Paper Theory Patterns

Paper Theory Patterns Olya Shirt and Dress

Regular price £15.50 GBP
Sale price £15.50 GBP Regular price £15.50

We print out the A0 pattern sheets, but you’ll need to download the digital instructions, as we don’t print these. The PDF files will be emailed immediately after purchase, and the printed A0 pattern sheets will be dispatched next working day.

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Buy the Olya Shirt and Dress sewing pattern from Paper Theory Patterns. Olya is a relaxed, loose fitting shirt with traditional details and a classic silhouette but unusual and innovative style lines. Olya is easy to wear and designed to be a versatile wardrobe staple with longevity. There are two patterns included: one is for the shirt, and the other is for a dress version.

It has all the details of a traditional Oxford shirt, with a two piece stand and collar, a front button placket, a back yoke with a box pleat and a barrel cuff with a tailored placket and double pleat at the wrist. The cut of the sleeve is unlike a regular shirt and has no front armhole - yet does have a back armhole. This unusual geometric detail elevates the shirt into something that is interesting and design led whilst also providing some hidden shaping in the front yoke seams to accommodate your bust. The dress finishes mid calf with splits at the sides. There is also an optional belt pattern included to cinch the dress in at the waist if desired.

This sewing pattern is available to buy in the following formats:

– PDF (available to download immediately after purchase). What is a PDF?

– PDF pattern + Printed A0 copy shop (We print out the A0 pattern sheets, but you'll need to download the digital instructions, as we don't print these. The PDF files will be emailed immediately after purchase, and the A0 pattern sheets will be dispatched next working day). What is Copy Shop?

Suggested fabrics: This pattern was designed for medium weight fabrics like cotton, linen and flannel, and light weight fabrics like crepe de chine, viscose or georgette. It would also make up well in some heavier fabrics like corduroy, drill and light weight denim. Knit or stretch fabrics like jersey are not recommended.

Fabric requirements:

Shirt: 115 cm (45") wide fabric: 1.94 - 2.75 m (2.12 - 3.01 yd) // 140 cm (55") wide fabric: 1.52 - 2.35 m (1.66 - 2.56 yd).

For dress option: Increase the above fabric consumption by 80 cm (0.9 yd) for sizes 6 - 14 and 1 m (1.1 yd) for sizes 16 - 28.

Sizing: UK 6 - 28 (approx. UK 6 - 30, based on our standardised size chart). Please also check the designer's size chart and finished garment measurements.

Notions: Interfacing.

PDF pattern includes: Instructions; A4/US letter print-at-home patterns (31 pages for shirt, 43 pages for dress); A0 copy shop patterns (2 sheets for shirt, 3 sheets for dress); US copy shop patterns (2 sheets for shirt, 2 sheets for dress) // Layers: Yes // Projector file: No.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 13 reviews
Love, Lucie
My third!

My third Olya! Another Olya by Paper Theory Patterns to add to my collection.

Sewn up in an Atelier Brunette Cotton crepe, a beautiful light weight sheer gauze-like fabric dotted with little golden half sunrises.

I made up the size 8 again, which is one and a half sizes down from that recommended by the measurement table.

Its unusual construction still has me reading every single instruction! My pockets are getting more precise though;)

This one is an inch shorter in the front as that’s all my fabric length would allow.

The pocket placement is perfect for those times when I won’t be wearing a vest underneath!!

For more details please check out my blog post CLICK HERE

A lovely relaxed fit shirt dress with unusual construction

The Olya shirtdress from Paper Theory has been on my make list for years. I've been saving this striped crepe fabric from my stash to make it and over the summer I finally set aside the time to sew it up. I really enjoyed the challenge of this project with unusual seam lines and construction methods for a shirt. Using striped fabric meant I could play with the design and use both horizontal and vertical stripes. There was a lot of time spent pattern matching because of this but it was worth it, especially the pockets! Although there are many traditional shirt elements to this pattern, the pockets and seam line across the bodice and down the sleeve are genius. I also liked some of the smaller details, like the double pleated sleeve at the cuff and box pleat at the centre back.


