Creativebug Outfit for Hugo

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I have always felt that the two most essential garments in a child’s wardrobe are a basic pair of pants and a tee shirt. It was on this premise that I designed my two children’s patterns, the Flashback Tee for knits and the Parsley Pants for woven fabrics, and it’s also the reason that my Sewing for Little Ones series on Creativebug begins with how to make basic pants and ends with how to make a Trace-and-Make tee.  I love being able to whip up a tee and pants for my own kiddos; it’s such a fun and gratifying thing to sew an easy outfit in an afternoon (also: Elliot, at 9, still prefers my “soft pants” to store-bought).

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I made this little outfit for Hugo when I was writing my outlines for the Creativebug classes, and as you can see, the result is completely wearable and cute. I used the dog print from my Small World corduroy fabric line for the pants, and that soft yellow knit (I swear this is the PERFECT shade of yellow) is from Cloud9’s knit solids collection. Cloud9 provided ALL of the fabrics I used to teach the classes, by the way; I’m partial to their fabrics, as you probably already know.

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

The first class, Sew Beginner Pants, takes you from start to finish on a basic pair of pants. I love the utility of pants, how simple they are (one pattern piece!), that it is a gender-neutral clothing item, and how quickly they can be sewn. It walks you through setting up your sewing machine for the first time, cutting out the pieces, and sewing them together. The video allows you to sew along and learn all those little tips and tricks you’d learn if you could take one of my classes in person. I also figured out a way to sneak seam finishing into this class because though pants can be sewn lickety-quick, if you want them to last through multiple wears and washings, seam finishing is essential. The class also includes a printable download with two sizes of the Parsley Pant pattern, a newborn size and a toddler size. The larger size is labeled size 3, and I also included a size 2 hemming line (and I’ve got them hemmed up even further for these pics of Hugo, since he’s not quite in a size 2 length-wise). And of course, if you needed more sizes you could use the same instructions for any size of my Parsley Pants pattern. Here’s the class description:

Begin your foray into sewing for little ones with Raes Parsley Pants pattern. Rae shows you how to work with multi-sized patterns and covers tricky techniques like sewing curves and adding an elastic waistband. This pattern is practical and simple, and you will get the satisfaction of seeing an entire garment come together in just a couple of hours. Start building your basic garment construction skills with this class.

Learn How To:

  • Set up your sewing machine
  • Select size and cut out your pattern
  • Sew curved seams
  • Add an elastic waistband and ribbon tag
  • Finish hems

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

The tee was made as a sample for the Trace and Make Knits class, the third and final class in the series. “Trace and Make” means you start with a piece of clothing that fits your child, and you trace it to make a pattern from the garment so you can make even more (sidenote: I do this to make clothes for my kids to wear, but never for a pattern I intend design and sell). In this particular class, I demonstrate how to trace and construct not only a tee but a pair of leggings as well, another essential item for children. The class also includes an introduction to knit fabric and sewing with knits, and shows you how to sew the tee and leggings from start to finish…I mean, for the price of the subscription, I can’t even… Let’s put it this way: all of this content would be a $100 workshop if I offered it locally, you know? Not to mention, the principles of tracing, making, and constructing tees and leggings are exactly the same for kids as they are for men, or women, so I personally think this class has a HUGE value and I’m so glad that I can point folks who are interested in sewing with knits to it! Here’s the class description:

Tracing and making is a great way to learn about clothing construction. In this final part, Rae shows you how to trace a favorite t-shirt and pair of leggings to create your own patterns, which you can use to construct custom garments. You will also learn all about working with knit fabrics—a staple fabric for kids. This class rounds out the wardrobe nicely, teaching you more skills like working with shoulders and sleeves and how to add a double-fold neckline.

