The Unblogged – Grainline Willow Tank and True Bias Ogden Cami

As 2016 rapidly disappears, I’m determined to clear some of my projects out of my head and into the blog. So expect a slight rush of posts before I disappear again for a while.

I view my blog as a documentation of my makes and my sewing journey – I’ve frequently been sorry I haven’t blogged a few things as when I go back to a pattern I have no notes of the changes or size I may have made.

So for record-keeping sake for me (selfish blogging)… here are the Grainline Studio Willow Tank/Dress and the True Bias Ogden Cami.

No time for photos and I don’t think they really merit the time required, particularly since the Willow feels like a work-in-progress.

Most of my blog photos are taken while walking my dogs on the beach, however I simply haven’t had the time to be so organised to be achieving multiple things at once this year. And sometimes… I just don’t want a photo of ‘tired me’ on record.

True Bias Ogden Cami

I really don’t feel the need to write an epic blog post about the Ogden Cami as it has been blogged everywhere – and generally received a tsunami of universe love. With good reason. It’s simplicity can make it a very versatile winner if it’s your sort of thing and the dartless fit works for you. It must be said, I’ve seen several add darts to this pattern with great success.

Odgen Cami by True Bias.

Ogden Cami. Hot off the machine.

I’ve sewn this up with some leftovers from this skirt.

I made this ages ago and tried it on before I understitched the facings… the fit seemed a little too tight under my arms and across my upper bust. I assigned it to the naughty basket, upset to have wasted about $1 worth of leftover ‘op shop’ vintage fabric that I loved but felt unable to throw it out. Ridiculous but true.

I rescued it this week, understitched the facings and then pressed and pressed it… and for some reason… perhaps different underwear choice (!), the fit is much better and I now adore it. Another pretty little top to wear in summer with my favourite scruffy jeans. Lesson learnt: don’t give up too early!

Odgen Cami by True Bias

Ogden Cami ‘out in the wild’ sneak retail store mirror shot while Christmas shopping

I opted to just overlock/serge the lining lower raw edge and use a narrow hem on the outer hemline.

Described on the True Bias site as “The Ogden Cami is a simple blouse that can either be worn on its own or as a layering piece under blazers and cardigans. It has a soft V neck at both center front and center back necklines, and delicate spaghetti straps. The neckline and armholes are finished with a partial lining for a beautiful, high-end finish.”

And the suggested fabrics are “Light weight woven fabrics such as crepe, rayon challis, voile, and lightweight linen.”

Like so many before me, I do really like this pattern. I do struggle to tell the front from the back – which based on responses to my instagram post is a common theme and it’s agood idea to mark the back with the label or some stitches. I’m sure I have it on backwards in the above photo… no one noticed… so wear it however you fancy I say!

Pattern: Ogden Cami, by True Bias
Size: 0
Fabric: Vintage cotton I purchased for $3 from the op shop. It was only about 1m wide. I’m not sure whether it has a bit of rayon in it, or perhaps all rayon and maybe some polyester. Whatever it is, it’s cool to wear with nice drape and oh so pretty.

Grainline Willow Tank/Dress

I purchased this on impulse when I succumbed to the Penny Raglan. And also thought at the time… “Did I just pay that for a basic woven top pattern?”. However for me, Grainline is a good buy. Solid, reliable basics that are always in high rotation for everyday wear. Not necessarily ‘exciting’ sewing but highly wearable pieces that always seem to come together with little effort or fiddling.

The Grainline Willow Tank is described as “…fitted at the shoulders and falls into a relaxed fit below the bust. It’s unfussy and can be made into a dress or a tank top…  Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, darts, hemming and applying bias facing. Pattern is nested to facilitate cutting between sizes if needed.

Suggested fabrics are: “Light to medium weight fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk, crepe de chine, charmeuse, voile, chambray, etc.”

Both my attempts at the Willow Tank have been made in leftover pieces of linen.

Willow Tank, pattern by Grainline Studio.

Willow Tank, pattern by Grainline Studio. My first attempt in a rayon/linen blend from Lincraft

I made my first Willow back in July!

The darts on my first Willow are at least 1/2inch, if not more, too low. Despite this, I do prefer the fit of this one compared the second Willow (below) as this linen is a linen/rayon blend and the fabric drapes in a slightly softer fashion. So much more forgiving of the low darts. Despite the slightly-off fit, I’ve worn it several times as it’s so darn pretty and a perfect partner to scruffy jeans on the weekend. It’s leftover from my Grainline Morris Blazer which I adore and love to wear.

