Tag Archives: Bambino Bobbin

Dotty Bobbin Creations!

So the first week back at school following the Easter holidays is upon us, the sun is still shining, washing is hanging out to dry and I find myself for the first time in months with a spare 1/2 hour to write to you! I thought you might like to see what we have been up to!

We have had a really busy couple of months, firstly the new addition to the Dotty household is Buttons, our puppy. He loves playing with the threads and sitting on the foot pedal making the machines sew by themselves during my classes. His latest trick was to chew up some bespoke foam that I was making into window seat cushions for a commission!!!!


Then came my Easter crafting class. I run seasonal crafting classes and this was the second ever one, following a roaring Christmas success. We had a great time and everyone went home with some lovely Easter creations, from making egg candles, Easter wreaths, blowing eggs, hessian bunting, needle felting, washi tape projects, lino cutting and printing, making hairclips and so on……. Have a look for yourself at the photos below, these were taken by Isabelle Christina Photography (I am lucky she is a sewing client).

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Then things went a bit crazy for my daughter Annelies. She has had a lot of interest with her textile art that she has been creating on the sewing machine. So much so that an art gallery in Walton (Twizzle Gallery in Titshmarsh Marina), offered to display and sell her work. So the lovely Isabelle Christina took some lovely photos for her, and then I fired the photos off to the Hemel Gazette. Less than a week later she made it on the front page of the Hemel Gazette and a week after that she was also in the Frinton Gazette. One proud Mum! Here is the work she has been exhibiting:

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She now has a page on my website to showcase her work. She is interested in doing some pet commissions as well.

My son also has something in the pipeline, for another blog….he’s not quite ready yet. Watch this space!

Then onto what I have been making over the last couple of months. Firstly I guess was the world book day, where Annelies and myself made a costume for Pippi Longstocking and Sam pulled together a costume for Indiana Jones. Personally I loved making the bloomers for Pippi!

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Then I have been practising with anything stretch, stretch cottons, knits, lycra, stretch stitches, twin needles, elastic insertion etc. Here are some of the creations I have made:

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And non stretch I have also made myself a lovely blouse (not photographed yet) and a shirt and leggings for Annelies.


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The green fleece onesie is for Sam but turned out fitting me! But he still loves it! Mostly I stick with Oliver and S patterns for myself and the kids as I trust the patterns and they fit nicely on me. The figure skating costume was from a Jalie pattern. They do loads of patterns for gymnastic, speed skating, dance and even jock straps! I also tried out a two piece red velour stretch shorts and dance top for Annelies (I was testing the pattern for a client) but she’s a bit too exposed to print the photo! I have also made another Oliver and S pattern, this time a bag that doubles as a rucksack. It is interlined with canvas making it super strong. This is a surprise for her upcoming birthday, and I hope it will make a nice school bag.


II do need some more boy ideas though if you have any suitable for a tall 10 year old! He can’t live in onesies although he would disagree!

Have you been following me on facebook at DottyBobbin1 to see what all my students have been creating? What a fabulous bunch I have, tailored skirts, dresses, cushions, bags, trousers, bunting. You name it, they are making it! A recent highlight was a party I did for a group of 6/7 year olds, where they did some amazing open toe embroidery pictures and took them home in a frame. What do you think?


Please keep spreading the word, I have nearly reached 60,000 page views and 18,000 visitors, and I am getting new enquiries almost every day, so thank you for your continued support.

Saskia x







Batik Shorts Tutorial

Hi, here I am going to show you how easy it is to make a pair of shorts without a pattern. After all summer is just around the corner (it’s actually snowing outside!).

I chose a lovely batik fabric which used to be my grandfathers sarong when he lived in Indonesia and I chose some shorts that fit me nicely.

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I folded the shorts in half and folded the fabric in half as well, laying the folded shorts on the fabric, making sure that the pattern on the fabric is facing the right way. Then I drew around the folded shorts with chalk, adding about one inch seam allowance all the way around, otherwise your shorts will be too small. I then cut around my chalk markings and repeated this once more for the other leg of the shorts.

