Sewing: True Bias Ogden Cami in Japanese Linen

While most of America is thinking about wool and Goretex, this desert rat is thinking about linen, cotton lawn, and the impending Phoenix summer. Last year, we suffered the the most brutal summer in history–145 days of triple digits, 53 days over 110, and 14 days over 115, and only two days of measurable rain. 2021 is predicted to be worse. Climate change, weather patterns, and the heat bubble created by the city’s continued growth mean that the hot and dry summers will likely continue to intensify. Ugh.

I am anticipating another hot summer where I will be working from home and quarantining until I can be vaccinated (likely a bit later since I have an allergy to the mRNA vaccine). This means that I am thinking about lightweight, breathable clothing. The True Bias Ogden Cami perfectly fits the bill. Of all the indie pattern designers, True Bias is my favorite for the styles, the pattern constructions, and the detailed pattern instructions. It would be a great project for beginners.

It’s a simple pattern that I’ve sewn up a few times in the past and plan to work with many more times in the future. In this case, the fabric is a Japanese Nani IRO Kokka Naomi Ito Linen in the color grape-chocolate from MissMatatabi’s shop. (Did you know that linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant?) I used a Gutermann thread in Black (24357), simply because I was too lazy to switch out the thread from my last project. I added a woven “this is the back” label from Kylie and the Machine. Tools used include my Singer 6212C, my trusty Gingher scissors and snippers, (truly wonderous!) Wonder Clips, an iron, and seam ripper.

Some sewing wins include that this was my first time practicing French seams since my childhood sewing lessons, and I am swooning over how neat and clean the inside seams look. The color is spot-on, the fit is decent (more on that below), and I think it will become a summer staple, and the first of many Ogdens to be stitched up in 2021.

That begin said, there were a a few missteps with this project, as well as a few things I would adjust next time. First off, the linen shrunk substantially, so I had to rearrange the pattern and overlap portions to cut all of the pieces. It was a close call and I finished with hardly any scrap fabric remaining. Whew, crisis averted! Next, the step involving the straps was a little tricky and I ended up with a twisted strap (despite a reminder in the instructions to double-check), which requires some seam ripping and restitching. I did this twice before getting it right. Lesson learned: don’t sew in the evenings when you’re tired.

The sizing of the completed tank was just okay. I have a broad shoulders and a small bust, so I always have trouble with items put on over the head. I sewed up a size 6. Navigating into the tank was a bit tricky; once it was on, the bust area fit well and the lower body was a bit loose. In the future, I may play with the sizing, strap length, or possibly adding buttons or a zipper. I’ve seen many reviews that lament that the linen hits uncomfortably mid-boob. Thankfully this is not the case for me! The lining covers me up and makes bra-wearing fully optional. Perfect for those 125° days…

At the place where the body meets the straps, the sections are slightly asymmetrical due corrections involving the twisted strap, and possibly veering a bit too far out from the seam allowance. I was a bit lazy and my tailor’s chalk ran out, so didn’t mark the seam allowance this time. Oops!

Overall, I consider the project a success. Every one of the imperfections is a merely a result of my laziness or rushing. I have several cotton lawns that would hang similarly to linen and allow for some fun prints. I also want to try the Organ with a linen rayon blend or rayon challis, as I think the drapier look would be lovely. Finally, there are dozens of hacks to add strap ties, buttons, a peplum base, ruffles, or to turn the cami into a dress (or this babydoll dress) or jumpsuit. Let me tell you, I am here for it!

The True Bias Ogden Cami was one of the items on my 2021 Make Nine Challenge, so that’s one down and eight to go!

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