The Banksia Bralette and Tank

I’m a little late to the party to talk about the new Banksia Bralette pattern, released by Leila and I through Muna and Broad, mostly because I do have reservations about sharing pictures on the internet of myself in a bralette (funny where we draw the line isn’t it?)!

While I was procrastinating on sharing pictures of myself in a bralette, we released the Banksia Swim Expansion which adds a tank option, which has an attached Banksia Braltte inside (a tank with built in support, there’s something I could take some pictures of)!

Banksia Tank

The Banksia Bralette is designed to lightly support the breasts, but also to keep them separated (no more sweat from boobs that are touching). As someone who wears a lot of utterly un-supportive cotton crop tops which generally serve to keep my boobs covered but not supported- this pattern from Leila has been an absolute revelation.

The Bralette provides options to customise how much support you want, and Leila came up with a unique system which uses slings to give very light support to the breasts, while also separating them and stopping them from touching each other. If you have small enough breasts, or they’re wide-set enough that they don’t touch then you can easily omit the sling.
Other possible permutations for support include (in order of support), two layers of fashion fabric in the front for light support, two layers of fashion fabric in the front and back, powermesh and fashion fabric front piece, powermesh and fashion fabric front and back. I shared a picture this week on Instagram which shows just some of the Banksia Bralettes I made during the pattern testing phase! In the end, we released the pattern with sewing size (different to RTW) D cups and B cups and with pieces for narrow shoulders!

My Current Measurements: Upper Bust 43″ (109.5cm) Full Bust 48.5″ (123cm) Under Bust 40″ (101.5cm) shoulder width 16″ (40.5cm)

Size Details: I made many permutations of this bralette, but my favourite version, which will be where I base my future versions is a Size E, with the B Cup, narrow shoulder pieces. I like that this narrow-cup piece is a bit lower under the underarm and fits nicely on my narrow shoulders.

Support details: I’ve made multiple variations of the bralette, the most supportive (and binder like) being the powermesh front and back version (which reduces my Full Bust size by more than 3″ while providing a lot of lift), and the least supportive being single layer of fashion fabric front and back and powermesh slings (still very comfortable and perfect for sleeping in, if that’s your jam)!
I;ve got a few more bralettes (without the tank planned)- one with two layers of fashion fabric front and back and lightweight powermesh slings and another with powermesh front and double fashion-fabric back. For me, both of these support options will provide a decent amount of support and lift- they’ll be comfortable enough to sleep in but would also be appropriate to leave the house in.

Banksia Tank

I ordered my powermesh and fold-over elastic for the Banksia Bralette from Nellie Joans, which is a NZ based small-business but one which ships all over the world! Helen from Nelli Joans is an absolute star, and she’s always been so helpful with any of my requests. She also has a gorgeous selection of swimwear fabrics, including this ribbed black fabric which I’ve got put aside for a Banksia Bikini.

The Orange Tank: I don’t like this orange, but this version was my wearable toile of the longewear possibilities. The tank is made from a cotton/lycra and inside the support is provided by powermesh front and back and lightweight powermesh slings. The powermesh is very firm (and can be tricky to get on), but I love the support that’s provided here- I would happily wear the house with this tank and no bra. I’ve ordered some hefty bamboo/lycra in black for my next version- the neckline works great under my Torrens Box Tops and Waikerie Shirts (and, Waikerie Shirts is mostly what I’m wearing these days)!

Conclusion: I hate wearing bras at the best of time, and finding the right fit for underwire bras can be a challenge. The Banksia Bralette provides the comfort I sought in croptops (or going bra-free around the houses), and depending on the level of support, can also provide the lift that I sought in a bra. The unique power-mesh sling system that Leila devised keeps the breasts separated and sweat free, which is a bit gross to have to mention but a definite bonus if it’s something you’ve experienced!

Sculthorpe Capsule Wardrobe

I’ve been thinking more about wardrobe planning and how to find things which ‘work together’ in the hopes of finding the secret to not buying fabric which don’t go with anything, or shades that could be paired with my existing wardrobe pieces!

The Curvy Sewing Collective has lots of posts about capsule wardrobes, but the post I started with was this one here

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This 9 piece capsule is based around my two favourite pairs of Sculthorpe Pants. From top to bottom, left to right the patterns are heavy-weight chambray Waikerie Dress (View B, long sleeve), charetreuse linen Waikerie Dress (View C, added collar, long sleeves), wool/viscose Mallee Jacket, Liberty print Waikerie Shirt (View B), pink linen Waikerie Shirt (View B), moss silk noil Waikerie Shirt (View C, short sleeve), bark tencel blend Sculthorpe Pants, tan textured linen/viscose Sculthorpe Pants, mustard rayon crepe Nullarbor Cami.

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Above, is the simplest of options from the capsule- the two Waikerie Dresses worn as actual dresses! The heavyweight chambray on the left is View B and the linen chartreuse on the right is View C with an added collar.

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Above is both of the Waikerie Dresses doing double duty as a duster/light jacket and the wool Mallee Jacket too. Often we think of the blue denim colour as being a neutral, so it’s pretty easy to mix the chambray Waikerie Dress with lots of different colours, but the versatility of the chartreuse dress has been a real revelation to me while trying out all these different combinations!

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Above, all of the ‘tops’ worn as tops with the two pairs of Sculthorpe Pants.

and below, the shirts worn as layers on top of the Nullarbor Cami.

