Completed: Leopard Skinnies

21 Jan

I never thought I would actually be saying this – but I made myself a pair of leopard skinnies. Wheee!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Grey leopard is a neutral… right?!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I’m trying to get more into wearing pants that aren’t, well, denim. As much as I love my I+W jeans (so much, in fact, that I went out and bought myself a second pair a couple of weeks ago. I’m bordering on “collector” at this point, eep), sometimes I find myself gazing jealously at the girls in their wacky print leggings and purple skinny jeans. NO FAIR, I WANT TO JOIN THAT PARTY. So when I saw this leopard print stretch twill at the Mood Fabrics site, I knew I’d found the perfect piece for a lil’ toe-dipping.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

This twill is pretty awesome, honestly. It’s got a nice stretch, but it’s hefty enough so you don’t see panty lines (a must with pants this tight… and I don’t wear thongs. TMI? Oh well. Maybe you need magical undie-covering fabric too!). The lycra content keeps the seam allowances from shedding too much – which is good, cos this pattern had me going crazy over the fitting, 1″ seam allowances and everything. Not a good time to start unraveling!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Since the twill is a brushed cotton, it’s even a little bit fuzzy. Love it!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used McCall 6440. This pattern is… ok. The fitting was a pain in the ASS, pardon the pun, mostly because the pattern has way too much ease. I’ve actually made these up one time before (but it’s ~top secret~ so you can’t see those quite yet… oops I’ve said too much already ;)), so I knew kinda sorta what I was getting into. The main issue with sewing something out of stretch fabric is that every fabric has a different stretch factor (well, maybe not *every* fabric, but there are certainly enough differences to keep one guessing!), so you generally end up doing some tweaking to get the pieces to look right, in addition to going down a size or two to make up for the negative ease.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These are a size 6, with some additional tapering taken out at the legs and the waistband. FWIW, the body size for a 6 is supposed to have a 23″ waist. While I can assure you that I do not have a waist that small, I did have to take an extra inch out of the waistband to get it to fit. See what I mean about excessive ease? Measure those pattern pieces, folks! Don’t trust the lies of McCall.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I know, this pattern is super duper similar to the Clover pants from Colette, which is another pattern I have. I ended up with this one because I’ve never really gotten those Clovers to fit right, despite all my tweaking a couple of years ago. I wanted to try a new pattern, and I liked that this is a Palmer/Pletsch – I love their fitting books Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People, so I was banking that I’d love the pattern, too! And I guess I kind of did, minus that ease thing. For one, the crotch curve is pretty much perfect for me – something of a Holy Grail among pants sewists. That Clover pattern, not so much πŸ™‚ (but maybe it’ll be perfect for you!). I also liked how high the waist is, the seam down the back of the legs (that you can’t see because it’s ~camouflaged~ by the leopard, ooh, see what I did there?), and the leg options included with the pattern. Spoiler alert – I went for the straight leg, but maybe I’ll experiment more in the future! Baby steps for now, starting with this outta control print. Oh yeah, and just an advance warning – these were exactly the right length for me, and I’m 5’2″! Tall ladies, beware!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Speaking of how high the waist is – see what I mean!? I don’t think this is supposed to reach *quite* as high as it does on my petite frame, but the waistband just covers my belly button. Which means, obviously, I’m gonna be Bettie Pagin’ the shit out of these with heels and a crop top come spring, yaaay!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Whenever I post a photo of myself wearing something with a ridiculously high waist, someone always inevitably comes out of the woodwork to tell me that my outfit isn’t flattering. So, here I am, brushing the dirt off my shoulder in advance because la la la I don’t care!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Like I said, I had to adjust the leg seams to get everything as fitted as it is. Not to say the leg width of this pattern is bad – it’s just more straight than what I wanted for these pants. I wanted to be able to tuck them into boots! Since the pattern is drafted with 1″ seam allowances on all side/leg seams, this made things a tiny bit difficult once it came time to start poking myself with pins – those seam allowances get bulky when you’re sewing something like twill!

What I ended up doing was just focusing on one leg – pinning, basting, fitting, and then stitching the final line once I got to the desired tightness. To mirror the second leg, rather than taking measurements or repinning, this is what I did- I learned this trick at my stint with Muna!:

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

First, I stacked my legs on top of one another and pinned along the seam lines, making sure they matched on the opposite side.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Then, with the adjusted leg on top, I pinned along the new stitching line I had created.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

When you flip the fabric over, you can see the pinned original seam line and the new seam line marked by a second row of pins. Make sense?

