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by Erin on November 14, 2008


Butterick 7649

I wish someone hadn't snapped up this pattern (from Lanetz Living) before I got to it … it's one of those ones that I want just for the illustration. The ecstatic trance that Coat Woman is in … can I have what she's having, please?

And I like that the original owner of the pattern had to re-focus attention to the actual dress illustration with the scribbled "This" — you know, since all eyes are so obviously elsewhere.

Why don't we wear these coat/dress combos any more? I know it seems a bit overkillish (or inconvenient) to have a separate coat for every dress, but I really wish I did. And that they were weightless and massless, so that I could cram them all into my suitcase. Now that the weather's gotten colder my packing is always dependent on whatever coat I can take that will go with everything in my suitcase … and nothing ever does.

I am currently searching for a green leather coat, which I think (ha!) will go with everything I ever wear. I want a single-breasted green leather vintage coat with a slightly frock-coaty vibe, and as far as I can tell, this Does Not Exist. (If you've seen one, you know where to find me.) Green goes with black AND brown AND gray AND the darker reds and oranges that I like, and leather can be dressy or sporty (and doesn't show dirt as much). And if it's vintage, of course, it has that kind of beat-up, broken-in cool … oh, why can't I find you, Perfect Coat?

The square neckline with the kimono sleeves is also wonderful, isn't it? The little tucks really make it special. Too bad they're hidden under the coat …

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen November 14, 2008 at 10:07 am

i agree on the square neck with kimono sleeves. that’s a nice look. my sympathies on the lack-of-awesome-coat dilemma. I guess though I miss having seasons it’s one benefit to living in LA – good luck!

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Myra November 14, 2008 at 10:07 am

I’m first?! Cool, and cool pattern. Good luck finding the vintage coat. Wait, that’s why you (we) sew, to try to have what we want. Do you want to undertake an adventure like that?

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Sold A Moke November 14, 2008 at 10:19 am

Love the whole ensemble. Never shop for modern patterns so even if they started making coat/dress combo patterns I’d never know it. My favorite era doesn’t do combos anyhow.

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Samurai Mom November 14, 2008 at 10:53 am

I must have that ensemble! The dress and matching coat – perfection. I even love the brick red color if not the yellow stripes.

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Amy B. November 14, 2008 at 11:03 am

I love watching old Doris Day films just so I can see what gorgous outfit she shows up in next. Her coats always matched her dresses. They never showed her closet though. I’m thinking because it would have to be a mother in law cottage behind the house that had been turned into the closet.

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Renee November 14, 2008 at 11:23 am

You know, sewing with ultraleather, pleather or real leather is pretty easy. You might think about it – the chance to make that ‘perfect’ coat with just the right lapels, pockets, etc. I love this whole ensemble pictured – but seems hard to do without the hat. And hats are as rare as gloves these days.

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Lydia November 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

Wasn’t this one of the patterns Butterick reissued? If not this one, there was one very close. I’ll look when I get home. If they did print it, and I have it, it’s yours.

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Lisa Simeone November 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

I, too, love the whole late ’50s – early ’60s matching dress/coat combo. So elegant! Erin, Barrie Pace sometimes has these, believe it or not. I know that sometimes BP can be too mother-of-the-bride, but they also carry beautiful, younger things. I’ve bought many gorgeous clothes from them over the years, in stunning fabrics, including exactly one such heavenly floral silk combo (which I returned, alas, in a moment of frugality, but which I still think of). Give them a try. Also Tracy Porter, for unusual, colorful, patterned, and sometimes leather coats. (Also agree with fabricgirl on the pleather possibility.)

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Cookie November 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

The woman in the coat ensemble had all her senses awakened by something a busboy mistakenly dropped in her dessert at Schrafft’s. She’s now stumbled upon a street reggae band and is groovin’ on the sounds, and the wind off the park. Later, she will charge $1,900 worth of hats at Lilly Dache and not remember it.

