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Hi. I’m Maria, and I draft my own sewing patterns. My focus for a number of years was developing, then perfecting systems for drafting blocks that get a better outcome for Non-Standard Figures, particularly large busts. I have my own unique system and instructions for drafting the Bodice Block that includes the Upper Bust measurement and the Pants Block that includes the Thigh measurement.
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From now on, I will be focusing on writing step by step instructions for drafting patterns, starting with dresses, then jackets, jeans, pants, tops and so on. So welcome to my channel. Hi. And welcome back. This is video Part 4 me in a series titled Variations on a Silhouette. There were originally supposed to be 10 videos in this series, but now there are 10 TOPICS and some of those topics have 3 or 4 Parts.
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So there may well be 20 videos in this series in the end. So this is 4B, so if you haven’t already watched Part 1: Contouring, Part 2: Drafting the Bodice part of the bodice Empire dress with the princess line. And you haven’t watched Part 4A, which is skirts. Then please do so because it’s probably make a lot of sense without all of that background.
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And Part 3: Ease, is will be made after Part 4 – after the 4 parts of Part 4. I will be hopefully getting videos out now on a fortnightly basis. Yes, I’ve had to break down some topics in two parts because who wants to our video? I don’t know. Probably you don’t. So it’s better if I get shorter videos out more often.
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This is Skirts Part B, the 6 panel skirt. So let’s get started. As I did in the A-Line skirt video, I will be drafting the panel skirt to match the bodice pieces for Kate and for myself. On my Bodice center back, I have a pleat. I won’t be including that as part of my bodice measurement to draft the skirt.
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Now, at the end of the A-Line Skirt video, I said that I had noted one of Kate measurements incorrectly when I drafted her A-line skirt. So these measurements are slightly different, and they are also rounded up and down, so they are more easily used when drafting by hand. I just want to stress something. The imperial measurement system is not natural to me.
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My example measurements may be a little bit out, but my focus is not on the measurements per se, it’s on the process. You need to make sure that your measurements are correct, and by that I mean (1) your Under Bust measurement is the measurement you need to draft a garment that fits you and (2) the Bust measurement is the same for the bodice and the skirt, so that those two seams will match and can be sewn together.
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And No.3: The measurements for each panel, the bodice pattern piece and the skirt piece that goes with it should end up the same measurement. So first, I’ll show you the outcome. This is what I’m going to end up with for Kate at the end of this video. And this will be the outcome for me. These are my skirt pattern pieces.
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And just a little aside here, these pattern pieces are for a separate bodice and skirt. There is a design line at the Under Bust. But you could choose to join them together as shown and not have a seam at the Under Bust. So you draft them as full dress pattern pieces. So instead of the eight patterned pieces shown here above, you will join the bodice and skirt and end up with four pattern pieces.
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That’s just something you could choose to do. So just a clarification for those who may not understand. I’ve said that this is a 6 panel skirt, but we have ended up with 4 pattern pieces. Be aware that the center front and the center back a half pattern pieces and we will need two side fronts and two side backs.
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So, yes, I will end up with six panels for my skirt. Another note I actually never cut on the fold for myself. I always draft for pattern pieces and cut on one layer. Now, Kate, on the other hand, will start with 6panels, will end up with a 6 panel pattern for her, but she will need a zip in the back and will end up with seven pattern pieces.
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I must admit, I’m not clear on this. I find it confusing. Will this be classed as a seven panel skirt for Kate? Now, I actually think not, because for me, it’s about where the flare is added. It’s added in 6 places. It’s inserted in 6 places in the skirt. You don’t add flare in the center, front or the center back when you put a seam in in order to have a zip or buttons.
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But really, it’s not that important. We are drafting a skirt where the flare is added in 6 seam lines. As the flare is distributed across both sides of that seam line, it’s added in a total of 12 places across the whole skirt. When we drafted the island skirt, you may remember I said that it would be preferable to have the same side seam angle for adjoining pattern pieces so that it’s easier to sew them together.