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

From there, I just connected the pin lines with a my handy marking tool, which gave me a new stitching line. Super easy, and now both legs exactly mirror each other!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These pants are finished with serged seam allowances and an invisible zipper. Speaking of which – I learned a slightly different way to insert an invisible zip, also courtesy of Muna. Anyone interested in a tutorial? It’s not OMGSODIFFERENT, but there are a couple of tweaks that make insertion practically flawless.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

One thing that made me irrationally happy was that the fabric is lightweight enough so I could face my waistband with self-fabric, instead of trying to find a matching cotton. As much as I like contrasty facings, I also like matchy-matchy!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Not sure what I was thinking when this photo snapped, but it looks like a roar so we’ll leave it at that.

Finally, we have a winner Andi Satterlund knitting patterns giveaway! Before I drop that bomb, I just gotta say… that was by far the biggest response I’ve ever had to a giveaway. Who woulda thunk I’d have so many knitters who follow this blog and love Andi as much as I do? πŸ™‚ Thanks y’all – I appreciate every single one of you! Wish I could give you all patterns, too, but unfortunately I’m not that rich… yet πŸ™‚

Anyway, without further ado – who’s the lucky number today?



Yay, congratulations, Alexandra! Expect an email from me with how to collect your prize – I can’t wait to see how your sweaters turn out πŸ™‚

Thanks to everyone who participated, and big huge thanks to Andi for providing the big prize πŸ™‚ For everyone who didn’t win – Perhaps I can entice you with one of Andi’s many freebies?


70 Responses to “Completed: Leopard Skinnies”

  1. Aubrey (@Aubreyland325) January 21, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    OMG you are rocking those pants! Wish I could pull off a wild print like that on bottom… I’m more adventurous on top. And that just sounded super dirty. You’re welcome.

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      lol this comment explains exactly why I love you πŸ™‚

  2. yosami January 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Ha, Ha! Nice comment Aubrey! How do I follow that!

    Great, flattering pants and nice spoiler! Let the games begin!

    Oh and that invisible zip tut would be welcomed, thanks in advance!

  3. Paige January 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I have on purple skinny jeans I made today! So your comment about them made me crack up. These are amazing!! I need them!

  4. David January 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    They look great and that’s the only way I could contemplate making leopard trousers for myself, with black & white prints!

  5. ebonyh January 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Amazing! I’ve looked at that pattern several times & always thought thatβ€”while I’m sure the instructions would be awesomeβ€”it just looked too…mumsy. Leave it to you to turn that pattern out! And yes, I think everyone agrees that leopard is totally a neutral. Also, let’s take a moment to admire how cute your bangs are, srsly.

  6. LinB January 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Your definition of “ridiculously high waistband” sounds like my definition “finally, a waistband that actually comes up to my waist”! I think that any color of leopard counts as a neutral. Well, maybe not hot pink … let me think about that.

  7. Teri January 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    The pants look great! I would love to see the invisible zipper tutorial. I am so not good at them.

  8. craftsanctuary January 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    YES LEOPARD PANTS! Totally a neutral–especially with some neutral red amirite?? And, can I just say that I love all of your rediculously high-waisted looks? I think they are SUPER flattering and awesome and are one of the things I like best about your style πŸ™‚

  9. Jenny January 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm #


  10. misscrayolacreepy January 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    All leopard print is a neutral according to me! haah. I love these pants!!!!!

  11. Gjeometry January 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Oh, you finished them!! Rock and roll, they look fantastic. But, whaaaaa with the ease?? I am making an almost identical pattern for my stretch twill pants (although it is Butterick and an older pattern) and was going to make the size 6 (the smallest size) but now I think they may be huge, esp. since my pattern is not for stretch fabric. I don’t know, it’s making me think I should use a pattern specifically for stretch woven as it would be sized more appropriately. Also, I’m trying to tell from the pics, but did you the version with the hem side slits? That’s the version I was going to do, and wondered if the slit would flay open when you walked? From your pics, it looks like maybe you didn’t use this version though.

    • Gjeometry January 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      That should say ‘splay’ not ‘flay’. Auto-correct is not my friend.