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vespabelle November 14, 2008 at 11:31 am

I swear that this is one of the patterns that Butterick re-issued in their retro series. It looks so familiar, I’m sure I’ve had it in my stash at one point.I too like the green leather. I was seriously considering some green boots from Boden.

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Anonymous November 14, 2008 at 11:40 am

Cookie: HA HA HA! Love that!-Sandra

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La BellaDonna November 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I’m seriously considering green boots from Urban Outfitters! They’re green, they’re knee-high, what’s not to love?Erin, I too seem to have a coat fetish. Alarmingly, it’s been expressing itself in shearling – now THAT’S a bulky preference. Shearling, how I love thee, warming me when stormy winds do blow … I have: olive (below hip); brown ditto; black ditto; burgundy waist-length; brownish-black ditto; what may be a navy fur sheep (it’s hair, rather than curls) with a hood, mid-thigh length; and black ankle-length (3 of these are new). Also? Ebay, how I love thee, source of cheap sheep! God bless the 1980s, and the (OTHER) women who swear they’ll never wear 80s coats and jackets again! Speaking of eBay, Erin, I swear I saw your green coat within the last two weeks, possibly even from one of your advertisers. You’re what, a modern 10? I remember you as being around that size.I collect coat patterns, when I can – fitted coat patterns. Folkwear FINALLY has the Poiret coat out again! I could make colourful coats forever, I love them so. I have a burgundy/red brocaded velvet waiting to be a coat, and a gold Ottoman brocade.Lisa Simeone, I wish I had the life to go with the Barrie Pace catalogs! Some of that stuff is so pretty – and elegant.La BellaDonna’s Sneaky Sewing Tricks: If you find a fabulous jacket pattern, get out the brown paper and your trusty yardstick – there is NO REASON why you can’t turn a fabulous jacket which you love into a coat by extending the bottom! Maybe you want one of those sharp knee-length/mid-calf length coats for a trouser suit, but you’re too curvy for what’s sold in the stores? Take a jacket pattern that works for you and lengthen it! Behold: a pantsuit that does NOT make you look like an FBI agent!

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joni November 14, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I think this might be the Butterick pattern everyone is thinking of:http://www.butterick.com/item/B5189.htm??tab=dressespage=4It doesnt seem to be a vintage re-issue but it could be very, very fabulous in the right fabrics.My plan is to make that coat, wear it with skinny pants and ballet flats, and swan about town calling people Dahling.

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Jen ~ MOMSPatterns November 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm

I JUST listed a McCalls 4631 sheath dress coat ensemble pattern today at the MOMSPatterns store.. (dont forget to use the dressaday coupon to save 10% if you like-y!)I love them when the coat is lined with the dress fabric and matches SO prettily; but then youre kinda stuck always wearing them together, arent you? Or have I no vision?!

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Not a Knitter November 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm

I love the coat/dress combo, too…almost as much as I like the robe/dress combo. I’m part of a Harry Potter club at my uni and whenever we make outfits for our Yule Ball with sewing club, we have a wonderful time sewing sheer overobes to wear over our dresses. Oh, why can’t cloaks and robes come back into style?

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evalyn November 14, 2008 at 1:51 pm

But . . . if you had a coat like that, lined with a contrast/cooridinated fabric, you could then have a dress to go with each, so you would hav two outfits, three pieces to pack, six pieces for four outfits. Black or gray coat with white or beige lining would go with how many things??? I think it’s a great look, elegant and timeless.

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kathleenCrowleyCostumeCouture November 14, 2008 at 2:02 pm

What a fantastic illustration!

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the_lazymilliner November 14, 2008 at 2:18 pm

I especially love the McCall patterns from the 1940s that have the models wearing hats. They just look so superb!

