I made my first Paper Theory Patterns Olya shirtdress in May last year and it is something I reach for in my wardrobe at lot. The oversized fit is so comfortable and I find the dress really easy to style – cute clogs and bare legs in the summer and room for a long-sleeved thermal top and leggings underneath in the winter!
I really wanted to make another Olya, but I struggled with elements of the construction when making my first version and did not enjoy some of the sewing – particularly those pockets! Not one to be defeated, I decided to give it another go with a secret weapon up my sleeve – the very detailed and extremely helpful Olya Sew Along! The step-by-step photographs and tips are absolutely brilliant and in conjunction with the comprehensive instructions, I managed to nail the bits that had me baffled before.
When you have a small stash (less than 10 cuts at all times), choosing fabric is pretty easy and I knew that this gorgeous cotton rayon linen jacquard from Sister Mintaka would be perfect! My husband actually bought this for me as a surprise because the colour is called ‘pickle green’ and ‘pickle’ is his nickname for me – isn’t he sweet?! Unfortunately, 2m isn’t really enough for an Olya, but when has that ever stopped me?! I knew I wanted to shorten the sleeves a little anyway – by taking off 1.5″ and also shortening the front and back pieces by 1.5″, I just managed to make everything fit after a marathon pattern Tetris session. WINNING.
I was not wrong about this fabric and pattern pairing – it really is perfect. The weight and drape make the shirtdress feel nice and substantial, but the double-gauze-esque texture also make it light and squishy – magical! The colour is beautiful, but as you can see from my pictures it is not easy to photograph and looks very different depending on the light! You can use either side of this fabric – I opted for the side with the darker background and lighter shapes.
Despite an enormous selection, I didn’t have any suitable buttons and had to do a bit of online shopping with Textile Garden (what a shame!) I bought a couple of options and these irregular oval khaki buttons were the winners as I thought the irregular shapes complemented the pattern of the fabric nicely. Miraculously, I already had perfectly matching thread in my collection, but 100m wasn’t quite enough for the whole dress and I had to use a different shade in the bobbin for the final stages to save the good stuff for where it would be seen.
We were supposed to be having a festive city break in Stockholm this weekend, but we postponed our trip due to increasing Covid cases. I wore my dress for a fun day out in Kent today instead and felt great in it! Plenty of room for an enormous cruffin, some mulled wine and what I can only describe as a pigs in blankets casserole!
I have finished all of my garment sewing for 2021, but I have already been busy thinking about my ‘Make Nine 2022’ – look out for a blog post about my plans in the new year! I hope you all stay safe and well over the festive period – if you need me I will be snuggled under a quilt hand-stitching for the next 2 weeks!