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Cut a waistband out, this needs to be about 15cm deep and the length needs to long enough to go all the way around the top of the shorts, plus a seam allowance. Then zig zag your fabric. The reason I zig zag is to make sure that the fabric doesn’t fray when it is washed.

Take the two pieces of one leg and lay the fabric good side to good side. Pin the two longest straight sides together and repeat with the other leg.

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Use a straight stitch to stitch the pinned sides together and repeat for the other leg. I used the edge of the fabric with the edge of the sewing machine foot as my guide. Remember to go forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end to secure your stitch.

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Press your seam open using the iron. This means that when you stitch it all together later, you don’t get big bulky bits.

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Turn one leg the right way out and put that inside the other leg which is the wrong way out. Pin the curved edges together matching the seams and sew using a straight stitch. Then turn the shorts the right way around, you should now have something that looks like a pair of shorts without a waistband.

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Get the waistband and put the two short ends together. Pin it and then sew it together using a straight stitch. Take the pins out and then open out the seam using the iron. Fold the waistband in half across the length like in the picture, press.

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Open out the waistband as shown and pin the top edge of the shorts, lining up your back seam. The back of the waistband (where the seam is), needs to be pinned to the back of the shorts. (Just decide which side is nicer to decide which side is the back). Stitch this seam using a straight stitch.

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Press a little seam at the top of the waistband as shown in the picture. Mine is about 1cm long. Fold the waist band over the seam  and then pin it, leaving an inch gap to insert the elastic. I have marked the gap with two pins either side so I don’t forget to stop sewing here.

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Stitch this seam nice and close to the edge where the open side is. This will prevent any flapping bits of fabric on the inside. Then insert the elastic, I used a safety pin to do this. Try them on before you cut the elastic to make sure they fit over your hips. Then tie the elastic with a strong knot and stitch the hole in the waist band together, following the same line of stitches as before.

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Using the iron fold a neat hem line. I folded it over twice so that it looks nice from the inside (it also means I can turn them up on the outside if I want to). Pin and then sew the hem line, keeping your stitching nice and close to the open edge.

Press and wear!

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Bambino Bobbin Tutorial on how to make a bat cushion for Halloween

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Hello today I would like to talk about how to make a Halloween bat cushion. Look on the computer for a template for the bat. There are lots to choose from on the internet.

Cut out two square pieces of fabric. I used purple velvet fabric for the squares and I used black felt for the bats. Position the bats on one of the squares, using pins. Next, with chalk draw a triangle on the bat like I have done in the picture above.

If it is a thin fabric that frays when you cut it then make sure you zig zag your edges before you begin to sew.

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Then sew on the chalk lines, using straight stitch, remember to go forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end.

My mum helped me put the zip in, but she has attached some pictures to show you. This is a fancy zip, called a lace zip, that shows on the top of the cushion at the back.

First I cut the back square in half  (the one without the bats on), and then marked with chalk where the zip started and finished. Using a zipper foot my mum attached the zip.


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After the zip I attached both square pieces together good side together with good side, and pinned all 4 sides together. Make sure you put the pins in like I have shown on the picture then the machine can sew over them instead of you having to take the pins out every time to reach one.

Using a straight stitch, going forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end (to make sure the stitches don’t fall apart), I sewed all four sides. I sewed the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot as my guide to make sure I sewed a straight line.

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I hope you like it!  I got the idea from Pinterest, you can find all the links if you search for Dotty Bobbin on Pinterest. If you don’t have anyone to do the zip for you then you could make it as an envelope cushion. I have also done a tutorial on that!

I want to do a tutorial on inserting zips for kids soon, but this time I was being lazy and my Mum did it for me!

Crafty Halloween

I have been working on my first ever homemade Halloween decorations this year, Christmas usually gets in the way!

Anyway I thought it would be nice to share with you my creations and hopefully I can inspire you to do the same.    I have tried to keep them friendly, as I don’t really want lots of blood, guts and gore in my living room. So I settled on bugs and bats!

