The new Torrens Box Top

You’d think that after more than a year of trying to photograph my makes, I’d be a bit better at posing or doing a good face- fear not! I’m here to prove that I’m just as un-photogenic as ever before! It probably doesn’t help that I’m always trying to have a conversation with my photographer- I popped out with a sewing friend and took some pictures of this re-drafted Torrens Box Top before heading out for a coffee!

Here I’m wearing my current favourite ‘leaving the house outfit’, my plum Willandra Pants (blogged here) and new viscose Torrens Box Top!

Torrens Box Top Viscose

The Torrens Box Top got a thorough redoing when we updated the sizes recently! The neckline has been tweaked the most and the top is also a little longer. The shirt now sits perfectly in our block now and folks at the upper sizes should experience a little extra room around the hips! Even with my narrow shoulders, the neckline is still bra-strap (or Banksia Bralette strap) friendly for me, which I’m very pleased about!

Size Details: All my previous Torrens Box Tops are made in the original Size 1 sample size, but I took the opportunity to size down in line with my bust measurements, instead of my hip measurements. I made a straight Size E (which would have been a Size i in the old size chart), and my bust is 47″ and the widest part of my hip/belly area is fluctuating between 52-56″ depending on the day.

Fabric usage: I can’t say exactly how much fabric I used for this as I cut it directly from the roll, but I generally use a little over 2 metres for my sleeved Torrens Box Tops! You could use a little bit less by making the short sleeve version, and cutting your neck facings from lining fabric could save a little extra fabric if you’re caught short.

Back Viscose Torrens Box Top

Also, these shoes are my latest love! They’re from Sevilla Smith, a business that I’ve admired from the longest time. I ordered two pairs of shoes, this being the largest (and the right choice for my feet). I find that I have a hard time finding shoes to fit when shopping in store, and because the back of these shoes doesn’t contain anything to stiffen them up, they don’t rub when wearing!

Side Viscose Torrens Box Top

Waikerie and Willandra plums

This Willandra Pants and Waikerie Shirt combos is one of my favourite (and most worn) outfit combinations.
Muna and Broad is celebrating a Willandra Pants this week as it seemed like a perfect time to revisit this pattern, which we unfortunately released right in the middle of lockdown- just at the time where nobody was thinking about sewing slightly elevated pants which are a little bit elevated and perfect for workwear.

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Size Details: I sewed a Size 1 in the Willandra Pants (New Size F), and my Waikerie Shirt is a Size i (New Size E). Not all of the patterns in the range are available in the updated size range, but I included the conversion so that when they are changed over, this info will still be relevant.

Fabric Consumption: My View B of the Waikerie Shirt uses about 2 metres of 150cm wide fabric (so long as your fabric doesn’t have a right or wrong side or a directional print), and I squeezed these Willandra Pants from 2 metres of 150cm wide fabric. This was a tight squeeze with fabric tetris but I got away without needing to cut my pockets from lining fabric.

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The Willandra Pants have a flat front and elastic back. They have a unique diagonal side seam which was inspired by RTW pants (which weren’t available in plus sizes). These pants feature a diagonal side seam which wraps around the body, and the pockets are built in to the side seam with a unique and tidy finish.

The Waikerie Shirt comes with multiple views- this one is finished with mitered edges and I changed the back from an inverted pleat to a classic ‘menswear shirt style pleat’- I love that style of pleat in shirts. Not pictured, the inside yoke is from white linen and I’ve popped a Stitch Collective label in there too!

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You might not know that Muna and Broad has been my full-time job/main source of income for a little over 2-months now! It’s amazing to be able to work on this passion project (especially at a time when my health would make it difficult for me to work in an office every day)!

In celebration of our Willandra Week Muna and Broad email newsletter subscribers get a 10% off discount code and if you’re a Maker or Insider supporter on the Muna and Broad Patreon, you’ll have a 15% off discount code to use whenever the mood strikes!

Huon Shirt in Sister Mintaka

Full length shirt looking down

The Huon Shirt and Dress is the latest pattern release from Leila and I through Muna and Broad.

I’ve wanted a gathered shirt like this for the longest time but could never find the right pattern, and if I found something close then it was inevitably never in my size!

Blog front

This top was inspired by French artist smocks, and much like our other patterns, it’s oversized and quite dramatic.

We were really thrilled to work with Sandeep from Sister Mintaka fabric on this release. Leila and I both got to choose the fabrics we wanted to make our sample garments from out of the gorgeous Sister Mintaka collection. For my shirt, I knew I wanted this viscose from Atelier Brunette- I find that the Atelier Brunette viscose fabric is a bit thin, but the colours here are gorgeous.

Size info: I made Size E, which matches to my bust measurement (but not my hip measurement). I knew there’d be lots of room, and since the side-seams are straight, it’s best to avoid grading out in the underarm, since it would change the shape quite a bit (especially if you were grading between multiple sizes). My current measurements are 47″ bust 40″ waist and 52″ hip

Jess Huon Shirt long back

The gathered back of the Huon is where the real magic happens (for me, at least)- I love how the gathers lay and how they look. The pattern calls for lightweight fabric so that you get gorgeous gathers than hang nicely. This is especially dramatic in the dress version of the pattern!

The Huon has a hidden button placket which is constructed (and the buttonholes done) as part of the first step. I love this because even though I’m a bit more comfortable with buttonholes than I was 3 months ago- it really doesn’t matter if you make ugly buttonholes, or if they’re so ugly that you want to start again- just cut another placket. You could even cut the placket from totally different fabric because it’s entirely hidden once constructed!

Jess blog hidden placket

This is something a little different from our other Muna and Broad patterns, but it’s so great to have it out in the world!

Mustard Nullarbor Cami

The Nullarbor Cami and Dress is a pattern that I pestered Leila for for the longest time, because I knew it was a basic which was missing from the fat sewing pattern back catalogue. I knew because folks often emailed me to ask for recommendations and there weren’t many. There certainly weren’t many that were beginner-friendly plus-size cami patterns that were drafted with larger cup-sizes and bodies in mind.

The Nullarbor takes less than a metre of fabric in many of the sizes, and the dress takes about 2 metres of 150cm wide fabric at my size (I’m in about the middle of the size range). The pattern is finished with a facing, which conveniently tidies away the straps and ensures a neat finish all the way round.

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Size details: I have a 48″ bust, 40″ waist and 52″ hip and made Size 1. I probably should have made the changes to the pattern for narrow shoulders, as I know that’s a common fit issue for me, but what I might do instead is to size down to a couple of sizes so that I’m choosing the size based on my bust measurement, instead of my hip measurement. This might bring the shoulders in enough for me, and also bring the underarms up a little higher. The fit of the cami is supposed to be very relaxed, and not at all tight or ‘close to the body’.

Nullarbor 6

Fabric: I used a remnant from The Fabric Store of their Dijon coloured crepe, which was approximately a metre long. I bought it on a whim and then got it home and realised that I might well never be able to make anything from it for my body (plus size patterns are notoriously hungry). You could use even less fabric than suggested by making the facing from a different fabric, which makes this a great piece for leftovers. You could conceivably pop an extra half a metre in your cart when shopping for pants and make the cami from the leftovers (great for a faux jumpsuit).

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Here, I’m wearing the Nullarbor Cami with canvas Sculthorpe Pants and my chartreuse linen Waikerie Dress (View C with added collar and long sleeves), which I’ve been wearing as a duster!

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!