Willow Tank, pattern by Grainline Studio

Willow Tank, take 2. Floral lightweight linen from The Fabric Store

The second I whipped up in a lightweight linen, leftovers from a Vogue dress I finished up tonight after dinner with some hand stitching. I shifted the darts up 1/2inch however I think they need to be higher. I simply folded up the excessive between the dart and armhole so as not to impact on the armhole size and did likewise on the back piece.

As this linen has less drape, despite being a finer fabric than my first Willow, it’s far more tentlike on me. My eldest daughter loves it, mainly because the fabric is so pretty I think. So perhaps I’m being too fussy… it’s been known to happen! Maybe paired with some skinny jeans or shorts I will feel differently.

Willow Bias Finishes

I used to hate bias finished neckline and armholes, however I am very pleased with the finish on these. They are lying beautifully flat and neat.

I did sew the bias stripes end to end with a 20mm seam, rather than the 4mm (1/4 inch) seam as directed. I found them a little long and I like to stretch them a little to fit as I find they sit flatter when finished – in my experience anyway. This does really depend on your fabric choice and the stretch of the bias though!

You do need patience to achieve a nice neat finish with bias strip finishes – and it’s worth it. I find it easier to press the edge of the bias stripe that will be turned to the inside before I attach the other edge to the neck or armhole. I find it’s easier to achieve a more consistent width of the bias tape –and avoids iron-steamed finger tips!

I whipped this one up on a Sunday morning.

Pattern: Grainline Studio, Willow Tank Dress
Size: 0
Fabrics: rayon/linen blend from Lincraft (blue/white) and lightweight linen from The Fabric Store (blue/khaki/white/yellow).

Final Thoughts

I love having these patterns that use minimal fabric lengths. I think there are a few more people out there with an ever-growing stash of fabric scraps that seem too big to throw out yet too little for another project.

I’m trying to make these little tops and whatnot with the ‘leftovers’ as I’m sewing other dresses or skirts to ensure I don’t end up with piles of short lengths that never get used for anything. It’s too easy to move onto the next project rather than tying up the ‘loose ends’ of the leftover pieces. Not to mention the fact if you whip up a little top in the same fabric you don’t need to change your machine threads!

I think they are also excellent for those irresistible remanent bin purchases and indulging in some gloriously expensive fabric as you don’t need much.

Not everything we sew needs to be a dress.



12 thoughts on “The Unblogged – Grainline Willow Tank and True Bias Ogden Cami

  1. Nice pretty useful summer tops. I like using bias for simple summer dresses or tops. I just fought with some facings for about 2 hours then gave up and made some quick bias and bang.. done.
    I hope you get a break between Christmas and New Year Lizzy… safe and sunny.

  2. Thanks for all this info. I’ve always felt grainline patterns were too expensive for what they are — simple basics. However, I’m getting closer to changing my mind. I like the look of their new farrow.

    • I totally understand why people might feel that way. I used to as well. Then I made the Alder dress and wore it constantly.
      They are quite expensive patterns but I always think if a particular designer or company works for you then it’s money well spent. I also love how these PDF patterns supply as an A0 sheet option. The opportunity to avoid sticking together endless A4 sheets is worth it alone to me.

  3. I don’t blog everything I make as I always think it’s too boring for readers and yet I love reading about other people’s more basic creations as it gives me ideas. And so it was with yours. You have the perfect shape for these garments and look as stunning in them as you do your more complex makes. As always, thank you for sharing and I hope you have a restful and peaceful Christmas and new year.

    • I’ve always thought the same and then sometimes I wished I’d written notes about what I’d done to a garment. So why not do that here, plus I agree, when I’m going to make something I always Google and it can be frustrating when you can find many examples or information on a pattern because it’s clearly been deemed too boring to share. However it seems I sometimes like boring.
      I love a challenging sew however equally simplicity can be perfect some days.

  4. I love basics – I’m always keen to read about what others make, what makes them work in terms of fabric choices etc. the Ogden is definitely on my list. I considered the willow but I’m pretty happy with my Tessuti Kate tanks! These look great and I like your idea of whipping up something out of leftovers straight up.

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