Learn How To:
· Work with knit fabrics
· Select a tee and leggings to trace
· Trace tee and leggings for pattern
· Create a pattern on Swedish tracing paper
· Construct a tee-shirt shoulder seam, sleeve seam and double-fold neckline
· Add tags to tee and leggings
· Insert elastic waistband in leggings

Sewing for little ones set / Creativebug + Made By Rae

I have even more to say about the second class (“Sew a Beginner Dress”) yet, but I’ll save that for a later post. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how these classes turned out and I really hope that you will subscribe and watch them if you haven’t already. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to offer video somehow, to make an extra instructional resource available for people who wanted to try my sewing patterns but maybe needed a little more support (and I’ve done a handful of campy how-to videos for a few of my sewing patterns), but but holy sh*t is it ever hard to film, edit, and publish video on your own. I’m still a little gobsmacked at how adeptly the editors whittled down an entire week’s worth of shooting into these three thorough yet concise classes that can each be watched from start to finish in one sitting (and, Bonus Miracle: manage not to make me look like a total idiot!). I can’t say this without sounding like a total fan-girl, but it was such an honor to have had the opportunity to partner with Creativebug on this thing and I’m proud to be able to put my name on such a high-quality project.

You can sign up for free and take my classes by clicking on this image:

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Note: all Creativebug links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small amount if you subscribe via one of my links.

Knit Dresses for Clementine

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Two new quick knit dresses for the little stinker (actually three but one didn’t get finished): One a slightly larger version of this Flashback Dress (there’s a rough tutorial at that link on converting the Flashback Tee into a dress):

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She just got a haircut last week, which I think turned out rather well. After discussing her plans to “keep it long” and “just get a tiny trim” in the car before we arrived at the salon, I was rather floored to hear her announce to the hairdresser that she wanted it all chopped off. Whaaaat. OK! Sure!!! I tried not to sound too enthusiastic lest she change her mind since I actually love it short — it’s SO much easier to take care of and somehow always manages to look chic no matter what she does or doesn’t do to it, as opposed to long hair, which always ends up looking unkempt and ragamuffinesque, like she might actually be a street urchin or something.\

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When I see little girls running around with beautifully coiffed heads, or perfectly placed pigtails or braids, I always wonder how that came about. In our house a hairstyle that intricate would need to involve either ear-piercing shrieks or a large tranquilizer dart.

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And here is the other dress, which is basically a Flashback Tee, cut a few inches below the armpit and with a gathered rectangle sewed to the bottom (EASY!). Similar to this Flower Garden dress, does anyone remember that post? She was soooo cute back then!!!

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OK, fabric. The white knit is a Birch Organic knit which I purchased at Sew to Speak in Columbus (I have their # on speed-dial) but can also be found at Fabricworm, a sponsor of this blog (ack they have it on sale right now!!). The knit is a medium weight, thicker, with a nice amount of stretch to it. I will say that I love the Birch knits, but the more ink they have on them, the stiffer they feel (both before and after washing), so the prints with the lighter backgrounds tend to feel nicer to me. Love this party print!! SOOO cute!

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The pink print is from Girl Charlee (another blog sponsor) which is a large online shop specializing in knits. This one is called a “cotton jersey blend,” is fairly lightweight, and has a great deal of stretch — so much so that you can see the armpits on this dress are sagging from the weight of the skirt. It is SUPER soft, though since I paid very little for this knit I do worry about pilling on it, as it seems to have a fair amount of lycra. Lycra content can usually be seen as little tiny white threads on the surface of a knit, which can sometimes snag and pill as a knit is worn). So we will see; it hasn’t been worn much yet. Clementine LOOOOOVEEESS this dress and has professed her undying love for the print on a number of occasions already. The fact that she has worn the dress three times since I finished it on Friday even though it has pizza sauce on it is solid evidence of this.

Flashback Dress for ClementineFlashback Dress for Clementine

Finally: the sherpa vest is from Mini Boden. I love that thing. Warm enough for cool days, and super cute. I bet you could make one, but this mama has her hands full of handmade clothing projects as it is.

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Little Romper Thingy for the Drool Machine

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This was a spur-of-the-moment project (inspired by this little romper on Pinterest).  As with the dress in the last post, sometimes when I wing it it works, sometimes it’s a disaster, and sometimes it just needs some tweaking.

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please feel free to pin this romper but don’t pin any photos of Hugo — thanks!

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I drew the pattern for this free-hand-style and cut and sewed most of it in less than an hour. The only step that took a bit more time was adding the snap placket to the inside of the legs.