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What I have neglected to take photos of to capture the true extend of this collection is the 3 Waikerie Shirts layered under the Mallee Jacket and also potentially under each of the Waikerie Dresses too. I definitely think the moss green silk noil would work under the two Waikerie Dresses, but I haven’t experimented much with layering a collar under a collar.

The pictures show 22 possible variations from the 9 garments, with the 3 shirts layered under the jacket you’d get 6 more. 4 more possible variations could come from the collarless silk noil shirt under the dresses as dusters, and potentially 8 more if layering a collar over a collar worked for the 2 other shirts and the 2 dresses.

So, from 9 garments that’s 32 combinations (and potentially 8 more)!

3×3 collection from Muna and Broad

The 3×3 wardrobe capsule is something that I first read about on the Curvy Sewing Collective here. The idea is that by mapping out tops, bottoms and layers in a grid (like below), you can find combinations which work together.

I’ve been experimenting with capsule wardrobes as a way to avoid wardrobe orphans (garments that don’t work well with others), but also as a way to learn how to combine colour in such a way as to plan cohesive capsules instead of discover them accidentally after the fact.

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Above, my chosen pieces are, L-R from the top mustard crepe Nullarbor Cami, liberty print Waikerie Shirt (View B), natural linen Glebe Pants, plum tencel Willandra Pants, natural gingham Torrens Box Top, wool/viscose Mallee Jacket, moss green silk noil Waikerie Shirt (View C), tan Sculthorpe Pants, and the Mustard Crepe Nullarbor Cami.

Below, you can see how the 3×3 chart is organised, and the lines show different ways to put together outfits based on where things are in the grid.

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Below, you can see the possible permutations which come from the yellow and red lines in the chart above. These are the outfits forms from the rows and columns of the 3×3 grid.

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Below, some of the items that I included as ‘layers’ are actually just shirts. I really don’t ‘dress in layers’ unless it’s cold, so I included these since they do double-duty as tops and can really increase the possible variations!

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Of course, if you’re happy to do a bit of ‘spacial mind bending’ then you can imagine the 3×3 as a couple of different tubes- as a tube that meets at the columns and also as a tube that meets at the rows. This lets you pair a bottom from the left hand side column of the chart with a top and layer that sit on the right hand side. Or to pair a top from and layer from the top row with the bottom of the bottom row.

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Liberty print Waikerie Shirt

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I bought this liberty print cotton on a bit of a whim shopping in person at The Fabric Store here in Christchurch. It was pretty unusual for a liberty print, and a bit more large-scale/abstract than usual.

I bought this fabric intending to turn it in to a Waikerie Shirt (from Muna and Broad). This is View B of the Waikerie, and although I don’t look terrible pleased in these pictures, I actually like the shirt a lot.

I love the feel of the tana lawn, but really struggled with the ‘look’ of the shirt after making it- it felt a bit too formal for every day wear. Since most of my pants are pretty relaxed looking (and generally casual looking natural fibres), I felt like the texture of the shirt and the pants was not a great match. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be exploring adding this shirt in to capsule wardrobes to see if I can find some new ways to wear the shirt!

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Size details: I made Size E graded to size F at the hips. My current measurements are Full Bust 48.5″ (123.19cm), Waist 41″ (104.14cm), Hip 54″ (137.16cm).

Fabric consumption: I purchased 2 metres of this fabric and cut on the open.

I couldn’t decide on a good fabric match for the hems of these, so I actually hand-stitched the mitered hem at the front and back of the shirt. I love the square hem inside the shirt, and the gentle dimpling of the hand stitched hem bring me a lot of pleasure when I see it. I think it was definitely worth the effort to finish the shirt without top-stitching the hem.

Muna and Broad Capsule Wardrobe

I’ve been experimenting with testing out the mix-and-match possibilities of the current Muna and Broad pattern offerings.
A few years before I got in to sewing I tried to coordinate myself a black and white capsule wardrobe of nicer, work-appropriate clothes (I know now that neither black or white are great colours for me ). I definitely do still occasionally make a ‘wardrobe orphan’ from a fabric I love, or in a shape that I love, but which pairs with nothing else in my wardobe!

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Above, clockwise from top left are the Torrens Box Top, Waikerie Shirt (View B), Waikerie Dress (View B), Glebe Pants (View A), Willandra Pants, Mallee Jacket, Nullarbor Cami which I’ve combined to make a small capsule. This is something like what you could pack for a week away (when we get back to travel).

With these 7 pieces, I’ve mapped out below the 23 different combinations that are possible.

There’s all kinds of information out there on different ways to make capsule wardrobes, different rules to follow (4 tops, 4 bottoms, 4 layering pieces, etc), but for this I just picked some items that work for cooler weather, and that could be paired easily.

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Above, we have the subtle natural colour gingham Torrens Box Top and the mustard crepe Nullarbor Cami worn alone with the natural linen Glebe Pants (View A), and the plum tencel Willandra Pants. I also have the heavy-weight chambray Waikerie Dress (View B) worn as a dress instead of an outer layer.

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Above, the pink linen Waikerie Shirt is worn both as a shirt and as an outer-layer atop the other options. Choosing tops that can do double-duty really open up the possible outfits for the capsule. One permutation that didn’t occur to me until after I took the photos is this pink shirt layered under the Mallee Jacket and the Waikerie Dress, which adds an extra 4 possible outfits

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And here are the tops layered under the Mallee Jacket and Waikerie Dress.

This 7-piece collection was reverse engineered from existing pieces in my wardrobe which went together well- most of the concern is matching the textures and colours because all of my Muna and Broad makes do work together, just sometimes the colours look terrible together!