A True Bias Ogden Dress – for the hottest of hot days

The Christmas/New Year’s break is always hot here in South Australia, and this year has been no exception. We’ve had several days over 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), and that is definitely beyond my comfort zone when it comes to heat.

There are many great ways to cope here when it’s hot. Among other things, we spent 3 nights camping on the beachfront this year. The water was beautiful, the swimming very refreshing, and the people on the beach endlessly fascinating.

But once the mercury hits 40 degrees, it’s too hot for camping and it’s time to come home. Particularly when, as for the past few days, the heat is sustained and the overnight temperature doesn’t go below 30 degrees.

I was prepared this year with a new True Bias Ogden dress, which is exactly the same as the cami in the pattern, just with the side seams extended. I figured this would be cool, loose and completely un-restrictive. Just the thing I needed for hot weather.

I’d bought the fabric a while back, pre-washed and carefully dried it inside with my bamboo fabric which I’d previously made up here.

It’s a small-scale chevron printed rayon, which I thought would be useful and fairly neutral/wearable.

I was originally intending to make a Colette Myrtle Dress with it. But in the end the Ogden won out and in this heat I have been grateful for the tank style, and open back design.

I’m very glad I added a simple tied belt at the waist line. It is not very flattering without it. Not on me, anyway. These are the best of several awful photos of the unbelted dress. It just doesn’t work on my shape (which, to be fair, includes a 1″ FBA from the original pattern lines).

I’ve made this pattern up as a cami several times already – you’ll see a pink silk/linen version here, and a black silk version here. Based on those earlier versions, both of which are slightly too firm around the bust area, I have worked out that I need a size 14 with a 1″ FBA to get it to fit me ‘just right’.

So with the sizing already sorted out, this sew was very easy. Which was a good thing because my Springtime sewjo is well and truly spent, and simple sewing is the only thing that interests me at present. All up I sewed my Mum 5 dresses this year, and a dressing gown for my husband as well as the various things posted here on this blog. By the end of all of that, I was more or less ‘over it’. My next serious sewing spree is still a few months away I think.

The fit is great and ensures I now have plenty of room to stretch out and relax as I wait for the weather to cool down a little.

The only adjustment I really needed to make was to the length of the thing. I originally started with it quite long and have shortened it twice before being happy with the length. It is now a good length, just above the knee so it’s nice and cool but also easy to wear.

There are loads of Ogden dresses and camis showing up on Instagram here – check them out for more inspiration. My tips are to use a soft draping fabric and (if lengthening to a dress) consider including something to cinch in the waist.

This time I used a simple cloth belt with small belt keepers at each side seam. Next time I might put in a casing to insert either a cloth belt or elastic waist. Either way, the small bit of extra shape a belt of some kind provides is ‘just enough’ in my opinion, without interfering with the pattern’s overall comfort.

Here’s to a long hot Summer!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Siobhan S says:

    This heat has been a killer, hasn’t it? Your dress is perfect for summer, though. I just read Sew Busy Lizzy’s review of this pattern where she inserted elastic into a stitched-on bias casing – perhaps that would help you get that waist definition you are after, though to be honest, I really like it both belted and loose on you.


    1. That sounds great I will check out her post. I think that would be a bit better than the simple belt I did here, as the shape would be more stable. For this version I’m happy, but if I do it again I might take up this idea – thanks Siobhan!

      Liked by 1 person

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