Ogden Omnibus

This summer has been sweltering in London – but us Brits haven’t mentioned it all, have we..?  I suddenly found myself with very little summer appropriate clothing and turned to the trusty Ogden cami pattern to solve my dilemma.  In one weekend alone, I made 5 Ogdens. Can you believe?  Here’s a quick round-up, showing how versatile the Ogden can be:

1. Ogden/Ida Swap 

Jen (@jenlegg4) and Laura (@cottonreelstudio) ran a great sewing exchange challenge this year in the Ogden/Ida swap.  You’re paired up with another sewist somewhere in the world and you have to make them an Ogden cami or an Ida clutch or both.  I opted for both, and my person to sew for was Laura herself.  Noting her love for patterned fabric, I decided to sew up an Ogden in some navy blue fabric with white birds all over it.

Photo courtesy of @cottonreelstudio (because I stupidly forgot to take a picture before sending!)

Now one of my least favourite parts of an Ogden is under-stitching the facing – it’s just so fiddly.  To over come this, sometimes I just stitch the main fabric and the facing together, about 1 cm from the neckline.  For Laura’s version, I decided to use a fancy embroidery stitch on my Bernina and I really like how it turned out.

Photo courtesy of @cottonreelstudio (because I stupidly forgot to take a picture before sending!)

The Ida I also sent Laura was made out of suede my aunt gave me, and the lining (also patterned birds) was a remnant from one of my favourite fabric shops (Madjaks in Shere).  The zip was inherited from my grandmother (a master seamstress in her day), so it cost me next to nothing to put this together.

In return I received from Merri a beautiful Ogden in a tie dye like print (so very me!).

She also sent a beautiful Ida with a cute bee on the zip, and some handmade earrings – cannot get over how lovely these are.

2. Ogden dress hack 1.0

I had some fabric left over from the Ogden I made Laura as part of the Ogden swap, so decided to make myself a dress version.  Now, listen, this is a lesson in a) pre-washing fabric, and b) allowing for a bit more length lest your make become indecent in retrospect.

I now wear this dress as a nightie, and honestly, I needed more nightwear suitable for the hot weather, so it’s a welcome addition to my wardrobe.  I also had a tiny bit of the fabric left after that and made a cropped version of the Ogden to go with high waisted jeans/skirts.

3. Ogden dress hack 2.0 

I love an Instagram destash; (fellow millennials ignore this section, but for the sake of my dear mum eventually reading this..) this typically involves a sewist selling their spare fabric on Instagram to others who might get better use of it.  To me, it’s a great, sustainable way of sourcing fabric – you’re not creating additional demand for fabric, and you’re taking it off another sewist’s hands.

The fabric for this Ogden dress fabric came from @timetosew ‘s destash account (@makeyourstashdestash) on Instagram, and cost just £5 plus postage (the fiver went to charity too!).

I got a metre of Lady McElroy cotton, and I decided to see if I could squeeze out an Ogden dress.  Honestly – a cotton dress was all I wanted to be wearing this summer!  I really like how this turned out – I kept it midi length, and always wear a belt with it to cinch it in.

4. Ogden dress hack 3.0 

My final ogden dress hack used an elasticated waist (to eradicate the need for a belt).  I used a remnant I found at the aforementioned Madjaks, which ended up being just a metre of cotton printed with daisies.

I cut a bodice, finishing on the lengthen/shorten line.  I then cut two rectangles out of the remaining fabric I had, sewed the two together and created a channel to thread the elastic through.

I love how this turned out, but I did have to be pretty careful about the placement of the daisies…!

5. Silk Cami + Old Zara Top = A+ Ogden 

A sewing fail of mine that hasn’t been documented on the blog was a white Sew Over It Silk Cami I made earlier this year.  Its problem was that the fabric was quite sheer so you could see the facing underneath – not ideal.

Failed Silk Cami

I also had a RTW top from Zara that I bought online in the sale a few years ago and have never worn, for a couple of reasons: 1) it’s sheer, and 2) it’s too big.

RTW Zara top

I decided to see if I could combine these two fails into something usable.  Given the little fabric I had to play with, I settled on the trusty Ogden – surprise, surprise!

The Silk Cami ended up being the underlayer (omitting facings) and the lace from the Zara top went over the top.  I added ribbons for ties, because I didn’t have enough of the fabric to make my own.

I really love how this turned out, and I’ve had so much more wear out of it than the other two garments combined!

6. 2 x Refashioned Ogdens

My flatmate had a clear out of her wardrobe before we moved into our current place (last September!) and I’ve only just got round to refashioning a couple of skirts she decided weren’t for her anymore.

Both were short skirts with multiple rows of elasticated gathers.  I unpicked the rows of gathers during a viewing of Iron Man, and used the Ogden pattern to refashion them into more wearable tops.  I didn’t quite have enough of the main fabric for the facings, so I used a contrasting fabric I had in my stash.

The main lesson I’ve learnt with the Ogden over the past few months – if you don’t think you have enough fabric, you probably do if you make the facing or straps from a different, complementary material.  I kept the original hem from the skirts for ease (read: laziness).  I also used some ribbon for the straps because a) it was easier, and b) I didn’t quite have enough of the main fabric to make my own straps.


Overall that makes 8  Ogden camis made by me (and one made for me).  Wow, I definitely love this pattern.  It’s so versatile and quick to sew, I’d definitely recommend it.  My next challenge is to try and widen the straps to make it work appropriate!


3 thoughts on “Ogden Omnibus

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  1. These all look so lovely and cool! I ran into the same problem lengthening the Ogden – I’m not tall but my first try at a dress was, erm, not long. Perfect summer nightdress though. 🙂 Such a clever use of refashioning on yours, too!

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