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Doing this means that one piece won’t stretch more than the other, which can happen if they are on different angles and it can also affect the drape of the garment. We will do the same thing for the 6 panel skirt – that is, adjoining pattern pieces will have the same side seam angle, but we will achieve it a little differently to how it was done with A-Line Skirt.
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I want to point out two things about the skirt pattern pieces. Firstly, the skirt pieces are not curved at the top at the Empire Line. Unlike the A-line skirt, which is curved. At the Empire Line, these skirt are completely straight. They have a horizontal, completely straight line. And the second thing is that the top three centimeters or 1 and 3/16 of an inch goes straight down.
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Basically, there’s a rectangle at the top and the skirt starts flaring from 3 centimeters or 1 and 3/16 of an inch down from that Empire Line. So I’ll just touch on these two things, the straight line and the rectangle. So first, I want to touch on the straight line at the top of the skirt, which is in contrast to the curve that we had the A-line skirt.
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I mentioning this in case someone queries why we don’t have a curve and asks: “Well, don’t we need a curve?” The answer is, No, you don’t – if you have plenty of flare in the skirt. And we will use the same amount of flare that we used for the A-line skirt. Now I’m using this dress pattern on the slide just to explain to you, show you why it isn’t necessary to have a curve at the waist for the Empire Line.
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Obviously, in a dress pattern like this, where the pattern piece encompasses both the Bodice and the Skirt, obviously in this pattern, there is not that curve at the waist. And if we were to put in a design line and separate the bodice from the skirt like I’m showing you on this slide, then obviously it would be a straight line.
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You wouldn’t then have to put a curve in the skirt if the previous dress pattern fitted, then this pattern will fit equally as well without the skirt having a curve in the waist. So to go off on a tiny little tangent for a minute, there is also nothing to stop you separating some of the pattern pieces, but not others.
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As in this example. In this case, I have a full length piece for the center, front and center back, so bodice and skirt join together, but separated for the side pieces, side front and side back. In this case, this was to get some better effects with the tartan stripes or the check. Now the pattern pieces in the slide are not the pattern pieces for this dress, but this dress does have the whole center front and whole center back pieces, but the side pieces separated with the seam line. To get back to the main point, we don’t need a curve at the waist in our dress with the proviso, of course, that you have enough flare
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in the skirt to get the correct fit through the body. So that second thing was the rectangle shape at the top of the skirt. That square shape is to give it a little more shaping under the bust. Not really fitting, but not flaring out immediately. I prefer this tiny little bit more shaping. Now, here are some of the dresses that I’ve done that square shaping with. So for both Kate and me,
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I’ll be drafting with that little rectangular piece at the top. There’s no reason that you can’t just leave it out. Just draft your skirt with a flare starting straight from the Empire Line, if you wish. If you have a large stomach or an apple shaped figure, it would be best probably to not have that rectangle bit of shaping at the top.
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Okay, so now when we drafted the A-line skirt, we started with the rectangle that was the hip width. And by that I mean the hip with the added ease amount. That was 125% of the hip measurements for Kate and 130% of the hip measurement for me. So we cut up that rectangle and reduced the top of the rectangle to match the Empire Line measurement, this time for the panel skirt,
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we’re going to do it the other way around. We’ll start with a rectangle that’s the width of the Empire Line measurement, and we’ll add to the hip. So to start calculating how much to add to the hip, as I said, I’m going to use the same amount of flare and therefore the same measurement at the hip that I used in the A-line skirt. For Kate, 125% of a hip measurement is 47 and a 1/2 inches.
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For me, 130% of my hip is 145.6 cms. That’s the starting measurement. So we take that measurement and subtract the measurement at the Empire Line. For Kate, that’s 47 and a 1/2 nches, less 32 inches equals 15 and a 1/2 inches. As we’ll be drafting the half pattern, we only need to add half of that. So for Kate, I will need to add 7 and 3/4 inches at the hip line.
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For me, I start with 145.6 cms. I’m going to round that down to 145. Less than 85 cms at the Empire Line. That leaves 60 cms divided by 2 for the half pattern. I need to add 30 cms at the hip as it’s distributed over the 6 places shown for the 1/2 pattern, then we divide it by 6.
