Jenny Skirt + Banksia Blouse

IMG_3476 (Large)Well, that was a break I didn’t see coming! Ill never take my arms for granted again, after living without them for the good part of a week. Who’s novel idea was it to try a Crossfit class?! Sure, it was hard. And not being able to grip the steering wheel on the way home, well, that’s just a sign of a good workout right? But two days later I couldn’t cut cheese, reach behind my head to do hair or a bra. Talking on the phone was lying my head on the table with it on speaker. And taking aim at my mouth with painkillers to stop the burning in my T-REX ARMS! Which were puffy…muscle trauma perhaps? Doctor in the house? Anyway, that’s my excuse so I’m hoping to appease with two garments, finished pre-incapacitation.
9Here’s Jenny. I’ve been hanging out to make this perfect Burdastyle pencil and made a really adult decision here. I had this heavy stretch cotton set aside for a second Vogue 8280 wiggle dress. Only thing is, I actually do want a very wearable hand-made wardrobe even if it means reigning in the statement dresses. A tough call but the skirt won out on the grounds that it would go with nearly all potential ‘blouse’ fabrics in the stash. Pretty mature I thought.
Loved: Jenny is a great shape. Using a heavy fabric with stretch means no lining too.
Loathed: Inserting the zip twice. The first one got snagged where the skirt seam joins the waist band. I don’t think invisible zippers like this bulk.
Adjustments: Invisible zip, adding two inches to the length like Gertie’s ( she added three, and next time I’d add at least three to get it below the knee). I took width out of the sides for a wiggle shape and shortened the back slit.
Triumphs: Blind stitching the hem by hand really is worth it, as is using a co-ordinating serger (over-locker) thread. For two years I’ve been living in fear of my over-locker. I’ve wanted to change the thread but tend to avoid manuals like the plague. It quickly became insurmountable. Until recently, when I took the beast to the shop, hoping for a pity re-thread and got charged $15! When I actually opened it up, there were diagrams and the whole thing took five minutes. Sans manual.

3Pattern: Megan Neilson Banksia 
Fabric: The softest, sweetest cotton floral. Gosh I love it. A thrifty find from my one and only (and bestest) real live sewing buddy. They’re in short supply!
Loved: Just the cutest blouse and great instructions. A definite make-again.
Loathed: High bust darts. And their accompanying wrinkles. When I make it again, I need to move them. Any tips on lowering bust darts? Or raising busts?
Adjustments: When I attached the collar to the bodice the ends of the collar finished about an inch either side of the placket, which is not how it looks in the picture. Paunnet mentioned this here and adjusted her collar pattern. I re-fed the collar around the neckline, so that it met the placket and to do this I really eased the neckline, not quite to the point of gathers but it worked.
Triumphs: A placket! The pattern comes with two versions and I chose the easy one.

IMG_3493 (Large)
Not sure how much longer I can pretend it’s Spring…it’s getting chilly!

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  • littlebettywrote:

    Lovely lovely. I also have the Banksia in queue. Re bust darts, you need to figure out how much higher or lower they need to go then re-draw them – not hard. I hear you on the dress front. I love making them, but it’s not always practical to wear.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Oh the long and winding queue. I get overwhelmed by my ‘queue’ quite regularly. The Banksia is truly lovely, I’m really tempted to make another right away, it’s a great seperate, similar to Violet but I like the lower neckline better on Banksia.

  • Crystalwrote:

    Love both your pieces! I have read that once you locate your proper bust point, you can cut out the darts and tape them lower where they belong. Seems like a simple adjustment, but because I’m newer to garment sewing its got me dragging my feet to start this pattern.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Crystal! Well I’ll get onto the bust dart right away and report back because I don’t want you to be put off by such a minor detail on an otherwise gorgeous pattern. You’d have no probs at all, Megan’s instructions are so good and the placket was not as scary as I thought it might be.

  • Sarahwrote:

    love both of these. p.s. i totally voted for your bow blouse the other week and was sad it didn’t win.
    your wearable wardrobe is going to be to DIE for!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      You voted for mine?! Wow thanks Sarah, that’s so cool. It’s amazing to think that you can make your own clothes that are as good if not better than what you can buy, so I’m hoping that it will be to die for!

  • Mariewrote:

    These are both such beautiful pieces, which I’m sure will look just as excellent worn together or apart!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Marie! It certainly feels so great to have broken the statement dress binge. I might actually have a wearable wardrobe at this stage. I think the Banksia especially can go with some many things and different seasons too.

  • Vanessa Traylorwrote:

    I really like the skirt muchisimo! 🙂

  • Scared Stitchlesswrote:

    Amazing! Two awesome pieces that will go together (and with a lot of other things!). I envy that you managed to make an entire outfit. I have not yet been so ambitious.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thank you!I’m still amazed about making a co-ordinating an outfit too, it definitely took a lot of restraint not to turn that purple fabric into a dress. I just love the Banksia, do you get heaps of wear out of your red one (love it!)?

  • sallie oleta barbeewrote:

    These are such great pieces!! I love a mixable and matchable wardrobe (I also love some statement dresses, but lets be practical here…) these look like they will get so much wear!

    Also, I must say – I love these pictures – the depth of focus is great and you get a feel for the environment while still focusing on the clothes – ahhh! The perfect combo! I’ll keep striving for it…

    • sallie oleta barbeewrote:

      also – what kind of torture is crossfit class!!!! sounds horrid. never do it again. doctor’s orders.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Sallie. Yes I’ll be sticking to vigorous hand stitching from now on. No more Crossfit. I’ll take flaccid useable arms over guns any day. Photos are so tricky, sometimes you make something really nice and it doesn’t photograph well. But I feel very fortunate to have a brother with skills and a beaut camera who is willing (for now) to take these photos.