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      These are actually drafted for stretch wovens! I think it’s just one of those patterns where they err on the side of large, which I hate. Bleh! Although I guess most people would feel better making something that ended up too big than too small, ha. My version is just the plain ol’ straight leg (no slit, no zip, no cuff), but I want to try the slits eventually!

      • Gjeometry January 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

        I think I”m going to go ‘slit’ for my trousers (that does not sound quite right), but am pretty convinced my pattern is going to be far too big for the stretch woven. Shucks.

  12. Rochelle New January 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    I just want to send out a face slap in advance to anyone who says you look “unflattered” in these pants. Or anything for that matter! Come on, people.

    I looooooove brushed cotton twill sooooooo much! I just finished a skirt in micro brushed cotton twill and it’s funny how much nicer it looks compared to regular ol’ twill. It’s like a luxury upgrade lol

    Love your pants and CAN’T WAIT to see what you’re making for Project Sewn!


    • Juanita November 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      The places where clothes cut across the body should cross at the smallest part on that area of the body or close enough. Your waistband cuts in at the right place giving you an hour glass figure. Perfect. You also have the golden third going for you, your top is 1/3 and the bottom is 2/3. It is when you color block 1/3rd, 1/3rd,1/3rd that the figure looks bulky. Great job.

  13. Michelle Martini January 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    I’ve fitted the crap out of the Clovers and can’t get them right, so I may have to try this pattern. In leopard. Obviously. Because it’ll be impossible for me to see them any other way now. They are awesome. (And I can’t wait to see the β€œtop secret” version!)

  14. Wendy January 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Awesome pants!
    A big vote, YES PLEASE for the invisible zipper tute πŸ™‚

  15. Sandra January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Looks great, and totally a neutral!

  16. Sabine January 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Awesome pants, you totally roar them!

  17. Lisette January 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    People are ridiculous. If ever there was a figure that was meant for a high waist, its yours! And even if it isn’t, its not their place to say so!

  18. Denise January 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Invisible zipper tutorial? YES.

  19. johanna@projects by me January 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Really like the high waist. Although leopard print is not for me, you totally rock those trousers!!! And I’m super interested in a tute about invisible zipper insertion!

  20. Kate January 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    I was about to say that when you pulled your shirt up the pants had a very flattering line. You look longer and your lines form a nice composition. Stuff all the people with rules.

  21. Becky January 21, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    I really like high waist pants for the most part. Do people think that muffin top makes you look good? NOT. Someone needs to tell these gurls that although low rise pants are in “fashion”, they only look good on lean women who mind that they look like they don’t have a waist. Just sayin. These pants are fabulous on you.

  22. ronidawn January 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    I love your top! Lol. Is it a Renfrew? Thanks!

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

      Yep, it’s a Renfrew made with wool knit. I love it!

      • ronidawn January 21, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

        I have never spent more than $8 on pattern so I’ve been trying to resist but you might have just pushed me over the edge! If my husband says we can’t afford it can I send him your way? Lol. Thanks!

        • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

          It’s like three patterns in one, though! Tell him that hahaha!! πŸ˜‰

          • ronidawn January 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

            Just sent him a screenshot of your response. Lol. We’ll see what he says!

  23. Abigail January 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Yay! they look great. And just because I can, I’m going to tell you that high wasted pants are really, really AWESOME. and they make legs look longer so if you’re petite, there you go. πŸ™‚

  24. Rachal January 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Love the pants! And I’d love a tute- who doesn’t love new sewing tips????

  25. Rachel January 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Oh man I’m so intimidated by making pants, but these look great! And yeah I’d love a zipper tutorial, I always seem to have random problems no matter how many times I do it. πŸ˜›

  26. Trice January 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    In that one photo, are you trying to entice us with your animal crotch curve?

    As I am not a fan of animals prints really, I bet these pants will look hawt in with pumps. Please instagram that when it happens. The fit is damn good.

    Would love to for you to share your new invisible zipper method.

  27. Bec Stitches January 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    You could never look unflattering mate, haters be jealous πŸ˜‰

  28. poldapop January 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    Very cool! I love the high waist and the print – hope you post a photo with the heels! Thanks for the tip on transferring marks from one leg to another and YES PLEASE on the zipper tutorial!!

  29. sewamysew January 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    They are totes similar to the Clover, I really want to have another crack at them. You’re so right fitting them is not easy.

    Yes please to invisible zip tute! Anything to make those little buggers easier. You look fierce is these.

