I have heard so much about the infamous Ogden Cami. Loved by sewists everywhere. Heralded as the ‘easy sew’, ‘flattering to all body shapes’, ‘a me-made wardrobe staple’ – how could I resist?! Well I am happy with my Ogden Cami, but it was not easy! Here is my Ogden Story.
For my birthday my lovely brother bought me fabric vouchers from John Lewis, and I couldn’t wait to spend them. Having ventured into sewing jersey with mixed success, I wanted to go back to basics and sew some cotton. After doing a bit of research I decided to buy some Cotton Poplin in a bottle green colour, and some navy Cotton Lawn. I decided the poplin was a bit too heavy for the Ogden Cami, so I went with the Cotton Lawn.
I bought the pdf pattern online and had my first pdf pattern experience of taping together all the separate sheets of paper. Our cat Momo absolutely LOVED it; she was chewing the tape out of the dispenser, trying to catch it before I could stick the pages together and sitting in all the most inconvenient places. I think I prefer paper patterns…!
I then took my measurements and compared to the pattern chart. It seemed I was a size 8 in everything apart from the chest (why couldn’t they just call it bust?); my chest measurement was much higher – about a size 12. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out doing a full bust adjustment again. I had tried it with my pyjamas vest top before but it didn’t quite work out right, and I was determined to learn how to do it. I also made some minor changes to the pattern – for the straps I just sewed a 1/8th inch seam allowance and turned them out, which meant they were wider than they would be if I’d followed the instructions. Also, the cotton lawn was a bit transparent so I decided to make the lining go all the way down to the hemline.
Turns out that doing a full bust adjustment (FBA) on the Ogden Cami is not easy! At least not for me – I ended up sewing four practise tops, yes I said four! Luckily I had an old sheet which we’d recently worn a hole in, so I had plenty of spare material.
Here’s the main issue I had: it’s a dartless pattern, which means that to do the FBA you need to first figure out where the bust point is. I watched loads of videos online but the majority assume the pattern already tells you where the bust point is. So for my first muslin (1) I decided to hold the pattern up to my chest and roughly pinpoint it, and then I did the full bust adjustment from there. I decided to add 1 inch to the half-pattern width, it was a bit less than my measurements said I needed (I should have added 3 inches to the whole width) but I wanted to be conservative and it said that the pattern had about a 1 inch ease so I thought I’d get away with it. Unfortunately this attempt was far too tight, I could barely get it on.
So for my second muslin (2) I just took the same pattern as before but increased the width to 1.5 inches. I tried it on but it was still too tight! I was really confused, and decided to give myself a break for a few days. When I came back to it and having tried the muslin on again, I decided that my bust point must have been too low and so for my third muslin (3) I did the FBA with a new bust point and with the 1.5 inch width. It still didn’t fit! This time it was clear that the darts were far too high on me, so the bust point was now too high.
After all of this effort, I finally found a tutorial video which shows you how to add a dart to a dartless bodice. So for my fourth and final muslin (4) I followed that video step-by-step and did exactly what they said and I got a good fit, hurrah! They use a slightly different method to position the dart to other videos I’ve seen, and it’s a really clear tutorial – I definitely recommend it if you’re full busted like me.
The final result:
When I had the fit sorted, the actual sewing was really easy. – so I agree that this is an easy sew for anyone who has a more standard bust size. I took the photos on my dummy which isn’t exactly my size (I still need to tweak it) – you’ll have to trust me that the fit is better on me. I am happy with this top and I’ll definitely wear it on hot summer days, but two things niggle me:
- The loose fit with the bust darts makes the cami look tent-like on me, and I think emphasises the size of the bust.
- The back doesn’t lie flat and I’m not sure why – the side seams are fairly vertical so I don’t think it relates to the bust adjustment. I think I probably need to do some sort of back adjustment, but I’ll leave that for another day.