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john November 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm

there is a breeze blowing- that is why she is holding onto her hat-and the scent of orange blossoms on that breeze remind her of the night that …

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Nadia November 14, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Oo! I have that coat in a reddish brown. It is indeed the best coat in the world. With a removable lining! Living in Vancouver, it is my rain coat and best friend.I got mine at Value Village for ten bucks — I know! Crazy, huh? — but that was a decade ago. All the cute 70s stuff seems to be rarer and rarer…

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lucitebox November 14, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Love the dress coat combos of yore, too! I am in search of the perfect vintage green leather bag. I haven’t found it yet, so I suspect coat might be even more difficult. Cookie–you’re the best.

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Lisa Simeone November 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm

To Not a Knitter, I think I may have just the thing (you were requesting sheer robe-type things): Gossamer Long Shirt from Tracy Porter. No, really, I’m not a shill for this company, even though this is the second time I’m mentioning it. But I lusted after this gorgeous sheer Renaissance-looking shirt for the longest time, but refused to pay $225 for it (Tracy Porter’s great, but most of her stuff, though unusual and beautiful, is overpriced IMO). So I waited for a promotion of 40% off plus free shipping, and voil, it’s now mine. I’ve already worn the heck out of it and only recently got it. I love it! (And I spent only 25 bucks on velvet pants from Soft Surroundings, bypassing TP’s overpriced ones entirely.) Perhaps it will fit in with your Harry Potteresque parties:http://www.tracyporter.com/Gossamer-Long-Shirt-p-17712.html

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CatMacGregor November 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm

You can also find this pattern at So Vintage Patterns.Cheers!http://www.sovintagepatterns.com/catalog/item/4464266/5570630.htm

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wundermary November 14, 2008 at 4:39 pm

I love these coordinated looks, too. I’ve always liked the look of the slim dress with the full over skirt with coordinated lining that was popular at this time, also. You could easily do a wardrobe with dresses in coordinated colors and the overcoat. It would look great with all of the colors of the dresses done as a strip of squares at the bottom of the coat lining.I think the design was intended to be a bit coy with a built-in surprise factor. Whether that be the great figure, the dress details and / or the lining that is concealed beneath the coat. It is a sort of drama and sophistication that doesn’t really exist in day wear anymore and it really does require a hat.

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Jen November 14, 2008 at 5:08 pm

This kimono style coat isn’t that hard to create an original pattern for (in your size, regardless of your measurements).I show a kimono coat pattern draft in my article on Bonnie Cashin (http://www.sewnmagazine.com/SEWNcashin2.html). The original Cashin coat photo shows a silhouette that is more “A” line than the coat in this pattern today. That draft could easily be cut more slender to achieve this earlier coat silhouette. Many of these coats were actually 2 identical coats: 1 solid, 1 print, sewn together around the edges, so they might be reversable.Go ahead, it’s not that hard to do, and you will be creating a true original!

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Zoltar Panaflex November 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Because I know the kind of diet my gmother was on for decades to have a tiny waist, the coat-model is probably hallucinating, inanition from months with no food.My grandmother seemed to not put together the monster headaches she used to get when she was dieting. She had diets where she ate nothing but a small cup of beef broth and a tablespoon of Karo syrup or some insanity.She gave me all her cookbooks at one point, she had all these crazy diet plans glued inside the covers next to recipes for brownies and cakes.A 50′s waistline was a constant struggle, apparently. Or as she put it “I was in a bad mood for 30 years!”

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Jen November 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Theyre not leather or vintage, but Lands end has microfiber coats in olive-y green, some with zip-out insulated liners. Theyre a little plain, but they have pockets inside out. I have one in purple.

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Cookie November 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Because I know the kind of diet my gmother was on for decades to have a tiny waist, the coat-model is probably hallucinating, from months with no food. Oh god…that is such a real possibility, poor thing. Maybe her scalp shrank from dieting, too, and now she feels her hat loosening and blowing away!