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This fit is a wee bit wide in the neck — he’s showin’ a little baby shoulder — and could use a little tweaking. Next time I’ll just make the neck smaller and narrower and add more length to make more room for his cloth diapers. The yellow striped knit was left over from this Flashback Tee I made for Clementine last fall — that’s the great thing about baby sewing projects, they take almost no fabric so it’s not a huge investment if it doesn’t work out. Wouldn’t a little micro-pocket look cute too?

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I’m completely helpless when it comes to editing photos of Hugo. I can’t delete any. Even looking at this post I realize there are roughly four shots that all probably look the same to everyone else, but to me are so nuanced in expression they all needed to be included.

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Gold Dot Knit Dress

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I should have considered the fact that this shade of nudey-beige is NOT the most flattering shade on me before buying yards and yards of this dotted knit last spring, but I was drawn like a magpie to those gold dots and I just couldn’t resist. In fact I broke a number of my own “rules for buying knits,” as it ended up being more sheer than expected (I didn’t request a swatch), and it was pretty cheap, which seemed great until I realized I was starting to get a pilly knit dress. Why oh why did I think it would be different this time? Two words: GOLD DOTS.

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I also should have remembered that I’m at least a whole size larger than I was last summer when I decided to add a longer skirt to the same pattern I used for the Strawberry Peplum Top. As a result, I now have a really cute dress that is waaaay too tight on the top half. But it has GOLD DOTS!! Even with a tank top underneath it shows EVERY line of my bra, which you can see in the last picture of this post, and is pretty embarrassing. I keep wearing it though. Despite the pilling and sheerness and the fact that this project was probably Not A Win. I think we all know why.

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On the plus side, the pink scarf (JCrew, two seasons ago) does two things for this dress: it covers up some of the sheerness and tightness, and it adds some delicious color to the ensemble.

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I love the aqua flower necklace (found locally at a gift shop in Kerrytown) with it too, but I need to figure out a solution to the “skin-tight” problem if I’m going to wear this without the scarf in public, as you can see above. One possible solution is to just wear the baby in a carrier over it, like I did to a wedding a couple weeks ago. After all, babies make great accessories.

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Rapunzel Outfit for C

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I went on a bit of a Lillestof buying binge a couple months ago; one purchase was the Ninja print for E that I posted about last week, and I also picked up this absolutely adorable Rapunzel print for C from Simplifi along with a few other prints. I think with busy prints it’s best to use a simple pattern, so I decided to make a couple of short-sleeved Flashback Dresses.

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Please feel free to pin any of the cropped photos in this post, but please do not pin or reuse photos that include Clementine’s face. Thanks!

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The Flashback Skinny Tee Pattern comes in sizes 0-5 AND 6-14. I also used my tutorial for short-sleeves, and the tutorial for turning it into a dress.

I used the Go To Leggings pattern for the leggings that my friend Andrea sent over years ago (thank you Andrea!!!) and they are fantastic. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to finally make them, but I’m so glad I did; the fit is excellent and leggings are SO easy to make! They are a little long on C because she’s tall so I went up a size, but she can just grow into them.

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Ninja Boy!

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He’s my little Ninja. Er…I guess not so little anymore? Medium-sized Ninja?

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The kid is always throwing punches and kicks and generally bouncing off the wall. I’m not sure where all the energy comes from but it seems to be infinite. So a NINJA Flashback Tee (with short sleeves and a shoulder mod) seemed perfect. Paired here with some blue twill Parsley Pants that were oh-so-simple to sew: just the basic pants with an elastic waistband and a “tuxedo” stripe with a scrap of fabric my friend Chris gave me at the Weekend Sewing Retreat last fall stitched down the side. There’s also a quick tuxedo stripe tutorial at this post, but it’s also one of the many options included in the Parsley Pants Pattern.

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After talking about how awesome Lillestof knits are in my favorite knits post, I figured I should put my money where my mouth was and actually sew with them to see what all the fuss was about. Um, yeah. They’re awesome. Lovely amount of stretch, very soft, wash well, don’t fade. LOVE. Definitely worth the extra dollars in my opinion, and trust me, I’m a sucker for cheap knits too so I think I know what I’m talking about. I got this ninja print at Simplifi but you can find more sources for Lillestof in that favorite knits post.