My first point of call was Pinterest. If you go onto my Pinterest page (for which there is a link at the bottom of my web home page), you will find all the original links where I adapted some ideas I found on there. The first project was actually completed by my daughter Annelies, she will shortly be publishing a tutorial on how to make it, but the finished result is this gorgeous bat cushion. She used purple velvet and black felt for the bats. It turned out really well and was really easy to make.

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Next on the list was a quilted wall hanging. This is a piece of fabric I bought a couple of years ago and never used. So I put wadding inside, quilted around some of the designs with an open toe embroidery foot and added a couple of spiders on my digital embroidery machine. It has pride of place above my fire place.

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Next was a labour of love, again the idea was found on Pinterest however I made it much larger and grander! This fits my dining table and it is a fabric with a purple sheen to it that I had in my fabric stash! It is a stiff fabric like they use on ball gowns. I drew a freehand spider web with chalk, I didn’t want it to be totally symmetrical. Then I set my machine to a zig zag stitch, and reduced the length to 0.4 and off I went. I did the first couple with wide zig zags and gradually reduced the stitch width as I came towards the middle of the web. Then after I had finished I randomly did a running stitch around to give it a more authentic spider web feel! Now for a spider! I have the luxury of a digital embroidery machine, so I stitched a spider in the middle and an unfortunate moth on the side. After trimming off the edges it was done. It can even be washed in the machine.

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Then for some mandatory Halloween bunting!  Made with a polyester satin fabric, I embroidered some bugs, this one is my favourite! I stitched in some tassels I had in my supplies and overlapped the bunting and it is now hanging in front of my fireplace.

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Next on the list was to decorate my candelabra which I put up occasionally when we have a nice dinner or something. I used the same bat template as my daughter used for her cushion and threaded ribbon through the bats, attaching some Halloween charms (readily available on Etsy), and then simply tied them on.

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Well that is Halloween complete, I had fun making it all and I am sure they will come out year after year, along with the pumpkins. Let me know what you think.

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Dotty Bobbin x

Dotty Bobbin Beach Photo Shoot

The idea of going to the beach to do a photo shoot for Dotty Bobbin was born a few months ago. I am lucky enough that my parents live just a few minutes from Frinton Beach. We came to stay for a week’s holiday whilst they lived on their boat to let us have the house.

The morning after we arrived I woke up early and took a picture of the sea from the house.  The weather looked a bit unpredictable so I quickly texted my sewing ladies, and told them the best day to do the shoot. Luckily Aileen, Sharon and her twins were able to make it. These are the results.

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I was on the beach before 9am, and the tide was out and so was the sun, gorgeous isn’t it? We had the beach to ourselves to set up, although we got a few looks from the dog walkers. We just about managed to transport all the stuff from the car, and the Gazebo went up in less than 10 minutes. The Gazebo has been a labour of love of mine, an idea I had a while back that I just had to make! I was donated some lovely blue flowery curtains, I also cut up some of my own green gingham curtains (much to my husbands dismay when he got home and the window was bare!), that with some leftover Jane Churchill fabric and a bit of IKEA and Clarke and Clarke fabric, 20 metres of fabric and a few months later the Gazebo was finished. I have lined it all as well so that it looks nice from the inside too but if you want to make one, I would suggest using a woven fabric that looks good on both sides as it is quite heavy and the frame is meant for lighter fabrics.

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Sharon, who comes to my Wednesday morning sewing classes, put up her lovely bunting that she has made. I took some pictures of my deck chairs and a little wind breaker that I made, which I lined with contrasting fabrics. Next time I might add some pockets on for stuff to stay sand free, or possibly a glass holder for the wine! Sharon is sitting in her own directors chairs that she recovered in class, using some gorgeous fabric she purchased on one of our trips to a secret fabric hoard!

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Aileen, fondly referred to as the bag lady, also from my Wednesday morning class, brought along a selection of her latest bag creations which they all modelled. This a a really successful and easy pattern that is great for swimming or sports kits. After all the setting up Sharon, Aileen and myself take a well deserved break!

