Ogden Tank

Once again I am here to share with you an okay piece of sewing. Today’s solidly acceptable offering is the True Bias Odgen cami, but I’ve made some changes that round this grade-A pattern down to a B+.

I’ve sewn 8 regular Ogden camis in various states of cropped-ness from full length to very brief. They’re all keepers. I’ve replaced the straps and mended the neckline points on a couple where they wore out, because I didn’t want to lose them from my summer rotation. It’s a simple and extremely wearable pattern that I like it a lot.

That said, sometimes I want to cover my shoulders (variety is the spice of shoulders!) and since I really liked the loose body and depth of the v-necks in this pattern I hoped I could use it as a tank base. A really well-fitting shell is my Holy Grail of basic patterns. This isn’t it. It’s more of a Prosaic Grail. It’s wearable, it’s comfortable, it’s the exact definition of “fine”.

But if you’re filled with a burning and/or yearning for an okay tank of your own, read on!

My first step was to put on one of my existing Ogdens and ask Professor Boyfriend to place a pin in the strap where it sat on the high point of my shoulder. My ideal finished Ogden strap length is 6.5”, and that divided surprisingly neatly into 2.75” in the front and 3.75” in the back. I also put a ruler on my shoulder (long-ways from neck to arm, or proximal-to-distal if you’re feeling anatomical) and looked at it in the mirror to estimate the angle of my shoulder slope.

I then retraced the pattern, but I didn’t cut it out. The strap attachment point is marked on the pattern. On the front piece, starting from that point, I drew a vertical line parallel to the center front that was 2.75” long. On the back that line was 3.75”.

The original finished strap is a scanty ½” wide, so I marked ½” centered on that line. I wanted my straps to be thicker; I added ¼” to the outer edge and 1.5” to the inner edge (arbitrary or carefully judged? You decide!).

I also added a thin acute triangle to the top of each strap based on my shoulder slope estimation, then ½” seam allowance. Finally, I blended the neckline and armscye curves into the new straps.

I also cut new facing pattern pieces with the updated neckline, but I didn’t modify anything else about them. I’m content with the length of the internal boob curtain (I’ve read reports of it cutting across some breasts oddly, but it works for me). Now I just had to sew the thing!

I staystitched the necklines and then used the burrito method to finish the neck and arms. Historically I’ve struggled with that technique, but this lightweight swiss dot was nice and thin so it was unusually easy.

 I understitched the neckline but the armscye edges seemed to behave themselves without it, so I skipped it (I was also running out of black thread, which may have weighed in the decision).

The tank was almost done after that – French seam the side seams, hem the outer and facing, bada-boom. Construction is all good. Fit? Eh. It looks like I could stand to pinch a dart out of the armscyce, but darts do not feature in my fantasy tank pattern (as a member of the IBTC I feel strongly that if I don’t wanna I shouldn’t hafta). The “v”s also look a little “u”-ish to my eyes, as a consequence of adjusting those curves, I guess. The straps obviously can’t sit any further out though.  

I really can’t get too heated either way. It’s fine! It’s a comfortable shirt and it’s breezy and it’s fine. It’s abundantly, undeniably fine. It might be cuter knotted at the waist. I am falling asleep trying to care. I’ve got a smallish piece of this fabric left, and it might be enough for the outer pieces of another proper Ogden cami, which I’m sure would get used because this imperfect version is already highly wearable. I’d have to buy more black thread, though. Quelle horreur!

Separately, I got this little hat from the Buy Nothing and I think I like it. Let me be a you person, hats!

Soon my fall sewing will begin. O_O Now that I can get excited about.

Pattern: True Bias Odgen cami, with changes

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 6 bust, 8 waist and hips

Supplies: 1.5 yards black swiss dot cotton, Sewfisticated, $7.49; thread from stash

Total time: 2.75 hours

Total cost: $7.49

Summer of Love, Part Five: Farewell, My Lovely

This is my final post in the Summer of Love series. I decided to include one more outfit – not one that got worn publicly much, but one I made just for me!

Luckily I only travelled locally for the weddings etc., but when I did spend a night away from home, I wanted to wear something a bit more fun than my everyday jimjams (I had a sort of instinct that my usual grey tee/sweatpants combo wasn’t maximum festive). Rare Device has a lovely post on investing in the clothes you wear when you’re by yourself, and while self love or care has been monetized almost past recognition, I thought my celebratory PJs were still worthy of being the finale of my Summer of Love. Not to mention I spent several weekends after the binge lounging around and recovering my social appetite and you know I spent that time in pajamas!

This post is a little disingenuous though – because while I made this robe/nightie combo last summer, I didn’t make the robe really truly wearable until the Sewcialists announced the Over/Under theme month. So 1. Oops and 2. Hooray!

The pattern is Seamwork Almada, and I fell for it immediately on its release. Many robes seem to be a collection of rectangles, but I thought the Almada looked like an Erté illustration, like an elegant twenties egg. I also loved the double gauze Seamwork used for their sample. It took me a while to make this pattern since it called for 3 ½ yards of fabric, and I was saving my credit card cashback rewards until I had enough for the big dog – Nani Iro! This is a fabric from her (their?) Rakuen collection.

I sewed a size large, originally with no changes. I was surprised at the Seamwork directions; I assumed that a pattern that called for luxurious fabrics would also call for fine finishing. Especially given that it only has four seams, I would have recommended French seams. They didn’t, but I used them anyway! I also invisibly hand-sewed the bias binding that finishes the opening – easy to do on double gauze, because you can just pick up the inner layer with your needle.    

My favorite homemade bias binding is from this super-soft grey-green-khaki cotton that goes with absolutely everything.

I needed every inch of my yardage – that’s how I ended up with the printed selvage visible inside one sleeve cuff!

I swanned around in my finished robe from time to time, admiring the fabric, but I didn’t use it much as a practical thing. The ties were placed low and wide, buuut so are my hips. The robe required too much arranging and tugging and still wouldn’t stay shut. I wore it as intended for wedding travel because inconsistent coverage was better than none, but after a year of non-use, I FINALLY unpicked and reattached the ties. And only because of Over/Under month!

Half an hour of sewing to move the ties six inches up and six inches towards the center, and now my fancy robe finally fits!

Double gauze is soft and vibrant, it’s like wearing a whisper, and it’s generally easy to sew. When topstitching, however, a friend of mine described it as “like sewing bread”.

Not my neatest sewing ever, but eulalia! I can wear it now!

On the other hand, there’s almost nothing to the nightie – no special saving for fabric, no long-awaited sew, no last-minute rescue. Just a 7” lengthened Ogden cami from leftover fabric I didn’t have quite enough of to make daywear. It’s my all-time favorite summer nightgown.

Love strikes willy-nilly!

Thus concludes my Summer of Love! See you soon, I hope, for more everyday dressing. : )

Previous Summer of Love: here (part one), here (part two), here (part three), and here (part four).

Pattern:  Seamwork Almada

Pattern cost: $3

Size: L, with the ties moved

Supplies: 3.5 yards Nani Iro Gauze in Rakuen Flower, Etsy, $69.20; thread from stash

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $72.20

Pattern: Ogden cami

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 8 at bust, 14 at hip

Supplies: leftover rayon poplin from stash, thread from stash

Total time: 2.25 hours

Total cost: $0.00