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Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic today, but it gets me a little choked up when I think about how many of you “know” this kid. Like, you’ve read for years and watched him grow up, and make his silly faces and poses and be a goofball (you need to go look at at that Hansel post if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s kinda my Opus) in more than one post, and even though it’s through the screen, you feel like you have a sense of his personality, you know? I suppose some people could get creeped out by that but the glass-is-half-full me thinks it’s pretty fun that so many of you can enjoy his great personality. On the other hand, I am acutely conscious of the fact that he’s never had a say about (or even really comprehend the concept of) having his face be so familiar to literally millions of people. I’ve started talking to him about that, because I think he’s old enough to start understanding what that means. Someday he may ask me not to put his pictures on my blog and I will say OK, but at least for now he’s having fun.

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Please don’t pin or repost pictures of Elliot. Thanks!

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On the KNIT sewing radar

One of the things I love about hosting the KNITerviews and doing my own posts on sewing with knits is that I end up finding all sorts of new resources to share. I’m so thrilled with how many people tell me they take the plunge and start sewing with knits after reading something I’ve posted about knit sewing, but I want to point out that there are so many OTHER great places to go for good information on knit sewing too! Here’s a few that you might find interesting or useful:

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Tilly and the Buttons just released a women’s knit sewing pattern, Coco, that looks simple and easy and lovely; it’s available either digitally or in print. She’s also currently doing a series of blog posts all about Knits that you absolutely must check out! This is one of my favorite sewing blogs. I just love how simply she explains everything, and the beautiful colors on her site.

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My friend Deborah of Whipstitch offers an online knit sewing course called Sewing Knits without the serger — if you want to learn from an expert, this is where you should go. The list of topics covered in this course is exhaustive and totally worth the investment. Check out the course description here. Honestly any of Deborah’s eCourses are wonderful if you want to learn more about sewing; you can see them all here. UPDATE: Deborah is offering a discount code for this course! Sign up by March 15th, 2014, and receive 20% off your registration fee with the coupon code MADEBYRAE . Thanks, Deborah!

Heidi of Elegance and Elephants recently posted on Sewing with Knits; I especially like how she talks about determining the amount of stretch (there’s a downloadable stretch chart to help you determine the amount of stretch in a knit fabric). She also included a fantastic knit resource list at the bottom of that post as well!

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Last year sewing blogs One Little Minute and Mad Mim hosted a knit sewing series called “Stretch Yourself” that had some great tutorials, guest projects and pattern reviews on knit sewing, including how to trace and make your own tee; check it out!

Finally, you can follow my Sewing with Knits Pinterest board, where I round up all the random knit resources and tutorials I stumble across, so if you want to see them all in one place, follow my board!

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Knit Maternity Cowl Top

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Another knit maternity top today! See how big the belly is getting? Fun fun!! I made this swingy raglan style tee with 3/4 sleeves and a drapey cowl neck last year but it wasn’t very flattering on my non-pregnant self. Definitely works as a maternity top though! The fabric is a peach bamboo jersey (purchased at Field’s Fabrics) that is so stretchy and comfortable.

Though…I should mention that I don’t buy many bamboo fabrics anymore since it’s really hard to tell whether they’ve been manufactured with a closed-loop chemical process. Bamboo is easy to grow organically due to the fact that it’s basically an invasive weed, but the chemical process that turns bamboo into a woven fiber can be an environmental nightmare depending on how it’s manufactured. Anyway I basically know nothing about it so it’s like the blind leading the blind here. TANGENT!

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I supposedly have exactly one month to go until my due date today, which I must admit is a bit anxiety-inducing. I had a major manic nesting binge this weekend where I washed all of the baby clothes and got out the cloth diapers and performed inventory on the baby checklist. Still can’t find the baby monitor. Need to open the new infant carseat box yet. Probably should pack the hospital bag and all that. Pictures need to be hung in the nursery. MUST PICK A NAME. You get the idea.