  • kristinwrote:

    ha! t-rex arms! this outfit is beautiful, and as always fits you so well. you work the camera, lady!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Aw tanks Kristin! I think I’ve got over pulling silly poses in public places. Quite liberating actually!

  • Leah Franquiwrote:

    So. Cute! The first time I did a bootcamp class I limped for a week. My legs felt like they were on fire and I literally fell out of bed in the mornings. Yeah. But I kept doing it and now it’s just mildly painful on day 2 and by day 3 I’m a fairly normal human again.

    SO. CUTE. Why are you trying to force me to spend more money on patterns> Obviously I need both of these patterns. That’s just a give in right now.

    I think the dart needs to line up with the apex of the bust point. So if, on your paper pattern, you can hold it up to your body and identify the apex, you can re-draft the dart to work with that apex. It’s worked for me with my typical full bust adjustment, so far! Though I’m no expert, of course…


    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      YES…the fire. It just burns. Arms are bad but legs are worse…stairs..toilet. Well good on you for sticking it out past the burny bits.

      YES…you would possibly love the Banksia a lot. I think you should definitely impulse buy this one. Today.

  • Christina Lowrywrote:

    Fabrics and patterns were both fantastic choices. Your outfit has inspired a fit of envy in me! I do believe I need to buy that blouse pattern at the very least. 🙂

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Sewing envy! Oh I am familiar. I can’t recommend the Banksia enough, though watch the bust darts. It’s a great breast feeding top too, comfy, easy access through the placket and makes you feel purty…

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      That info was in case you are breastfeeding your bubba…I just made an assumption!

  • ooobop.comwrote:

    Gorgeous ensemble. I had quite forgotten about the Jenny pencil. Its a fabulous style and one which is firmly on my project list now. Thank you for the lovely inspiration!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thankyou! I think it will turn out to be a wardrobe staple. One of those pieces that’s just a great shape, and neutral enough to go with heaps of things.

  • Paunnetwrote:

    Gorgeous outfit!
    It was clever to ease the neckline when you inserted the collarof the Banksia.
    Your Jenny is gorgeous! I made one last year and wear it all the time. Although I must say I used a knit as well but didn’t bother to sew neither a zipper nor a slit, and it still works perfectly!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Oh I’ll take ‘clever’, even though it was more like lazy because I couldn’t be bothered adjusting the pattern. I saw your Jenny and that’s such an obvious thing now that you wouldn’t need a zip / slit with a stretch fabric. The slit kind of annoys me when I walk, because of the weight of the fabric, so I might just sew it up. Thanks for the tip!

  • Johannawrote:

    Sooo pretty! I’ve never been much a blouse person, but seeing ones like this make me want to make more!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Aw thanks Johanna. You ‘do’ blouses pretty damn well for someone who’s not much into them!

  • Mrs Biddlewrote:

    I love love love this blouse. A gorgeous pattern and truly amazing fabric. So jealous of that find. Lovely lovely. x

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Mrs B! Haha I thought you might like this floral, I think we have similar taste somehow. Nothing like a bit of thrift envy…I’ve got my fingers crossed a brilliant fabric find is just around the corner for you 😉

  • mjbwrote:

    My serger scares me too! I changed the settings to “gather” some knit fabric last summer, and had to completely re-thread and adjust the tension from scratch to use it last week. Never again! Using any setting but the basic one is more than I can handle at this point, I think.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Oh that is reassuring to know I’m not alone in my serger fear. I’m super impressed that you worked out the tension yourself.

  • Heather Louwrote:

    Really digging your Jenny. I did mine in cashmere wool and it’s too warm to wear now (and maybe too short??)And LURVE that collar necklace – did you DIY? I’ve been meaning to make something similiar but I can never find gold chain that looks properly aged. It’s always too yellowy gold and cheap looking.

  • Inder-ificwrote:

    Gorgeous! I’ve been eyeing both of these patterns (or I was before I got pregnant, anyway – pencil skirts do not appeal to me right now), and you’ve made them both up beautifully.

    I generally have to lower bust darts, and often have to do a FBA. Lowering the darts is the easy part – you can mark the apex, cut the dart out and literally move it to where you want it, use tissue paper to fill the gap, and redraw the side seam. But often when darts are too I think you need a FBA as well, and that’s more work (but tutorials abound).

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Well I reckon you should line up a couple of Banksia’s for post pregnancy. Your floral Violet was so lovely, and I’m finding the Banksia much more flattering than Violet…so I’m sure you’d love the fit of Banksia even better. Thanks for the bust dart tip, I’m going to give it a go!

  • Trulawrote:

    Wonderful. And your comments on re-threading made me smile. I absolutely agree, it takes bravery to open a serger 🙂

  • Stephaniewrote:

    You make the cutest pieces. I love them both. Ha! You made the adult decision, but I really think you could probably just wear a wiggle dress everyday. Right?? That pattern is high on my list after seeing yours. So is Jenny.

    I was terrified of my serger for a really long time and blamed issues on the fact that it’s an inexpensive model rather than the real culprit – user error. Now we’re good friends.

  • Lesliewrote:

    Lovely! I really like your top. I just bought the Banksia pattern and I was looking through Flickr for inspiration where I found your photo. Great job.

  • Eva Fraserwrote:

    This comment is a bit late but I totally LOVE this outfit! I just bought both patterns immediately! I love love love your blog, your photos and your style!! Thanks for making something so inspirational and enjoyable to browse (your blog!). Can’t wait to see the progress of the bombshell swimsuit!

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