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So if a Kate. 7 and 3/4 inches divided by 6 is 1 and 5/16 of an inch. And for me, 30 divided by six equals 5 centimeters. Now, we could add this to each one individually, but the way I’m going to do it is just to draft one. I’m just going to draft the center back and then use that as the template to draft the others. As I did with the A-line skirt,
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before I start the step by step instructions. I think it would be beneficial if you watch a quick overview of how this will work so you can see the process and hopefully understand it before starting to do it. The first piece, the center back that’s going to be used as a template is going to be drafted onto cardboard, as we call it in Australia, oak tag or thick paper, so that it’s easy to trace around when using this to draft the other pattern pieces.
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After watching that, you probably don’t need the detailed step by step instructions, but here they are just in case. You need some thick paper to draft the center back pattern piece, which will then be used as a template to help draft the other pattern pieces. So this is just one pattern piece you are drafting onto thick paper so that it’s easy to trace around. The same way that you draft a block onto thick paper so that you can easily trace around it to create copies, to draft patterns.
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So once you’ve finished it and you have used it to help draft the other skirt pieces, you also need to trace around this pattern piece in cardboard to create a paper copy so you can pin it to fabric. So a guide for how big the piece of cardboard a.k.a oak tag a.k.a thick paper needs to be is this: A little longer than the length of the skirt and about 30% of your hip measurement if you are drafting it to about the knee. Now, if you are drafting it longer, it will need to be wider and you’ll have to work that out for yourself.
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There are too many variables for me to give you an estimate because the longer the skirt is, the wider it will need to be, the bigger the difference between your waist and hips, the wider it will need to be. So draw a rectangle. I’m starting at the top left hand corner of the cardboard. If you do that too, make sure that the corner is square. Uou can see that the width of the rectangle matches the width of the center back bodice piece at the Empire
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Line. My measurement may look like it doesn’t match the bodice, but that’s because there’s a pleat in the bodice and my skirt doesn’t have that pleat. So draw a rectangle, the width of which is the bodice back at the empire line, and the depth is the empire line to hip measurement. We’ll do the hem later – the length to the knee. At the moment, just to the hip.
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Now for Kate, the width of the blue rectangle shown by the blue horizontal arrow is three and 3/16 of an inch. The height, to the hip, shown by the blue vertical arrow is 12 inches. The width of my rectangle, shown by the pink horizontal arrow, is 10 and a 1/3 c,s. The height, shown by the vertical arrow, is 28 cms.
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Now an important point here, where there is a solid line when I’m drafting with a solid line, it means that the line in question is part of the outline of the pattern The final outline of the pattern, The dashed lines are guidelines, so they won’t form part of the final outline of the skirt pattern, they’re just there to help us draft the pattern.
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Now, you don’t have to draw them at dashed (lines). You draw them as a solid line. But this is just me giving you an indication that those lines that are dashed on the screen are guidelines. I’ve labeled the corners of that rectangle with points A, B, C, and D as shown just to make the instructions clearer. Now, both Kate and I will have a rectangle at the top of the skirt.
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As I’ve mentioned before. Looking at Kate’s draft, I’ll measure down from point A for 1 and 3/16 of an inch and mark point E. I’ll measure down from point B for 1 and 3/16 an inch and mark point F. I have drawn a line between points in F to show the rectangle and mark a notch point at point F, the instructions are the same for me, but I’ll redo it using cms.
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I’ll measure down from point A for 3 cms and mark point E. I’ll measure down from point B for 3 cms and mark point F, then I’ll draw a line from points E to F and mark a notch point at point F. So we need the result of that calculation we did earlier. A reminder of that. That was the hip measurement minus the Empire Line measurement divided by 2 and then divided by 6, because there are 6 places in this half pattern where the flare is added.
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So for Kate, the amount that we want is 1 and 5/16 of an inch, and for me it’s 5 cms. So for Kate at the hip line, I will continue the C to D line for one and 5/16 of an inch and mark point G, Forr me, I will continue the C to D line for 5cm and mark point G.