Annelies, after a cold dip in the sea sports her towelling robe, which was made from a thin Primark towel and edged with some of my grandmothers cotton lace from an old tablecloth! It got a lot of use that week, and only took about one hour to make.

Next up, the twins, they made these fairy wings themselves in a class with me, from some sheer pattered fabric with simple elastic straps for their shoulders and cuffs with elastic inserted down the centre to gather the fabric. It is a very effective, quick and easy way to make fairy wings and they are washable, no wires! I think you will agree they look very fluttery!

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Now, although 11am was a little early for wine, we decided we deserved it and the girls dressed up in their aprons made from pillowcases to serve homemade cake and biscuits (and wine..). Sharon made a table from the cool box and the body boards, decorated with a tablecloth she made from some old curtains. Annelies is modelling her hoody which I embroidered with her Bambino Bobbin logo.

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We couldn’t resist this shot with the stripey beach hut! Of course Dotty Bobbin had to be etched into the sand as well before we settled down to relax whilst the kids just enjoyed the beach and our picnic.

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Once the tide was up we went back to the house and then came back down in the late afternoon, early evening for another swim in the sea!

Thank you ladies for joining me at the beach and for being a part of my sewing classes. It is lovely to make new friendships and share skills.  Hopefully this blog will show people how much fun we have at sewing, and what lovely useful things we can make, if you know how. Thank you to my parents (who entertained my son whilst we did the photo shoot), and also to my husband who secretly enjoys it all!

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Now for Christmas planning……………………………………………

How to make a fabric book cover

Hi, its me, Sam and I am going to blog about how to make a fabric book cover. I am making mine for my summer diary.

First you need to measure the length and width of your book. Close the book and use a tape measure to go round the book including the binding. You need to work out how much you want to fold over the edges to hold the book. For an A5 book you would normally fold it over about 6 cms.  Add this to your fabric measurements. Add two more cm to the length and the width to allow for a seam to sew.

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Fold over 1cm on each side of the fabric, press and sew a neat hem with a straight stitch. Start with the two long ends, then do the two shorter ends.

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Finally fold over 6 cm of the fabric on each side, pin in place, and stitch the open edges, trying to keep on top of your previous stitches so that it looks nice. Remember not to sew the opening for your book cover!

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If you would like to add a bookmark then take a piece of ribbon, or I used shoelaces, and secure to the top middle of your cover, making sure the ribbon is long enough to overlap at the bottom so you don’t lose it. If you want to add a pen holder at the side, then add 2/3cm to the length of your fabric before you cut it, depending on how thick your pen is. Then once your book cover is finished just close the cover and sew a straight line from top to bottom down the spine. I hope you have a great result!

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How to make a superhero cape

My mum told me about www.iamsupercapes.co.uk, who are making super hero capes for sick and disadvantaged children in the UK and the rest of the World. So I thought I would make one too, and show you how to do it, so you can make them at home as well.

I cut the fabric out using this pattern that my mum made, you can use the shape in the picture to make your own from newspaper.

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I put the paper on the fabric, pinned it onto the fabric and cut it out. The black rod is an iron paper weight in case you were wondering. I cut out two pieces of fabric, one for the outside and one for the inside of my cape.

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Once I cut them out, my mum embroidered a dragon on her embroidery machine. You could stitch on a piece of felt or fleece with a design instead, like a lightening bolt and things like that. You can download lots of templates on the internet to use or copy one from a book.

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Lay the fabric pieces together, good side to good side, pin them together like shown, and then stitch together, leaving a 10cm gap to turn it the right way around. Once you have stitched, zig zag both layers together on the edges, so that it doesn’t fray in the wash (remember to leave a 10cm gap with the zig zag as well).

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Turn it the right way around and press the edges flat with an iron and some steam. Turn the edges of the opening in and pin it together. Increase the length of your straight stitch on your machine to 3.5 and topstich all the way round the edge of the cape, staying 0.5mm away from the edge. I topstitched to stop the lining from sliding around and it looks nice too!

