Sophie Hines Axis Tank

Summer Sewing: Ogden Cami, Axis Tank, Shorts, a Sleeveless Top, and My New Favorite Mask Pattern

My sewjo’s back! At least for now. After I spent late winter into spring and summer… lethargic, shall we say, in terms of creativity, it’s been refreshing to feel inspired to sew something other than the umpteenth mask. (More on my favorite mask pattern below!)

It seems like folks handled their extra time at home starting in March in one of two ways:

  1. “Now that the world’s slowed down, I finally have time to tackle [XYZ creative project] and I’m going to pour my soul into it!”
  2. “Have the days somehow gotten shorter and more stressful? Even though I now work from home full time?! Can’t wait to sink into my couch after work and watch another mindless hour of [reality TV show (RHONY for me)].”

Of course, I’m generalizing. My husband and I have been lucky enough to keep our nonessential jobs and I’m very, very grateful for that. And we don’t have any kids to wrangle/teach/keep alive! But I couldn’t bring myself to sew anything but masks for weeks, and eventually I became fatigued even with that.

Then one hot weekend in June, I felt a spark of inspiration. I had some floaty linen leftover from the Negroni Shirt I made for Marc’s wedding present and figured it’d be a great match for the Ogden Cami. I sewed a wearable muslin in 2018 but hadn’t gotten around to making a “real” version, despite this pattern popping up in my feed constantly—there are more than 18,000 posts using the #ogdencami tag!

I could have finished this simple top in a day, from cutting out the fabric to the final press, but I took my time to avoid putting pressure (… like ANY pressure) on myself. And guess what: The less pressure I felt, the more time I wanted to spend sewing. After I finished the cami, I felt revived and made this chicken-scratch list with a few more summer sewing goals:

Three items = very manageable.

I’m good at making to-do lists when it comes to my day job, but I struggle with writing down my personal goals. Let me tell you, scribbling those messy check marks felt SO GOOD.

And without further ado, here are the makes!

Linen Ogden Cami

  • Pattern: True Bias Ogden Cami
  • Fabric: Merchant and Mills linen from Oak Fabrics, rayon bemberg lining from Denver Fabrics (sold out)
  • Size/Alterations: 10 at the underarm side seams tapered to an 8 at the waist and hips, added 1″ of length at the waist
  • The Verdict: In linen, this is pretty much the perfect top for hot summer days. If you haven’t already made one, give it a shot!

Axis Racerback Tank

  • Pattern: Sophie Hines Axis Tank, view 3
  • Fabric: Bamboo jersey (66% Bamboo, 28% Cotton, 6% Spandex) from Oak Fabrics
  • Size: Medium
  • The Verdict: Love it! Sophie Hines designed this tank as lingerie, but clearly lots of people are wearing it as a top and activewear, too. The body of the tank sews up FAST since it only has shoulder seams and one back seam. If you’ve made a knit top before with bindings, then this will be a piece of cake. I used my serger for everything, which means the seam allowance was 3/8″ instead of 1/4″ but it turned out fine. The directions call for you to use a three-step zig zag to stitch the bindings down, but I ignored that. If I make this to wear as a top again, I’ll probably add length and redraw the armhole curve to increase the coverage—even my lil bralette peeks out the side a bit. I also made a scoop-neck version in a rust rib-knit, but I should have made the bands a lot shorter since they are a little gapey. Every knit has a mind of its own, so I’ll probably baste next time like Jasika suggests!

Shorts with a Knit Fold-over Waistband

  • Pattern: Shorts from the 4/2020 issue of Burda Easy Magazine
  • Fabric: Double gauze from Oak Fabrics for the main fabric, leftover rayon for the pocket lining, and leftover grey knit ribbing for the waistband
  • Size/Alterations: 40, although honestly I took them in so much I’m sure I could have sized down
  • The Verdict: The shorts are comfy, but they bag out a bit after several hours of wear. I probably could have predicted that given the fluidity of the double gauze. Also, I have no idea if this pattern is available anywhere except the magazine…? Marc got me a subscription for our first wedding anniversary (v. cute paper-themed gift), and all of the patterns featured throughout the magazine are included in paper format. I’m excited to see what they have in store for fall and read some more of the translations, like “Sewing makes you happy. Particularly when such cheery wrapped pieces are the result” Yeah, sure, great!

