Graphic Olya Shirt

I am late to this particular appreciation society.  I have numerous Paper Theory patterns, but only purchased the Olya Shirt in October last year, and only made it up in May!  And people, I cannot tell you why I left it so long!  I can only say that I thought wearing a “proper” shirt again after living in jersey tops would feel odd.  Well – it doesn’t!  I bought the pattern after making the blouse with the huge sleeves last year, there was just something about that fabric sitting on the cutting table that made me think of the Olya pattern, and I jumped.

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This version was made hot on the heels of the dark navy blue one, as in I cut it out on the Saturday morning after the Friday finishing!  No changes to the overall pattern, just the sleeve binding and placket construction.  This time I sewed both pieces to the outside and turned them in, instead of sewing to the inside.  I just prefer this method.  It means I just sew the straight seam and leave out the short sewing line making the “box” at the top, as this would get in the way of getting everything out of the way to the inside.  The finish is good and I’m happy with it- having handstitched on the  inside again.  And guess what – this time I managed to get the pieces on the right side!  I have proper cuffs!

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What I love is how different this one feels to wear compared to the heavier viscose crepe of the first one.   I’m going to be making more of these!  The fabric is a cotton/silk voile that I got probably 3 years ago now, and it’s fabulous to work with, even better to wear!  Usually I’d French seam this fabric, but opportunities for that finish on this shirt are non existant, so the overlocker had to do.  It is still neatly finished on the inside, and there is no visible bulk on the outside.  Cuffs and collars and the buttonstand were interfaced with fine sheer fusible.  I was lucky to find enough buttons in the stash that worked, I didn’t want solid colour buttons, so these with the fleck of white work really well.  I’ve worn this shirt so many times since making it – basically as soon as it’s washed and ironed I make a reason to wear it!

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I love the pleat from the yoke and the longer line shirt hem

I love it with the trousers in my current wardrobe – particularly the Kew Pants and Teddy Pants from Style Arc, & I can’t wait to try it with the linen trousers in my summer wardrobe, but the weather is seriously messing us around!  April was cold and dry (only 9% of the usual rain fell!) and May is making up for that instead of being the glorious introduction to summer that we all love.  So for now, I only have winter trousers to try the shirt with, but I’m happy anyway.  I have some olive viscose with a leaf print on its way for another shirt, and I might have had to order olive linen for trousers to go with it!  It looks like olive will be my new rust.

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In the mean time – if you’ve been eyeing out this pattern with an idea of making it, look at the photos on Instagram, #olyashirt, and see how well it suits just about everyone who’s made it!  If you’re not into too much ease, go down a size or two when you toile, but give it a try!  I really do love this pattern and I can see more in my sewing future – I might even try a colour blocked one!!

My Heart Goes Boom Boom, Boom

Well, here’s the first of what will be many!  Finally I have photos of the finished Olya Shirt I started at the beginning of March.  With the weather being so rubbish, I had a long time to wait for something decent that did the shirt justice.  Of course, this means that in the mean time, I was able to wear the shirt and be even more happy with it!

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Olya Shirt from Paper Theory

As described in the work in progress post, I made the 14, with no adjustments.  I also changed the constructions of the cuff binding and tower plackets slightly – spending so much time on getting those pieces on nice and straight that I made a rather large mistake…  I put them on the wrong sides!!!  Nevermind, the shirt still works, but I was annoyed when I finally discovered it when I put on my perfectly made cuffs!stripe olya 2

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It hasn’t altered my love of the shirt.  As previously stated, the instructions are good and clear and leave no doubts as to how to proceed.  The fabric is viscose marocaine, which has a crepe-like texture.  It’s heavier than regular viscose, not as drapey.  It was great to work with as it doesn’t slip around!

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I’ve worn this shirt loads and now wonder why I hadn’t got round to making it earlier, I have had the pattern since October!  I’ve made a second already, and am planning a third to happen pretty soon!

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Tutorial: How to get a sharp square corner.

The eternal question for sewists – or at least one of them – is this:  How do you get a nice sharp corner on collars and cuffs.  Include waistbands, lined pockets and jacket revers with notched collars.  Here’s the method I use, it involves no cutting of angles at the corner, which just makes a weaker point.  I learnt this technique at a tailoring course, many years ago, and it’s worked for me!  I’m going to demonstrate by using one of the cuffs made for the Olya Shirt.  Please excuse my fluffy ironing board, and un-edited photos!