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So now taking the skirt length measurement and that skirt length is from the Empire Line to the hem. For Kate, that is 26 and 5/16 of an inch. For me, thats 62 centimeters. Using that measurement, measure from point A straight down the center back line and mark point H. Now for the side seam, using the same measurement make sure you start at the Empire Line at point B, measure through point F and point G and mark point I. Using a curved ruler, draw the hem, making sure that the line is squared to begin with at the center back for a couple of inches before the line starts curving up to the side seam. Extend the B
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to D guideline down to the hem and mark a notch point at the hem. So cut out the center back skirt piece as shown. Mark three notches at the hip line of the side seam line. One at point G, one notch above that point and one notch below that point. We will mark the three notches on all the skirt pattern pieces, although in the end we don’t want three notches on every single one, but we will amend that at the end.
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So in the pattern pieces cut out, make sure that you notch the notch points that is, clip away a bit of the cardboard so there is a little hole there. We will sometimes be flipping this pattern piece over and we can’t see the markings that are on this side when we flip it over. So we need to make sure that the notch points are notched.
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So that’s the center back skirt pattern piece. Next will draft the side back. So to draft the skirt side back, start with drawing a rectangle. The width of the rectangle is the measurement of the Bodice Side Back at the Empire Line. The height of the rectangle is the skirt length as used in the Center Back and the Side Same Back.
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Make sure all the corners of the rectangle are squared. I will mark the rectangular section at the top as I did for the center back and as I will do for every skirt pattern piece. If you are NOT going to have the rectangular bit of shaping, you can ignore this and you will draw your side seam lines from the Empire Line.
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So drawing a horizontal line parallel to the Empire Line, 1 and 3/16 of an inch below it or 3 cm below it, place a notch mark at both ends of that line. Now extend the vertical guidelines down below the skirt length line, a couple of inches, that’s about 5 cms or so below the skirt length. The reason we’re doing this is that when we place the center back piece on top, we won’t be able to see these guidelines. Extending the guidelines down will allow us to place the center back piece on top, positioned correctly so we can trace the side
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seam. So I’m going to take the Center Back Pattern Piece and line up the vertical dashed line on the center back piece to the vertical line, the right hand side vertical line on the side back. Making sure that it is lined up correctly at the Empire Line, then trace the side seam from notch to notch. Also remembering to draw in the three notches at the hip.
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I want to point out that my side Back piece is completely hidden by my center back piece, but Kate isn’t. And that’s just because Kate and I have different proportions and my dart placement is different to hers. So when I finish tracing and lift off the center back pattern piece, this is what I have so far and I need to do the same on the other side of the Side Back for the other seam line.
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So I brought back the Center Back Pattern Piece and flipped it over. Since it’s flipped over, you can’t see any of the markings from when it was drafted. All you have is the outline and the notches. Line the Center Back Pattern Piece up with the side back at the Empire Line, top left hand corner. Line up the notch at the hem and the guideline extension.
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So this is when you realize that it’s important to have those notches clipped, not just drawn on the side that you now cannot see. So trace from the notch below the Empire Line to the notch at the hem not forgetting to mark the three notches at the hip. So we end up with this. We have a complete pattern piece and the notches are marked at the hip.
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Now we’re going to mark the gainline and we haven’t so far marked the grainline on most pattern pieces. For example, the A-line skirt. We didn’t I don’t think we’ve done it with a Bodice either. But doing so here kills two birds with one stone. We want to mark the midpoint at the hem so that when we finished all the 6 pieces, we can check the flow through of the curve from pattern piece to pattern piece and it helps having the midpoint at the hem to do that.
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So since we’re making that midpoint, we might as well mark the grainline. So mark the halfway point at the Empire Line. So measure the Empire Line measurement, mark the halfway point, mark the halfway point at the hem. So referring to that original rectangle halfway between A and B, then draw a vertical line from the Empire Line to the him.