Sleeveless Button-Down

  • Pattern: Butterick B6324, a hybrid of views C and A (I’m also wearing the Burda shorts here, too!)
  • Fabric: Cotton mariner cloth from Oak Fabrics (no longer available in white/blue but here it is in a different colorway)
  • Size/Alterations: 14, added 1″ of length at the waist
  • The Verdict: With no darts, no yoke, no collar stand—just the peter pan collar, this top comes together pretty easily. It also helps that I made it once before in a slightly different view. It’s pretty boxy, but I knew that going in and I like it! The fabric has some interesting texture (see last photo) that livens up an otherwise straightforward top. I don’t have any hip-length sleeveless button-downs in my closet, so this definitely fills a void.

New Favorite Mask Pattern

  • Pattern: This YouTube tutorial from MidnightBaker
  • Fabric/Materials: Marc’s old plaid shirt and Rifle Paper Co. rayon, with an old bedsheet for the lining; 1/8″ elastic from Amazon
  • The Verdict: Marc’s mom shared this link with me, and it’s my favorite mask pattern thus far. I’ve made pleated and fitted masks (there are about a billion patterns and tutorials out there, as you likely know), and this “3D Fitted Mask” is the comfiest yet. It fits comfortably over the nose and chin and doesn’t move around when I talk. I also find the elastic linked above to be easy on the ears, though I’m rarely wearing my mask for more than an hour at a time. Feel free to reach out if you have questions!

Whether you’re brimming with creative energy or you’re in a prolonged—potentially pandemic-induced—rut, I just want you to know that YOU’RE AWESOME and it’s OK to feel uninspired. Your hobby will be waiting with open arms when you’re ready.

true bias rio ringer dress side

The Kind-of LBD: True Bias Rio Ringer Dress Review

The True Bias Rio Ringer pattern came across my Instagram feed at exactly the right moment. I’d been living in leggings ridden with holes (that I just can’t bring myself to throw away because they’re SO SOFT), T-shirts, and zip-up hoodies. Not that there’s anything wrong with dressing like that—I think we’re all allowed to dress however we want right now. But I’ve also found that putting in even the minimal amount of effort can really boost my mood and make me stand a little taller at my “alternative” standing desk… made of board games and cookbooks.Read More »

MN dawn jeans straight leg

I Made Jeans Again! Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans Review

I am proud to share my latest contribution to the verrrrry Slow Fashion movement: Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans! Nearly six months after buying the fabric and notions, they’re finally done. Whew!

I put “Finish what you start” and “Finish MN Dawn Jeans” (for double whammy good measure) on my list of 2020 goals, giving myself the perfect amount of accountability without too much pressure. That’s definitely how I like my hobbies lately!

Insta post of MN dawn jeans

Read More »

allie olson coram dress pattern review

Coram Dress in Rayon

Who knew a woven dress could be so comfortable?! My new Coram Dress, designed by Allie Olson, is a complete joy to wear. Of course, it helps when the design has ease for days, and when you sew it up in buttery-soft rayon.

coram top and dress line drawings

Per the pattern description, Coram is “a boxy woven top or dress with cuffed raglan sleeves and shoulder and bust darts for shaping.” I’ve never sewn a woven dress with raglan sleeves, so I was thrilled to give this pattern a spin to help celebrate #CoramWeek and the launch of the paper Coram pattern!

Let’s dive in.Read More »

true bias nikko dress side

Nikko Dress

Some of my handmade clothes are total workhorses. An Archer that I wear once a week in the winter. Jeans that replaced a worn-to-shreds pair of Levis. My go-to house sweats.

true bias nikko dress striped

true bias nikko dress

true bias nikko dress close

This dress is not a workhorse. I made Nikko as a birthday present to myself so I’d have something to wear to my annual house party. And I love it. Sometimes, you’ve gotta make a dress that makes you feel like a badass, even if you know it’ll spend more time in your closet than on your body.

Read More »

grainline studio tamarack front

Grainline Tamarack Jacket

When I first started blogging about my clothes (in 2013!), I’d try to get a post up pretty soon after I snipped the last thread. That often meant snapping ill-lit photos in a dirty mirror, using my phone’s timer to take poorly composed photos inside my apartment, or nicely asking Marc to snap a couple pics on the way to dinner. (The latter always yielded the best results.)

The point? I cared less about quality and more about showing my makes to the world as soon as humanly possible. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I blog about a sewing project within a month or two of finishing. Sure, I give sneak peeks on Instagram, but something (freezing Chicago weather, work, social life, laziness) usually gets in the way.Read More »