for my new readers, but change the blogs that I am passing this award onto.

So let's get started....

This morning while doing a quick check in through my blog roll.  I was happy to see that Biblioblog received this Versatile Blogger Award, because I do so enjoy hearing about her sewing projects and travels.  We have a few things in common....A love of sewing, A love of horses, we both have done some teaching( well she has done a lot of it, actually) and we both like to travel (she just actually gets to do some)

Then.....drum roll please.....she passed this award onto me, describing me as energetic, which I generally call frenetic, but energetic is so much nicer..... But that is Mary for you...Nice.

Thanks Mary, really I am quite touched this is my first award, and it's pretty special.

Along with the tag come certain rules:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post; -  Thank you Mary for thinking of me.  If you want to see some lovely travel pictures, and garments go to Biblioblog
Share seven things about yourself on your blog; 

working together on the replica 66 batman project
  1. My husband and I are both self-employed "artists"  Well he is really the artist, a sculptor actually who does the most amazing work.  He does product sculpture for Disney, Lenox, Electric Tiki, etc. which means people hire him to create 3 dimensional versions of their character art.  In addition to this he does Figurative Fine Art pieces.  He has incredible skill and a great sense of humor.  We have been married 11 years.  
  1. I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and was baptized 10 years ago.  It's not something I discuss much on my blog, seeing as how it's primarily about my passion for sewing.  So I am out in the Ministry every Monday, conducting Bible studies with interested and interesting people. 
I don't know how this happened, but she is amazing!
  1. I have a beautiful daughter now 22 and living in Australia, having an adventure to remember.  This picture was taken on her return from Culinary School in New York.
Extreme sewing by Lynne Williams for Honey I blew up the Kids
  1. Before moving to Wisconsin I had a business creating costumes for the theatre and film industry in Calif.  I loved it, and I miss it still.  I had the good fortune to work with Harry Blackstone Jr. and on films such as Honey I Blew up the kids and Bill and Ted's Excellent adventure.  Working side by side with other creatives is addictive and inspirational on many levels.
Dior's Atelier and staff
  1. I often fantasize about moving to Europe and working in a atelier, becoming a mixologist, having a hobby farm, and being able to eat anything I want without gaining a pound or clogging an artery
April in Wisconsin
  1. I am cold most of the time and it makes me cranky! and yet my husband still loves me and can laugh together about how this California girl ended up living in a place that has long winters and cool summers.
Winter Formal 77-78.  Vogue pattern
  1. I am never truly satisfied with anything I do...seriously it's pretty nuts.  If I was not so compelled to finish things, nothing would make it on my back, or to my clients.  When I was younger I just thought I was to lazy to get it right, and of course as I have gotten older my skills have improved, and I have a history of garments to look back upon and think " Why weren't you happy with that"?  So I remind myself of this in the middle of every project.
  • Pass this award along to recently discovered blogs
  1. The Dreamstress  Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional.  Her posts are humorous and informative.
  2. The Little Red Squirrel is determined to live a handmade life with vintage flair.  She is a talented sewist and knitter and like me is now learning how to crochet.
  3. the nest effect  tiffany at the nest effect has helped me to get organized and declutter my life.  She offers lots of free printables to help with this and lots and lots of great suggestions.  
Thanks again Mary for the award and mention.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Change can be exciting!

While Edna Mode my alter ego is busy at work in the studio today I have rolled up my sleeves to do some much needed housework...Oh Boy:) favorite thing to do on a Saturday.

I must be making progress though because most of my nail polish is now removed.

After the kitchen was complete, I convinced myself that I needed a coffee break, and could maybe check some of the blogs I follow.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a new option for Blogger which i think is pretty dear.

Most of you know how much I adore Pinterest, and this new format reminds me a lot of that. 
I love the visual aspect of it and I think it will be easier for my small but varied audience to find older posts that might interest them.  

Now I know change can be difficult and even a bit dis-heartening, after all it does take some additional effort to learn a new format or skill.  My hope though is that you will like the changes and will quickly get used to the new format. 

You will notice a tool bar above the picture gallery which will allow you to change the format to any version you prefer.  So if you like the classic version, just click on classic and your familiar friend will be there.  

Don't be afraid to move your mouse around and click to your hearts desire.

Please leave me comments and let me know what your thoughts are on this new look.
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