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That line should, be must be, at right angles to the Empire Line. So that’s the Side Back Pattern piece finished. Having said that, it doesn’t have seam allowance, but as I’ve said earlier, we’re going to talk about seam allowance at the end when we’ve got all our pattern pieces and after we talk about finishes etc.. So we’re going to repeat that whole same process.
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we did the Side Back to draft the Side Front. The only difference is that we’re starting with a measurement at the Empire Line of the Side Front for the width. The length, of course is the same as it’s been each other time, the same length as the center back Empire line-to-hem. Marking the line 1 and 3/16 of an inch or 3 cms below the Empire Line and placing a notch mark on both sides. Extending the vertical guidelines below the skirt length line. Bringing in the center back pattern piece, matching it up at the Empire Line at the top right hand corner, lining the notch up with the extended guideline at the hem and
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tracing the side seam, remembering to mark the notches at the hip. The right hand side seam me is done. Bringing back the center back pattern place and flipping it over. Lining up the Benter Back Piece at the Empire Line to the left hand side of the Side Front and matching the notch up at the hem with the left guideline extending below the skirt length line. Then tracing the side seam, remembering to mark the notches at the hip.
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So this is the side front, before we add the grainline. Mark the halfway point at the Empire Line and the halfway point at the hem – between that original rectangle point A and B – and draw the grainline, making sure it is a straight line at right angles to the Empire. So 3 pattern pieces finished. Only the Center Front to go.
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It’s a case of rinse and repeat. All the same steps. But the only difference is because it’s the center front. we draft the half pattern piece. The center front line stays straight – uou only add the flare to one side. So the same rectangle, the width of the rectangle is the measurement at the Empire Line Center Bront Bodice pattern piece, and the height is the skirt length. Marking the line 1 and 3/16 of an inch or 3 cms below the Empire Line and placing a notch mark at the side seam edge, not the center front.
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Extend the guideline down below the skirt length. The center front doesn’t have to be extended because again, we’re not adding flare to the center front. Besides which, the center front line is not a guideline. Bringing the center back piece and flip it over, line it up at the Empire Line, line up the notch at the hem and trace, remembering the notches at the hip.
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So here the finished center front pattern pieces. And here are all of the pattern pieces, ut we do need to make some changes to the notches as well as trace the center back template onto paper. So make the changes as shown to the notches. Three notches on the seam between the Center Back and the Side Back, 3 notches between the Side Back and the Side Front.
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So erase the bottom notch mark – and one notch between the Side Front and the Center Front. Erase the bottom 2 notch marks. So line the pieces up at the side seam from the notch down, not from the Empire Line down, but the notch below the Empire Line down. So just ignore that rectangle. For the purposes of doing this, You don’t need to cut the pattern pieces out because you will want to add same allowance before doing that.
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So fold along the line, the side same line, ignoring the rectangle at the top and then line it up and check you have a good flow through curve and make any adjustments necessary. Then unfold it and put it back flat so you can later add seam allowance and finish off the pattern pieces. So that’s where we’re leaving it today.
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The pattern isn’t finished yet. We will do that in the future videos. Okay, so that’s it for this video. So next fortnight, hopefully a fortnight from now, I’ll do part C, which is pleats, pleats in the A-Line skirt and in the panel skirts. And then following that, a fortnight following that, the last part of the skirts, which is Tiered Skirts and the Dirndl. Then the video on Ease and then the Fabric video.
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The video on Ease will be just one part – I think – then the Fabric video, I’m sure it’s going to be three or four parts. Likewise, the finishes will be in 3 or 4 parts because it’s like this. This video I think is taking 25 minutes as it is with just the one skirt. So I do have to break it down in smaller chunks and that does mean it’s going to take longer to eventually get that full pattern piece video out.
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Number eight and ten. Chances are I’m not going to get those ones up till early next year because if I’m putting one up a fortnight, that’s still a lot of fortnights, and I’m breaking down that. When I’m breaking down the finishes, the fabrics and finishes into three or four parts anyway, until next time. Chao. Until next time.