This is my second Olya, in my second batch of Stylemaker Fabrics fabric. I’m always chasing a big white shirt ideal so I resisted the beautiful colors on offer and ordered this crinkle cotton in white. I thought it would be a safe bet. To my surprise, I prefer the softer, thinner yellow I used last time – both the color and the final shirt.
That said, there’s nothing actually wrong with this cotton and it sewed like a dream. I was just anticipating something both fussier and finer – more see-through, and with some unwanted-but-expected stretch from the crinkles. Actually this has the dry, stable, semi-crisp hand of a paper towel. I ordered 2 yards as directed and used every inch of length, leaving just some funny-shaped large scraps that will make terrific interfacing for a future project.
I shortened the sleeves of this Olya by 1”.
I also cut the pocket pieces as one piece each, with the fold at the bottom of the pocket bag. Those were my only adjustments this time, though commenter M-C suggested a forward shoulder adjustment, which I’m sure I’d benefit from. Unfortunately, given the odd shape of these pattern pieces, I found that adjustment intellectually intriguing but practically, beyond me. I’d like to try it on a more traditional shoulder seam first!
The finished shirt is okay. I’m having trouble styling it at the moment – surprising for such a basic piece – but I think it’s because it’s such a summer fabric. I’m hoping it will come into its own with shorts. I really want to like it, mainly because I like the buttons. Which I made!! With a laser!!!
Our local public high school has a fabrication space open to city residents in the evenings. It’s called Fabville and it’s terrific in every way! It’s actually one of the many available in our area – Somerville (soon Allston) also boasts the dazzlingly complete Artisan’s Asylum, and the Cambridge Public Library hosts The Hive, but Fabville is free, friendly, nearby, and open after my workday, so it’s obviously my favorite. I strongly recommend checking out a space like this if your town has one, or several (how many is probably a function of proximity to MIT, ha).
I wasn’t really sure how to take advantage of this kind of tech until I realized I could make buttons. I got a piece of maple 1/8” thick by 1.5” wide by 24” long from Rockler Woodworking and Hardware (another high recommend, if you have one handy). So far I’ve used it to cut 5 dozen buttons and I have about 1/3 of the piece left. Fabville has a two laser cutters; I used the Epilog Mini 24, which is smaller but more precise. I set up my files in Illustrator, though they were ultimately opened in Inkscape and converted to PDFs.
This isn’t a tutorial (I’m assuming design software competency), but here’s some spec-y stuff if you have access to a machine and are interested:
I work with vectors so I can resize elements without changing the stroke width. Please note, though, the printer calls the cutting/engraving lines “vector” and the etching lines “raster”, regardless of the file type. The cut lines should be strokes, ideally .001 mm but allowably as thick as .004 mm. The etched areas are fills (without strokes!). For the densest, darkest etching, set the fill to black (#000000) with a 0% tint. For shallower, lighter etching, change the percentage of the tint of black, but don’t touch the opacity. You can use both vector and raster cuts in one file, or just one kind; either is fine. All cutting and engraving is perfectly vertical, so there’s no beveled cuts, but it’s beautifully precise.
And a final tip: double-check your measurements in the real world. My first set of buttons was very, very small! They’re functional, they’re adorable, but getting a needle through those wee holes was dicey. After cutting this first batch I belatedly took some measurements and observed that the holes within the button should have a diameter of 1/16”, and be placed anywhere from 1/16” to ¼” apart (that second number is my aesthetic opinion).
Luckily, once attached, these hand buttons actually go through the buttonholes pretty well. I thought the bitty fingers might get snagged, but if I push them through with the heel of the palm first there’s no trouble. My buttonholes are sized for a 3/8” button – just over the width of the hand, not the length.
They’re subtle but I love them anyway! I tried resizing and cutting another batch of hand buttons to have functional holes, but it turns out their tininess is also their strength; when these hands are sized up, the fingers break off. Sad face. I’ve been experimenting with other button designs (beyond symbols carved into a circle, though those are cool too), and so far my best one is below!
Jaguars can represent protection, transformation, and power, plus those big kitties are stylin’ as hell. I don’t know if there will be any interest in this, but: if you donate to a pro-choice advocacy group, an abortion fund, or a pro-choice care provider like Planned Parenthood, contact me and I’ll send you four laser-cut jaguar buttons. If you make that donation recurring, I’ll send you eight. The jaguars are maple, 0.75″ wide x 0.6″ tall x 1/8” thick.
I’m also interested in learning about new-to-me ways to protect and defend reproductive freedom (or more impactful places to give money or time), so please recommend those if you’ve got them!
See you soon, stay mad!
Pattern: Paper Theory Olya
Pattern cost: NA
Size: 14; shortened sleeve 1″
Supplies: 2 yards of Washed Crinkle Cotton Solid White, Stylemaker Fabrics, $29.00; thread, Michael’s; 1.5″w x 24″l by 1/8″ thick maple, Rockler Woodworking, $10.58
Total time: 6.5 hours
Total cost: $39.58