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this is the look I give people who get in the way of the belly

And then…I have a few things I want to do with this blog before I take some time off for my maternity break, but I’m not sure how much I’ll actually get finished. I’d love to post some more baby sewing projects, I have a couple more knit tutorials I want to finish, and Jess and I have been talking a little about the Spring Top Sewalong!!! Jess can definitely run the sewalong here on the blog while I’m off (with small bits of input from me), so we’re thinking month of April if anyone is interested in a personal sewing challenge!! We’re also working on a new women’s sewing pattern that’s almost ready for testers, so that’s going to be fun too! Hmmm…a little ambitious do you think??

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Knit Necklines, Part III: Invisible Bias

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Today’s Knit Necklines tutorial (see Part I and Part II for standard neckband and bias-bound neckline finishes) will show you how to finish a knit neckline with a strip of knit fabric, but this time it gets flipped to the inside of the tee so it’s invisible…well, sort of. Technically, a line of stitches will still be visible, but the strip of knit you use to finish the neck won’t be. I love this finish for Clementine’s tees (this one and this one, for example), and it works especially well on boatneck tees. On top of that, it’s super profesh looking. And one other thing: if you loath hemming knits, this is also a great alternative for cuffs and hems!

One caveat: this neckline finish, unlike the previous two, makes the entire neck hole 1/2″ wider because the seam allowance flips to the inside. You can always go ahead and add additional 1/4″ to the entire neck edge of the tee before you start if you think you might end up with a neck hole that is too large.

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First, let’s make sure you’re ready to sew:

  • put a ballpoint or stretch needle in your machine
  • stitch length is set to a slightly longer straight stitch
  • I HIGHLY recommend stretch thread (be sure to read my post on stretch thead if you haven’t already!). If you can’t rustle up some stretch thread, set your machine to a long-ish narrow zig-zag stitch (so: stitch length somewhere between default and basting, stitch width close to 0) and use a standard polyester thread in your machine. In this tutorial I used stretch thread for all of the stitching shown (except for serging the tee together before I began), so if you use regular thread you’ll need to use the zig-zag stitch instead.

Start by sewing the tee together at the shoulder seams (I also went ahead and sewed the sleeves and side seams too, but you really only need to do the shoulders before you finish the neckline).

Step 1: Measure neckline and cut out the knit strip

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As in the previous two tutorials, take a flexible tape measure and measure around the neckhole. Cut the strip as long as your neck hole and 1″ wide. You won’t need the whole length but it’s easiest just to start with this much. Remember to cut the strip out along the direction of stretch, as shown above!

(see yesterday’s tutorial, step 1, for more on the direction of stretch and fabric recommendations! I also discuss why this strip is not really a “bias strip” in that post)

Step 2: Attach the knit strip to the outside (RIGHT side) of the neck hole with a 1/4″ seam

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Beginning at a shoulder seam and folding over the end by about 1/4,” sew the strip to the neck hole with a 1/4″ seam. The RIGHT side of the knit strip should be facing the RIGHT side of the neck hole. As you go, gently stretch out the strip of knit out a bit (but not too much!). When you get back to where you started, overlap the ends by 1/4″-1/2″ and trim the rest of the strip away.

Hint: If you’re using this finish for a boatneck tee, stretch the strip more at the shoulder seams (where the neckline is most curvy) and a bit less at the center front and back of the neckline (where it’s less curvy)

(again, please see yesterday’s tutorial for more photos and commentary on this technique; steps 2 and 3)

Step 3: Press it!

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Use an iron to press the entire knit strip away from the neck hole (above), then fold and press the top edge 1/4″ under, towards the wrong side, around the entire strip (below).

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Step 4: Flip to the inside and stitch down

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Now flip the entire strip to the inside of the neckline so that it is no longer visible from the outside of the tee. Press it again, and pin (or clip) it in place.

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Sew along the folded edge (this is called “edgestitching”) to fasten the strip to the inside of the neckline. Again, you’ll notice I’m using a straight stitch here, but only because I’m using stretch thread. If you’re using regular thread, I highly recommend a narrow zig-zag stitch so that the neckline will be more flexible when pulled over the head!

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Voila!! Finished neckline!

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You can see more photos of this pink tee in action over at this post, and ALL of the posts in the KNITS: Stretch Yourself series over on my KNITS page.

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