I followed Tara's advice and sized down so the shirtdress wasn't too 'oversized'. You can read more about this in the instructions for the pattern. I made a size 10 (rather than my normal size 12) and it was still a generous size. I think next time I would reduce the length of the sleeves.


The instructions are detailed with plenty of text and illustrations but I found some of the steps hard to follow when constructing the pockets/bodice/sleeve section. I would really recommend following Tara's full sew along video for this section as it is really clear on what to do at each stage:

At the shoulder point (pictured above) I found it tricky to sew this with a machine so I stopped stitching either side of the corner point and then hand finished the seam, which meant I could give it a slight curve and a less harsh point (this made pressing a lot easier).

For the hem I overlocked the edge and folded it over once with a 2cm hem as I wanted it to be a bit heavier and hang better as the fabric is drapey.

I used white rayon interfacing for one half of the collar and cuffs and also interfaced the button stand. I didn't interface the pockets or waist tie as I wanted them to have the same drapey finish as the rest of the dress.


I used a blue and white striped crepe blend fabric for the dress from my stash with mottled recycled paper buttons from Merchant and Mills. I did French seams throughout where possible for a nicer finish.

Love, Lucie
My new favourite

This is the Olya Shirt by Paper Theory Patterns

It’s my new favourite!!
It’s another pattern I’ve had hiding in my pattern stash for some time but I’m so pleased with it.
I was finally drawn back towards the Olya shirt by the current oversized shirt trend.

At first glance it looks like a regular shirt but it definitely is not.

It’s all in the sleeve and the way the sleeve part grows out of the front yoke!.
The front pockets are also unusual but I had done these before on my Thayer jacket so felt I was on familiar territory.
Thankfully Paper Theory Patterns provides detailed videos for each stage of the works.

See how the top of the yoke ties into the sleeve? I really needed the sew-a-long for that, for fear of snipping my seam allowance in the wrong place!
After much research reading that lots of others down sizing several sizes in this shirt, I down sized half a size from my bust measurement, going with the size 10. I thought that if I was going for the oversized look, I would just go with it.
It was the right size to go for and doesn’t look to big done up or tucked in. There is more detail and further images on my blog 

Oversized shirt with design details

This is an oversized shirt with some classic shirt features, such as  a stand collar and front plackets, but with a sleeve design making it out of the ordinary. The front sleeve is cut horizontally in one piece joining to the centre front. There is a back yoke and box pleat at the centre back. Optional pockets (which I included) are sewn on the inside below the front yoke. It’s an ideal pattern for striped fabric, as you can have fun mixing horizontal and vertical stripes.
Overall, I’m pleased with my make as it’s eye-catching and a change from a standard shirt.
I did have some issues with the make though, meaning that I was somewhat dissatisfied with the finish I was able to achieve compared with usual. The seam allowance is 1 cm rather than the usual 1.5 cm. I was using slippery, drapey fabric that frayed quickly and, at certain points where you need to clip into corners to construct the square back yoke, was almost disintegrating. No instructions are given to staystitch, although I did so. I struggled to overlock the narrow seam allowance to fix the problem afterwards. Further, although I followed the instructions on finishing the pockets, I ended up with an unfinished edge on the underside. These issues made me concerned for the longevity of my make. Next time I would overlock all the edges before seaming them. Nevertheless, no-one notices the innards of course when I’m wearing it and I’ve had lots of  compliments on the unusual design.



Mary Greer
SewScaryMary - Olya Shirt & Dress

I really enjoyed this pattern.  I didn't think it was for me so made it in some quilting fabric from my stash but the result was delightful and I will be wearing it a great deal. I plan to make another with some lovely cream linen from Merchant and Mills.

The instructions were good - a little challenging in places as I have never made a proper shirt before and the pockets worked much better than they did in my toile!  But the result was well worth it and I love the design.

Highly recommended!