Size details: Size F is my usual size in Muna and Broad Patterns (was previously called Size 1), but I cut my Waikerie Shirt to Size E and graded out to Size F at the hips because I could, and because it made sense with my narrow shoulders. But, the Waikerie Dress pieces I cut in a Size F. To make the pieces work, my back pleat is just a little fuller than the pattern was necessarily intended for.
This dress has generous pockets and a great shape and I’ve really been enjoying wearing it as a duster outer over pants and tops! It works great as a versatile capsule wardrobe piece!
Fabric details: This is Charetreuse Linen from The Fabric Store. It’s no longer available online (they’ve replaced their original linen with Vintage Finish Linen or Heavyweight Linen options) but I found and purchased this in-store. I had some fabric left from 3 metres, but I cut on the open and with a lot of pattern tetris!
As a total aside, I don’t care for the look of the Vintage Finish Linen as it has a bit more drape, looks a bit less crisp and the colours are also less saturated. Overall it’s skewing away from the structured look you can still achieve with linen with a bit of heft and getting closer to something vintagey, which is not really of interest to me. They’re also no longer selling my favourite Marsala coloured linen- but I’ve found that the Rhubarb linen from A+R Fabrics in Aus is a pretty close match.
I love working with Leila to put these patterns out- this dress is exactly the relaxed linen dress that I wanted to buy, but couldn’t find and got in to sewing in order to make, before discovering that nobody was making relaxed patterns in my size either!
Although sometimes our ideas for pattern releases start from pretty simple impulses, like ‘we need a bra-friendly cami that takes not much fabric!’, to ‘what about a bralette?’, we’re also trying to fill our own wardrobes (and hopefully yours) with great-fitting patterns which fill a gap!
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)!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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)!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.