  30. Kyle January 21, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    LOVE those pants! I *love* pants & skirts that are at the waist and it’s so hard to find patterns like that. And it just so happens that BMV is having a sale right now!

  31. Meg Kundert January 21, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    Love the high waist. One of the reasons I started sewing again is that I was tired of finding only low low riders in the stores. The pendulum is swinging back though. These make you look long and lean. Not sure about the pattern photo though; not very flattering.

  32. Jo January 21, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Agreed- don’t trust those scallywags mccalls, I made another of their perfect fit patterns (a knit dress-just posted my 2nd version of it actually! Yay tried and trues…but I digress). Anyway my point is they had 4″ positive ease in the waist… For a knit dress. Weirdos! Anyway your pants are fabulous. So awesome! And nice tip about matching seams! πŸ™‚ so jealous of your rockin skills heh!

  33. Shannon D. January 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    Great pants! Thanks for the excellent tip on mirroring the adjustment and yes please for the zipper tutorial!

  34. maddie January 21, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Who says that you don’t look good in high waisted garments? I think these jeans look awesome, and I personally like a higher fitting pant/skirt. It prevents plumbers crack and muffin tops πŸ™‚

  35. Nancy K January 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m a sucker for an animal print and these are just about perfect. They look great on you.

  36. katemcivor January 21, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Hi Lauren — I blogged about how high-waisted but well-fitting these McCall’s pants are too! Haha! here is the link:

  37. Sarah Kate Creations January 22, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    Gry leopard print is my favorite. The only kind I wear actually. Love that fabric, it sounds fun and funky, but also kinda cozy because of the texture.

  38. Alexandra January 22, 2014 at 3:08 am #

    I won =) oh I’m so happy! Thank you!
    …love your leo-pants =)

  39. sallie January 22, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    These are super awesome! Yay for leopard high waisted skinnies! And I totally could have used your snazzy pin-through-both-legs trick this weekend when I was hacking away at a stupidly too large pants pattern (grrr… why so much ease you guys???)

  40. oonaballoona January 22, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    maaaaAAAAAAAAAH GIMMIE THESE!!!! i may have tried a pair of pain in the ass fitted pants as well. but you didn’t hear it from me.

  41. Kelly January 22, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    They look great! I’ve been working on a basic pants pattern for, omg, a year now, and the stretch/drape factor in fabrics is really throwing me for a loop. Just when I think I’ve got the pattern figured out, a different fabric comes along and it’s not right at all. I guess it’s all a learning experience…

  42. Sandra January 22, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Great pants, look amazing on you, love the print.

  43. Sandra January 22, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Yes on the invisible zip tutorial

  44. Emma January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    I was just looking at this pattern! Thanks for the info, and I definitely agree with you about McCall’s measurement funny business. I will definitely be lengthening these if I decide to make a pair.

  45. sewbecause January 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    These look great on you- I think very flattering, the high waist is such a cute style! Great job fitting!

  46. Krista Marie January 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Wow! Anyone who thinks high-waisted pants are unflattering on you needs their eyes checked! You totally rock this look!

    And “yes, please!” to the invisible zip tute. πŸ™‚ They’re the only kind of zip I have done and I love them. Any sneaky little tips would be most welcome!

  47. June January 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    “ROAR” indeed! Rock those pants! And yes please to the tutorial.

    Btw, and I hate to burst your bubble, but lot of the giveaway entries may have been due to a site like Giveaway Scoop (the likes of which I’d never heard of until I read this: I’ve seen others that hold a giveaway with the caveat that the person must have commented on another blog entry within the past 6 months to qualify, so that filters out the casual nonreader entries.

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Eh, I don’t mind if i have fly-by-night readers entering my giveaways – I mean, yeah, it kinda sucks, but I’ve also done it myself in the past! I don’t like to put weird rules on my giveaways, like making them follow or like a page. I just like sharing the love, and since the winner had to look up what patterns they wanted in order to win, I know they are getting something they love πŸ™‚

  48. Virginia January 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    I think waist high trousers can be quite flattering, it’s just that we tend to associate them with people who need a bit more holding in. It’s like how horizontal and vertical stripes are alternately considered flattering purely due to our associations.

  49. sewingonpins January 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    I’m hoping to revisit pants in the next couple of weeks, and omg so happy with your suggestions on mirroring the leg alterations! The ones I was working on were way too wide, and while I had one leg nearly trimmed down, I dreaded trying to copy it on the second leg. YAY!