  1. Once your seams are sewn, layer them by trimming the un-interfaced seam allowance down by half.
    step 1
  2. Using the point of the iron, press the seam allowance onto the interfaced piece, nudging and pushing but be careful not to stretch anything.  Give it a good press.  You should be able to see that you have some “bulging” on the interfaced side.
    step 2
  3. Now – you want to start with the side seams of the cuff, fold the seam allowance onto the interfaced side of the piece so that you just see the stitching line.  It just needs to roll slightly up.  Now press that, well.
    step 3
  4. Once both sides are done, fold about 3-5cm of the long edge in the same way, ensuring that you get the seam allowance of the already folded side tucked sharply into the fold.  Press well again, especially on the corner where you’ll have more bulk.  On really bulky fabrics like denim or coating, you will want to get the clapper (or hammer) out and reduce bulk.  You could also shave some of the pile off fluffy coating fabrics, or cut the seam allowance at an angle, bevelling the edge.
    step 4
  5. Now, put your thumb into the cuff/collar, etc and place your forefinger on the outside, on the folded over corners, and pinch tightly.
    step 5
  6. Turn the fabric over the corner with your other hand, pushing with your forefinger into that corner to ensure as much of the fabric goes over as possible.
    step 6
  7. It’ll look something like this at this point, a bit rounded, not 100% sharp. Using a timber or plastic point turner, insert it into the cuff and gently push the corner, while pulling the fabric down to get the rest of the corner to pop out.  BE GENTLE!  And whatever you do, DON’T USE YOUR SCISSORS FOR THIS JOB!  Seriously, unless you want to be redoing the entire thing because you’ve gone and poked a hole in the fabric, leave the scissors on the table!  You might find the back of a seam ripper handy to encourage more reluctant fabrics to turn better, from the outside!
    step 7
  8. Now you can press the corner and edges again, using your fingers to manipulate the fabric.
    step 8
  9. I roll the under side slightly under so there’s no seam line showing.
    step 9
completed cuff, this is the underside of the corner.

And that’s a 90 degree corner done!  Believe it or not, the same method can be used for collars where the angle is more acute, but this time it will involve cutting some seam allowance away.  So here’s the same thing, but for the collar of the Olya Shirt.

  1. Same as above, sew seam, layer seam and press allowances onto the interfaced piece.
    step 1
  2. Press the side seams onto the interfaced side, then the long side, approx 3-4cm worth.  This time you’ll see there’s folded seam allowance sticking out beyond the folded lines.  Left like this there’s no way to get a sharp point.
    step 2
  3. We have to cut it off, but before you do, flip the piece over and check where the stitching line is, you do not want to be cutting “blind” and end up snipping the stitching!  Cut just enough of the seam allowances so none extend past the pressed fold.
    step 3
  4. Turn in the same way as for the cuff and press well.
    step 4
Completed collar corner!

 

And that’s it!!  Your first few might be a little wobbly, but persevere with the technique, it really does work and is so much better than chopping a 45 degree angle off the corner.  I’ve seen so many corners ruined with that technique as with wearing and washing the remaining tiny bit of fabric is weakened and turns to fluffy  shreds.  Good luck with your corners and edges!

P.S. if you’re using this for a pocket flap where you have a fold and a stitched side seam, just press the stitched seam onto the flap and hold it while you turn the corner.  Works well for waistbands too!

Please click on the collage photos to see them much bigger and get more detail.

Work in Progress Wednesday 4/21

Three minutes left of Wednesday – where did the time go!?  I thought I’d show you all my latest sewing project, as I seem to have been sewing in secret lately, and only showing off finished items.  Today, I’ve been making the Olya Shirt, pattern by Paper Theory.  I bought the pattern in October/November last year but only managed to get it toiled last week!

My measurements suggested I make the 16, but the finished measurements indicated a lot more ease than I’d usually be comfortable with.  Yes, I do know this is ssupposed to be an oversized shirt, but there’s baggy and there’s tent.  At frst, I thougth I’d toile the 12, but hedged my bets and went with the 14 as a middle ground instead.  Perfect choice!  I decided it needed no adjustments, sleeves are the right length, cuffs not tight, shirt length fine and just enough “oversize” in the circumference measurements.

My fabric is from Rainbow Fabrics, viscose morrocaine (sadly now sold out).  It has a lovely, crepe-like texture, and the dark dark navy and ecru irregular, zebra-ish stripe is right up my street.  It is light and drapey, but has good weight and doesn’t slip around like ordinary viscose does.  Cuffs, collar pieces and front band are interfaced with a fine sheer polyester interfacing, not adding bulk.

The construction of the shirt is different to your usual shirt, because of the style lines.  The front yoke and sleeve are one piece,and the shoulder seam and insertion of the sleeve head happens in the same seam!  It looks like it’s going to be clunky, but it’s anything but.  Tara’s instructions are clear, unambiguous and direct.  Some indie designers get so into the instructions that they get confusing and I ignore them entirely!

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Top and middle, plackets on the sleeves. Understitching the back yoke. Right, box pleat, back yoke and stay-stitched neckline

One thing I did differently, right at the beginning, was to change the way the sleeve plackets are sewn.  I sewed the tower placket piece as described, but the binding I sewed to the right side.  This is because I don’t like seeing stitching on binding, and if I’d done it the original way, I’d have to stitch on the front.  This way I handstiched the binding on the wrongside and topstitched the placket on the right.  Small changes.  I also staystitched the neck edges as soon as they were ready.  You don’t put the collar on until quite late in the game, and I didn’t want any stretching.

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I pick my sewing up in a bundle to prevent pieces hanging and stretching out while handling.

Talking about stretching out, be careful with handling the fabric pieces, the sleeve and shoulders can start to stretch before you get to sew them, so don’t let the pieces hang.  I pick up my sewing in a bundle so nothing hangs and drapes and potentially stretches out before I get to sew it up.

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Shoulder/sleeve seam, pivoting and snipping at the end of the shouder point, going into the sleeve head seam.

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The instructions really do give a good result – don’t ignore them! (this is as much a note to me as it is to you!)

So far I’m really happy with my shirt, it’s all going together really nicely and at the end of the day I have the buttonbands, collar, cuff and hem to do.  And I need to find buttons.  What’s the bet that, even with a drawer full of buttons, I won’t have the “right” buttons?

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So far, so good!!