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!

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.

Mallee Jacket from Muna and Broad

The Mallee Jacket is the latest release from Leila and I through Muna and Broad. It’s designed specifically for boiled wool, but I used a viscose/wool blend boucle which doesn’t fray because it was tough to find boiled wool here in NZ back when I tested this pattern during our warmer months.

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Fabric Usage: The pattern pieces can be jigsawed in such a way that my size (Size F) can be made from 2.1metres of 150cm fabric. That’s especially good news because boiled wool, like all wool, can be pricey to buy.

I purchased this fabric locally back in February, and it’s no longer available. However, there are lots of great places in NZ and Australia to buy boiled wool from. I’ve included a list (with links) below, and anything in bold is a shop that I’ve shopped with myself in the past.

Drapers Fabric NZ and Australia
Miss Maude NZ
Ackroyd & Adams NZ
MaaiDesigns Australia
The Drapery Australia
Minervas Bower Australia
House of Cloth Australia
Fabric Deluxe Australia

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The actual design of the jacket has the pocket bags on the inside of the front, but I sewed mine on to the front as patch-pockets. There’s also an option to add buttons to the jacket (and it’s really easy to make button-holes on boiled wool since it doesn’t fray), but I chose to keep it simple and keep it as-is!

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I’ve been wearing this jacket a lot more than I thought I would- it conveniently goes with much of my wardrobe. I think I’ll make another version, but I haven’t found quite the right shade to inspire me (I’m not really crazy about a grey or black coat since it wouldn’t blend all that well with most of my me-mades), but I’m on the lookout!

Muna and Broad winter warmers

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I’ve been dreaming of a cosy winter ensemble, inspired by this top I spotted on Instagram combined with this dusky pink wool suiting blend which I scored 3m of for $15 last year! I also loved Leila’s pink pleated-front Glebe Pants (which she didn’t reach for and can now be seen on the ridiculous cool Lydia from @styleisstyle).

Having tested out the pleated front, flat waistband (View B) Glebe Pants in some black pinstripe wool suiting, I knew that I wanted at least a couple more pairs for the colder months. I love the fit on these, and I’ve got the construction down to a fine art. Because Leila included notches in the pattern to indicate the seam allowances, I can skip checking back on the instructions which certainly helps things go much quicker. I also skipped lining these pants, and I’m hoping I won’t need to go back to line the pants because of itchiness.

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The Top here is a hacked Torrens Box Top made from this open weave cotton blend from The Fabric Store. They do warn you about the very open weave on the fabric potentially leading to issues during sewing, so I felt warned but ultimately surprised by what a pain this shifty mess was! I’m not sure this hem will be my final, I’m considering adding on a thick bottom hem to really push those ‘oversized sweater’ vibes.

Because the cotton outer fabric was so shifty, I lined it in a white ‘linen’ fabric which I got from a second-hand store. I cut front and back top pieces from the linen, sewing it at the shoulder seams before sewing it around the neckline in lieu of a facing.

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Size details: I made a straight size A Torrens Box Top and Size 1 Glebe Pants, but since both patterns are in the process of having the sizing expanded and the size bands renamed, I sized based on my 55″ hips and did no grading.

Fabric usage: I generally squeeze my Glebe Pants from around 2 metres of 150cm wide fabric (and could use less by piecing my waistband together and using lining fabric for the pockets. There’s enough left of my original 3 metres for an extra project. I used around 2.5 metres for the Torrens Box top, and there’s still a piece left for another (small) project.

Chartreuse linen Waikerie Dress

Waikerie Dress

This is my most recent make- a Waikerie Dress (in chartreuse linen from The Fabric Store) from the Waikerie Dress expansion pack which gives you the pieces to turn the Muna and Broad Waikerie Shirt into a shirt dress!

Often it’s pretty easy to see the ‘hacking possibilities’ of a pattern, but I often get stuck actually going through with the hack because I’m worried about getting the pattern hack right, I’m not sure how much fabric I’ll need, and I’m just generally worried about making a mess of the whole thing- I hate wasting fabric.

Waikerie Dress

The Waikerie Dress Expansion was the perfect way to solve those issues and give folks the instructions and pattern pieces they need to be able to make the Waikerie Shirt in to the Waikerie Dress. What I’ve made here is a modified View C, with long-sleeves and a collar. The hem has a modern-twist on the classic shirt hem and is higher at the front than at the back- I love the way it flows down.

Waikerie Dress

Size Details: Since the pattern is an expansion, it does require some of the Waikerie Shirt pieces to complete it. The Muna and Broad sizing has recently increased (additional smaller sizes were added) and a new lettering system for the sizes. Where I was previously a Size 1, I now cut out a Size F. Right now I have a 48″ full bust and between a 52-56″ hip, depending on bloating.

Fabric Details: I pride myself on being able to jigsaw my pattern pieces pretty tight, so I managed to get this dress out of less than 3 metres of fabric (which is 148cm wide). This includes two decent size pocket pieces (could have been cut from a lining fabric), and the facing, which wraps around the neckline and down the front of the dress. I did wish that I’d picked up some of the matching linen bias binding to help with finishing the curved hem, but I didn’t think of it when I was in store.

Waikerie Dress

I had a strangely difficult time finding buttons from my stash, both because I didn’t have enough of most of them, and because the colour was a difficult one to pair. I ended up using these cute wee wooden buttons, but I didn’t have enough for my cuffs (which remain button and buttonhole-free until I can find the right buttons to pair with the dress!

I’ve already cut out and mostly sewn View B with the mitered corners and a knee-high split, and I’m also thinking about a cosy cotton version for winter (or maybe a silk noil) if I can find the perfect fabric.