Olya Shirt and a little romance


I was thinking of the line from Moonstruck the entire time I was sewing this. ‘Isn’t it romantic?’…

Actually, I purchased this rayon challis from Cali Fabrics at the same time I purchased the Paper Theory Olya Shirt pattern, with a soft blouse in mind.

collage pattern

I’m so glad I did a muslin (here), because I was able to draft my vision of the blouse based on that experience.



Lots of sewing notes:

  • As before I started with the size 8, and 1/2″ seam allowances. But I did not add to the length. I thought my muslin was a bit stuffy with the additional 2″.
  • The sleeve:
    • I added 1/2″ to the length and decided to add a little detail by splitting the lower sleeve and adding some topstitching.
    • Instead of a buttoned cuff, I used a 2″ wide band, using the same cuff pattern but sewn closed to width and attached.
    • I also gathered my sleeve into the band – no pleats.


  • The neckline and collar:
    • Honestly, I felt strangled by the original collar – it’s very high and tight. Plus I thought it made my large head look huge!
    • I drafted a new front neckline, collar stand, and collar using the Named Saraste blouse pattern (my version here).
    • The collar is softer, larger, and about 1″ lower than the original pattern.
  • No pockets! To say they were shifty and difficult to attach is an understatement. I removed mine and simply closed the seam.


  • Last little romantic change: I added 1″ to the width of the back skirt and gathered it into the yoke.


  • Little things:

Sewing a curved hem can be a challenge at the side seam. I staystitched my hem at 3/4″, to provide a stable guide for the turn. And I released the side seam inside the hem to allow for a no-pucker finish. Alternatively, one could redraft the hem allowance to provide that extra bit.

collage hem

I’m crazy for nice finishing detail. A peek at how I attach a button – started on the right side, finished on the inside with the tail brought back up under the button and clipped. IMHO, sloppy button stitches on the inside of the placket are a tell.

collage buttons

An inspiration pic – I’m always cruising for ideas.


And some styling – unbuttoned and simply open over a cami (imagine over a print spring dress).

unbuttoned.jpg]over shirt

Last thoughts…

Challis is a real beast challenge when sewn into structured details! It cannot be pressed without care, since it’s happy to shift and expand. Challis also has a huge amount of mechanical and bias stretch. No way would I use a fusible interfacing, because it puckers the challis and loses the original shape of the pattern piece. And, BTW, the adhesive on a fusible is likely to go through challis onto the plate of an iron. Aack! I cut my interfacing in a poly/cotton broadcloth and used it to interline the button plackets, collar stand, collar, and cuffs. I steam pressed the challis back into shape on the interlining pieces.

I launder all my fabrics before I use them, with serging on the cut ends of wovens. Rayon will shrink significantly, so a pre-wash will preclude disappointment in one’s garment.

I love this pattern. It’s complex and fun to sew. I’m really glad I did a muslin, because the resulting ‘muscle memory’ was very helpful in this version. The drafting and instructions are wonderful – this is a real winner from Paper Theory. I’ll make it again!

Bye for now – Coco


16 thoughts on “Olya Shirt and a little romance

  1. Such lovely work a always and great tips that will be useful, you’re right, it’s the little details that make all the difference, looking inside at your hem made me smile. Well done, you’re on a roll baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nothing better than a nice white shirt and especially out of rayon challis. Yes, beastly to work with but so nice next to the skin. Love the additional width on the back to allow for the gather and the added sleeve detail. Nice, nice, nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re more than amazing…and can sew far beyond my present skill set! Thanks so much for sharing on this blog because I always learn something from you – and for that I’m most grateful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is beautiful! Yes, from the minute I saw this I thought,”Oh..this shirt is incredibly romantic.” And you don’t have a big head. But It will get larger with all the compliments you are about to receive. This will be a favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This one is printed out and next on my list, if I can only decide which shirting fabric to use. A lovely result both times for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll love it, Susan. A muslin is in order, the fit is tricky around the neckline, and as to fabrics, challis is very difficult. A nice shirting fabric (linen,rayon, cotton blend is my favorite) or linen blend would be wonderful. I’m thinking I’ll do my next one in Brussels linen. 🙂


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