Last Sewjourn I whipped up a mini Ogden cami for Clare. (Side note: whenever I type ‘whipped up’ I smile. What a funny expression to use in a sewing context! And although the implication that whatever is ‘whipped up’ is done in a frenzy, I didn’t rush my way through this. It’s just not a complicated garment; there are very few pattern pieces, and no tricky finishing techniques).
The fabric is printed woven rayon came from Rathdowne Fabrics and was left over from another project. This is the Mini Ogden cami, sewn in size 10 which was the largest size. I doubted that Clare would be a girls size 10, but the chest measurement looked like it would work, and from past experience I knew that for this pattern I needed to select the size based on circumferential measurements.
The first thing that I had to do when she tried it on was re-cut the straps. As designed, the size 10 straps were WAY too short for her height. I cut out and sewed a new set of straps, adding about four inches to the length, then attached them where they best lined up with her bra straps. I’m old fashioned in that way – I prefer underwear to be covered rather than exposed (unless it’s brightly coloured and worn with an outer garment that suggests it is clearly meant for exposure).
Now to me there wasn’t enough boob room in the front of the cami. Yes, it fits, in that it goes around her and isn’t skin tight, but the underarm seams are digging in. Time to pull out the adult version of the pattern and give it another go.
The above diagram is the mini Ogden. The adult version is a little different, which you can see in it’s line diagram below.
The adult version has a front and back lining piece (it comes down as far as under the bust) and there is no elastic in the back. Rather, it has a gently curved V neckline like the front. After checking out the measurements for the adult version I knew that I’d need to sew a muslin. Clare really needed a size somewhere between the size 10 girls (designed for a 28.5 inch chest) and the size 0 women’s (designed for a 32 inch chest). I found some fabric in the stash, printed and cut out the size 0, and sewed up a wearable muslin. Then made just-awake Clare try it on with her pyjama bottoms.
The fabric is printed cotton from deep stash – maybe originally from Spotlight. It’s not as soft and drapey as the rayon I used for the mini Ogden. I used some plain white fabric I found elsewhere in stash for the partial lining, which was much softer and was possibly rayon.
Now as you can see, the fit of the women’s cami here is WAY better than the mini Ogden. However, as I’d anticipated, the neckline was much too wide and the shoulder straps were too far apart. Clare felt really exposed in this version and wanted more chest coverage. Interestingly, that’s how I felt in the Ogden cami that I made ages ago. When we pinned out a chunk along the centre front and centre back, everything seemed much better. I cut out a second version of the cami, this time from rayon, but after having folded out 5/8 inch along the centre ‘on the fold’ edge. Yes, I did remember to do this to the lining pieces as well as the front and back pieces! In total this removed two and a half inches from the total circumference of the pattern, while retaining the side seam shaping and the overall neckline shaping.
Apparently this is drafted for a C cup bust – which Clare doesn’t have. However, I didn’t do a SBA. Once change at a time! And as it turns out, I didn’t need to. This version fitted so much better!
This alteration also raised the neckline a bit at both the front and the back. Clare was really pleased with it. Not sure that the fabric colour is the best for Clare – her skin tone blends into it a bit – but she’s already wearing it quite a lot! She chose to wear it for her early 16th birthday party celebrations (January birthdays often mean that friends are all away at party time, so we chose to have a pre-Christmas celebration this year).
You can see how much better that armhole fit is. The back is deep, but finishes above her bra. Bra straps are still exposed a little bit, but not dramatically so, and the cami straps are in a comfortable place on her shoulders.
We’re really pleased with the fit of this cami now, and have fabric queued to sew more. I might even give this pattern another go for myself with similar alterations (cut a larger size than I did last time, then move the pattern piece across to shift the neckline and strap position). Clare is also keen for me to sew it as a slip dress. I have a feeling that this will be a very useful garment in the teen wardrobe over this Australian summer.