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Anonymous November 14, 2008 at 8:07 pm

I was lucky to find this pattern recently at a Habitat for Humanity store for 50 cents. I have yet to make it, but now suddenly seem inspired to do so! I love watching old 50′s movies to see all the beautiful clothes. Just watched Niagra for the 3 time and still in awe of the great wardrobe Ms. Monroe had. Wiggle skirts anyone!? How sexy is that?Jilly

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Caity November 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

And you know, for us curvy girls, a dress and coat ensemble is THE recommended look to flatter us the most! *swwwwwwwwwooooooooooooooons* over this pattern and must go have a nice cuppa, a Bex, and a good lie down…. (Aussies will get that one!)

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3KillerBs November 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm

The ensemble idea has always intrigued me, but the idea of not one but MANY new coats every year seems completely untenable. Perhaps it was only one coordinated coat for your Sunday best or your “going to the city” outfit?The diagram of the back indicates that when the wind stops that coat would hang like a sack. Its completely unshaped.Artistic license is a wonderful thing. :D

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Jess November 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Oh, a green coat! For years I thought my dream coat was a midnight blue swing coat with princess sleeves and a Peter Pan collar… and I found it one day, in an enormous billboard ad inside a store that had just sold the last one.I was devastated. I wore my old black duffle all through winter, the stripy lining eventually disintegrating and an orphan-esque hole appearing at my elbow. Until! One night I was aimlessly browsing through ebay listings, and found the magical coat – not my dream coat, but someone else’s. Pickle-green mohair with a big turned-over collar, self-matched, enormous buttons, straight to the knee and the perfect size. The icing on the cake was the little tuft of cherry fox sewn onto the collar, and the chocolate silk lining, not falling apart at all.Somebody had loved that coat. Now it’s all I wear – as good for translucent skin and bottle-dyed auburn curls as midnight blue, and so much hairier. I love mohair. I bought it towards the end of a Melbourne winter, and though the temperature is pushing 30 now I still throw it over a wiggle dress, silk ballet flats and bobby socks in the evening and pretend I’m not sweltering just the teeniest bit.So yeah. The perfect coat you find may not be the one you envisaged, but if you keep an open mind you may find a perfectly suited second skin fresh out of somebody else’s imagination.Also, green is marvellous.The end.

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Anonymous November 15, 2008 at 2:26 am

I wear a green leather coat, and you’re right; it goes with *everything*.I found it a year ago in camden where at least three shops were selling the same one (and various other styles), so by now people should have tired of their own.. have you checked ebay uk?

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Mrs. Grackle November 15, 2008 at 7:35 am

I made this coat! Mine is a mid-weight dark red and black vintagey Hawaiian barkcloth (bought in Kauai) with a dark green lining. I LOVE THIS COAT.

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Anonymous November 15, 2008 at 7:38 am

There is a dress in the plus-size section of this November’s Burda WOF that has a very similar shoulder design to this vintage pattern. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the instructions, but it will look great in stretch velvet, all those tucks and pleats.

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jenny November 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Butterick did in fact reissue this pattern; I have it in my stash somewhere. I’ll look it up today and post the pattern number.

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jenny November 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Found it! Butterick 6632, and dated 1956. Same picture and everything.

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Beth from Upstate NY November 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm

There is a pretty green leather jacket, with pleats below the waist at coldwatercreek.com, item #EH2-6920. No, I am not associated with this company. I just received their catalog immediately after reading your blog.

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Kate November 15, 2008 at 6:46 pm

No, it’s the hat that has her mind in a whirl! So glorious especially on a breezy day. Why not make your dream coat. Lots of easy coat patterns out there. Love green. I have two green coats.K Q:-)

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andapanda November 16, 2008 at 3:01 am

In the late 80′s I wore a green suede swing coat. I loved it!! And it went with everything.Years of wear and I turned it into a King Henry cloak for a Theatre production. Gad-Zooks I miss that coat! Andrea

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frog November 16, 2008 at 3:21 am

Well, if I find that green leather jacket you describe…sorry, but i’m keeping it!I also would love this pattern – I’m starting to get rather picky about what goes with which outfit. Which is awful when you don’t have the time to sew everything you see in your head.

