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Paper Theory: OLYA Shirt Review

The OLYA Shirt has been on my sew list for quite some time. I was inspired by the versions made by and @melt.stitches. It’s also no secret that I love a good basic pattern, and the OLYA shirt was the perfect addition to my wardrobe.

The relaxed fit of the OLYA shirt and its unique construction called out to me. The OLYA is a traditional oxford-style shirt with a stand and collar, front button plackets, a back yoke, and a barrel cuff. The pattern comes in sizes 6 through 28 UK sizing (US size 2 – 22). Paper Versions of the OLYA are available in store!

The Supplies

Supplies for the OLYA Shirt – How beautiful is this fabric?!

The pattern called for woven fabrics and I chose to make two versions. The first, in a medium weight cotton – “Lilies on Black“. The second, in a light weight satin – “Bubble Satin Off White/Black”. The Bubble Satin went out of stock before this post hit the blog, but here are some lovely alternatives: Autumn Splash and Moda Ecru Orange. For this pattern, you will also need buttons and interfacing.


The sewing techniques used in this pattern include:

  • Attaching sleeve plackets
  • Sewing a hidden inseam pocket
  • Creating pleats
  • Sewing a collar and stand
  • Creating front button plackets
  • Adding a cuff
  • Attaching buttons and creating button holes

I consider myself to be an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist, and found the instructions to be very clear, detailed, and easy to follow. However, I opted to follow along with the tutorial by Paper Theory and it was so helpful seeing how it all comes together before attempting it myself. Particularly with a pattern like the OLYA, where the side seams and shoulder seams are not the typical stye you would see in patterns, the tutorial was incredibly helpful.

The sewing itself is relatively quick. I sewed up a shirt in an evening – not considering the time I spent putting together the PDF pattern and cutting the fabric. I really appreciated the notches found on the pattern pieces, which were crucial when aligning my pieces while working with the satin. On this point, a tip for those new to working with satin or other light weight fabrics, is to go slow and use a lot of pins. Also, keep an eye on the tension as it may affect the seams.

The Outcome

If you are looking for a staple shirt pattern, the OLYA is the shirt for you. The construction of this shirt is absolutely beautiful. I learned a new technique for sewing up the collar stand (the burrito method). I also learned a lot of new methods for sewing, such as adding the cuff and the sleeve plackets!

I sewed up two different versions of the OLYA and the end result was *chef’s kiss*.

As you can see, the version made in the cotton, ended up more structured and loose-fitting. The version made in the satin ended up fitted with more drape. Both were made in the same size – accurate to my body measurements. I love both versions, but fabric choice does make a difference in how the shirt falls on the body.

Will you try this pattern? If so, what kind of fabric will you choose?

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