If you search #ogdencami on Instagram you’ll see close to 13,000 posts. That’s a huge amount in any sphere, but for a sewing pattern that seems crazy big numbers Only a few other indie patterns can claim that - I haven’t done the research but let’s just go with that assumption!
In case you haven’t come across it (and if not, where have you been?!) the Ogden Camisole is a simple top released in July 2016 by True Bias, the pattern company run by the supremely lovely and talented Kelli Ward.
The reasons for the Ogden’s success are obvious. It’s simple to make, there are no darts and therefore minimal fitting issues, it’s immensely flattering - the front and back necklines are just the perfect V - and it’s endlessly customisable.
I totally appreciate a skinny-strapped, fairly revealing camisole and the ensuing bra dilemma, is not something that everyone chooses or feels comfortable wearing and I hope not to offend by waxing lyrical here. That said, it’s so versatile, I would imagine one could widen the straps to provide more coverage and make it more bra friendly. And, I’ve seen many people wearing a dress version with a tee underneath, which looks all kinds of cool. Sadly that is a look I cannot pull off / find immensely uncomfortable.
For someone who very rarely repeats a pattern, at this point I have made 7 (3 for other people) camis and 1 dress. For the top I always make the facing a full lining so that it is just an inch shorter than the shell. The lining as drafted hits me right in the middle of the boob and is not pretty. I lengthen the straps due to my long torso and that’s it. I’ve used silk, linen, cotton lawn, viscose and voile. You can literally use any woven fabric. Even denim might be fun. And you can wear them with ANYTHING.
On the bra thing - I have some surprisingly comfortable strapless affairs which I generally wear with them, but another element of the drafting genius is that the straps are positioned such that you can wear a regular bra underneath and not show too much of it. If, like me, sometimes you just don’t care about stuff like that. Pretty bras don’t get enough airtime frankly.
For me, in the summer, I pretty much wear nothing other than my Ogdens.
I run super cold in the winter and super hot in the summer. During July and August I can’t bear wearing anything with sleeves and like to have as much access to the limited NYC breeze on my skin as possible. For the cooling factor I should add.
I do have to say that every single time I make it I end up having to unpick the straps as I ALWAYS get them twisted, but that’s me being useless, no fault of the pattern. Other than that it’s a cinch. Plus it is such a good use of leftover fabric, especially if you are paranoid about not having enough fabric so frequently order more than needed. The spotty cami below I wear more frequently than the top for which I originally bought the fabric.
For the dress version I made, I didn’t want to line it so bound the neckline instead - which definitely helped with the strap twisting issue, but was mega fiddly getting around those strap points. A detail of the construction of this below.
Aside from being a go-to cool and easy to wear option with shorts for the summer, it can also become a dress, pyjama top or underlayer. It can be cropped and a gathered skirt or ruffles added to the bottom, made into a faux jumpsuit with a pair of Ninni Culottes or whatever other pants pattern you desire or have tie straps - the possibilities are endless. I’ve even seen a maternity dress version. And I’ve cobbled together a version with buttons down the front.
It’s probably the most versatile pattern out there. (Again another hugely broad assumption!)
And if you haven’t given it a go, try it!
I think Kelli deserves some kind of award for ‘Services to the Sewing Community’. I’m not sure where we’d be, or at least, where I’d be without this pattern in my life.
See you soon x
PS: this is in no way sponsored etc by True Bias, I just believe good patterns should get the recognition they deserve, not least because of the huge amount of work that goes into getting them to us.