    Granted, they are just boring denim pants, not a skinny or leopard print to be found (although there is a bit of polkadot pocket bag and grey lace involved somewhere). These really are fantastic, and I wish I were that daring to pull them off! I hear you on the whole ‘sick of jeans’ thing. I just bought myself a pair of cotton pants in a fine plaid, and wow that’s just opened the pants doorway (zipper?) for me! πŸ˜€ Might be time to branch out!

    Although probably not to leopard print. I’ll leave that for more stylish women like you and Oona! I’d keep your eye on those pants if she’s around, I’m pretty sure they’ll be gone otherwise. πŸ˜‰

  50. Craftastrophies January 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    They look so rad!

    I hate the ‘that’s unflattering’ thing because 1) who cares 2) it’s none of their business and 3) it’s just a different look than we’re used to seeing. ‘Flattering’ is such code for ‘making you look as thin an hourglassy as possible’, so something can look great without being ‘flattering’. Personally I love the high waisted look, but even if I didn’t, who cares what I think! You like it and that’s what counts.

    I have been really loving all the patterned pants I’ve been seeing on the blogosphere lately! I basically gave up on RTW pants a few years ago because it was just too frustrating to find a fit, but now I have enough sewing confidence that maybe I’ll sew a pair! Probably too late to be on trend but oh well.

    I always love a good tutorial. If you have time to do one, I would love to read it! That transferring seamlines tip is very nifty – seems obvious once you know but I would never have thought of it!

  51. Sara January 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    I fink your pants look amazing! I don’t have the kahunas to wear printed pants, BUT I did see a pair of navy w orange flower ankle grazers at a local chain store that piqued my interest… If you want a great pants pattern for stretch jeans type pants, then try Named Patterns Jaimie jeans. I made a pair, and the fit was great, other than hacking off the bottom of the legs, and re-doing the waistband. They’re skinny enough that I can wear them inside boots, even with my enormous calves.

  52. Kim January 23, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    I love your skinnies! They look super cute (and flattering) on you! I’d also love a tutorial, alway happy to learn new tricks.. Was that a project sewn spoiler??

  53. Casey January 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Love these so much!!! I have some grey leopard skinnies from a few years ago (a rare “quality” fid at Forever 21) that I like, but hate the usual lower waistline (I prefer at the waist or slightly above, even if that puts me firmly in the Granny Category). I’m going to have to check that pattern out; I have some awesome stretch European import denim I bought before I got pregnant (and wasn’t too excited about sewing maternity clothes) that is screaming to be made into some skinny schmexy jeans. πŸ˜‰ Btw: I never could get the Clover pattern to work for me either–as many times as I tried and fussed and fussed with them. I eventually gave up; I think my bottom half is just too curvy. :-p

  54. Sweet Little Chickadee January 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    These are awesome and you definitely can pull them off! Leopard-print and high-waisted retro style included! Haters are going to hate on everything, it’s dumb, don’t listen to them. Anyway, you’ve totally sold me, I want a pair of these in my closet stat. I couldn’t pull them off like you do but I mean wow, they are Just. So. Cool. Amazing job with the fit too! That’s such an intimidating thing with pants. I haven’t sewn any yet… well, minus a semi-disatourous, un-blogged pair of Iris Shorts. Eeeek.

  55. Miss Demeanour January 24, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    These are gorgeous and yes leopard print is always neutral πŸ˜‰


  56. Kate January 27, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    After reviewing your post, I went out and purchased the pattern. Instead of cutting the paper pattern, I traced it (first time using this technique) I am looking forward to starting and FINISHING this project. They look great on you and I hope my quality of work can come out as great as yours. Thanks for the post.

  57. Beth January 28, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    ooh, nice job. I too like Palmer and Pletsch ladies. I have drafted a few pants patterns and they never come out quite right. Like you I like a higher waist in back but fitted leg. they look great!!!!

  58. missjoiedevivre February 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I’m not sure if anyone cane out of the woodwork to tell you these are unflattering this time around but I’m gonna tell you that these are amazing and you look freaking hot. Also, when you think about it, these aren’t ridiculously high waisted, they’re still below the natural waist! We’re just trained from years of fashion that pants can’t come to the waist but personally I love the look. These are totally gorgeous, and grey leopard is absolutely a neutral!


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