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Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 9:55 am

For Anon who likes marylin dresses – and anyone who doesn’t have time to sew!!http://www.bigbeautifulbarbarabrown.com/and check out the marylin section!(no, I don’t work for them and am still saving up to buy from them!)

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Rachel November 16, 2008 at 2:05 pm

I love it, but if I need a coat I don’t like to go out in a dress/skirt with the wind going up there and freezing my rear off. :P

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Rachel November 16, 2008 at 2:05 pm

I love it, but if I need a coat I don’t like to go out in a dress/skirt with the wind going up there and freezing my rear off. :P

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andrea.at.the.blue.door November 16, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Made in silk fabrics this would be a good transition ensemble for autumn/spring. It would also pack down to almost nothing.You could do the Chanel thing and make the dress and coat lining a print and the outer fabric of the coat a solid.

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KC November 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I was going to tell you about the Butterick re-issue in the 90s, but your Alert Readers beat me to it! Hope you find one. The cover is grand.

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Myra November 17, 2008 at 6:10 am
Kate November 18, 2008 at 9:26 am

Now, see, I was *considering* doing a whole collection of coats and dresses for my final project at college, then I decided it was a silly idea, and now you’ve got all these people saying they love coat/dress combos and I’m all confused again!

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AuntieShel November 18, 2008 at 9:51 am

I, too, think that Butterick reissued this one; sadly, I don’t have it. I love your weightless and massless idea for coats. I love coats!!! I have fond memories of my mom making my sister and I new Easter dresses with matching lightweight wool coats in green and yellow. And I used to have a green leather jacket (operating words–”used to have”) way back a million years ago when I was a teenager and too young to appreciate it, I’m sure. Hope you find one, let us know.

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La BellaDonna November 18, 2008 at 10:58 am

sold a moke – what’s your era preference? I’ve seen coat-and-dress combos for many different periods; perhaps we can find one for yours!Kate, I think your coat/dress collection is a FABULOUS idea, if it fits within the parameters of your requirements – people need them, and a lot of us hate what’s available. And if you do a wedding dress/coat as the finale piece, it could be a smash!Secret Wish: I would love to produce a line of wedding and evening wraps! How’s that for practical? I’ve seen shivering brides and bridesmaids, though, and I know one bride who wore trashbags -yes, Heftys – because she had no coat that fit over her wedding dress.

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Kate November 18, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Oh La Belladonna, now that’s just painful… because… I was actually thinking of doing a range that is secretly (secret because my tutors are all male and deeply anti-bridal) modern-day bridalwear (my degree is bespoke tailoring, so it’s within the parameters as far as I’m concerned if it’s made of wool). Having been obsessed with bridalwear for the past 10 years or so, I’m really, really bored of the long white dress, but there are very few other options, especially for winter weddings. So how about some tailored coats and dresses with a bit of colour and drama thrown in? It could work!That’s really sad about the Hefty bags. I Googled bridal coat/winter wedding not long ago and the choices are dismal. I’m sure someone’s missing a trick here! It seems such an easy add-on to me (there’s a word the fashion retailers use for it but I can’t remember what it is) – winter bride, in bridal shop, offered a range of coats or wraps… guaranteed sale nine times out of 10 I’d think.

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Pink of Perfection November 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

is it boring just to say that you crack me, as usual. i like imagining the woman’s state of mind who drew that arrow, like, “must not be seduced by the state of rapture! must focus of practical dress!” erin, you slay me.

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Anonymous November 25, 2008 at 4:57 pm

I went hunting for a Burda pattern similar to this just because I wanted to make a matching coat/dress outfit. I first saw it on Audrey Hepburn, but the image I can never get out of my head is Barbara Streisand suddenly turning around to face some guy in some movie, and her coat elegantly flares open, to reveal the lining is identical to the adorable flowered dress she is wearing. I want that look.

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Anonymous November 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Wups, sorry, New Look 6736 not Burda!

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