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After this I had to make a button hole using the button hole foot. If you don’t have one, you can use velcro instead, or  sew on a hook and eye. Then stitch on the button, on the other side. If you want to use your cape on both sides, then sew a button on both sides to make it look nice.

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Here is my finished cape, I loved it so much, I made another one for me to keep in blue!

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Avril Cosh Sewing Debut

Two weeks ago, my Mum and I made our way down to Hemel Hempstead, from Scotland, leaving straight after school. We arrived at Saskia’s at nine O’Clock. The next day Saskia taught us how to make pin cushions and we sewed squares together. After that we went shopping and I bought some zips, elastic and velcro.

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I have a sewing machine at home but I have only had it since my birthday last month and haven’t had much time to use it yet. On Saturday I went to one of Saskia’s sewing classes. I learned to make hair scrunchies and my Mum made herself a new bag.

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On Sunday, our last day, I made another scrunchie and two handy little make up bags with oilcloth. I learned how to put zips on, which is not too hard. My mum made a bigger bag.

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I really enjoyed the weekend sewing and have been doing more sewing since I came home. I am making a pin cushion for my friend at the moment, and hope to do lots more sewing. My Mum has made another bag and took the curtains up in my room. She also plans to make cushion covers.

Avril Cosh x


Patchwork Envelope Cushion Tutorial

Today I am going to show you how to make a patchwork cushion. Firstly you have to cut your squares. All the squares need to be the same size. It doesn’t matter what size square you use so long as they are all the same. I have used a square that is 4 1/2 inches on all sides. Next you need to zig zag all squares that you have cut. I zig zag so that the fabric doesn’t fray when we wash it. You need to try to sew the zig zag stitch close to the edge so that you can’t see it when you put it together.

Once that is done, pin your squares, two at a time, good side to good side, with the pins at a 90 degree angle. I do this so the sewing foot can hop over the pins. Sew with a straight stitch (running stitch), remembering to go forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end. Line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot when you sew.

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Then add your squares together until you have 4 in a row (unless your squares are a different size). Iron out the seams like in the picture, and then attach all your rows together. I used 12 rows. When you put your rows together, line up the corners of the individual squares so that they look nice. Pin your rows good side to good side, and then sew together, lining up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot.

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Iron your patchwork flat, before folding the edges down twice at both ends like in the picture. Sew the seam at both ends. Lay out your fabric so that it fits the cushion like the picture. Make sure it is inside out. Pin the edges together and sew the two open side seams, remembering to go forwards and backwards every time you do a straight stitch. Don’t worry if the edges don’t meet up exactly so long as your stitch line is straight and you sew from the narrowest point in a straight line so that there are no holes in your cushion. Turn it the right way around, iron it and then insert your cushion. I hope you like it, my Oma loves this one I made for her. Bambino Bobbin xx

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Bambino Bobbin Hair Scrunchie Blog

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Hello,  my name is Annelies and I am going to show you how to make a hair scrunchie (well I am making two at the same time). Firstly we measure out our fabric. I used the measurements shown above which are: 13cm wide by 50cm. After you have measured it you need to cut it out and zig zag the outside edges.

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Fold the fabric in half lengthways making sure you put the good side of the fabric next to the other good side. Then you pin the fabric together leaving about 6cm unpinned at each end.

Next you need to sew from one side of the pins to the other side using a straight stitch. Don’t forget you need to leave both ends open.

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After that you need to turn it the nice way around by turning it inside out. Then you need to pin the open ends together like shown in the picture.

Sew the two ends together where you have pinned, remembering to go forwards and backwards at the beginning and end. If you don’t go forwards and backwards your stitching will come undone in the washing machine.

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Next you need to thread some elastic on a safety pin and push the safety pin through the fabric carefully until you get to the other end. Here’s a picture of me doing it.

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Tie a knot in the elastic, checking it is the right length for you (how long you want it is up to you). Where you are left with the opening you need to tuck the good sides in and pin them together and sew the hole shut as close to the edge as possible. Ta Da! Your finished scrunchie, well done. Love  Annelies xxxx

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