The swim cover up of my dreams.

Side view

The May this year I will be going on a boating adventure around the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. And being me made May I need to pack my suitcase full of home made goodies.

Unbuttoned and unbelted.

The first garment to tick off my list was a swim cover up. I spotted a white linen Sunshirt on Instagram over the holidays that ticked all the styling boxes for me. It was a button through with collar and stand, extend shirt length with a waist tie and beautiful contrast topstitching in certain areas.

All the details.

This year I am on a mission to revisit and repurpose patterns that I have purchased in the past. Especially if I have only used them once. Surely there must be more than one good make in every pattern.

Olya Shirt by Paper Theory Patterns.

The winner for this make was the Olya Pattern by Paper Theory Patterns. The first time I sewed this pattern it really challenged me. I had to stop and think. This pattern would be the perfect block for my Swim Coverup and I could revisit some of those challenging steps with confidence this time.

Side view.

The fabrication I selected was a white Lilly Linen from Potter & Co. The Lilly linen is a light weight linen with a washer finish that gives it a beautiful surface texture. It’s not so flat and crisp.

Front view

The first adjustment I made was to extend the side seams by 20cm (8”) and square them off to the CF and CB to remove any hem line shaping. Next I extended the CF placket by 15cm (6”) so it would fit the extended front body.

Front and front placket pattern pieces.
Back pattern pieces.

The major adjustment was made to the sleeve pattern. I wanted to create fullness at the sleeve hem instead of it being a standard shirt like finish. To do this I added fullness in 4 places along the sleeve hem back to nothing at the armhole seam. Please refer to the image below to see the approximate position of where the fullness was added.

Sleeve pattern piece.

In total 20cm (8”) of fullness was added to the hem. When you slash and spread a pattern it is important that you remove the seam allowance from the area that is not being increased, in this case the armhole, and add the seam allowance back on after your adjustment is made. If you slash all the way to the top of the pattern you will be increasing the sewing line of the sleeve head and it will no longer fit your armhole. This is a key point to remember when adjusting any pattern. I also added 3.5cm (1 3/8”) length to the sleeve to allow for more blousing.

Finished sleeve.

Next I created a pattern for my waist tie by cutting 2 pieces of fabric 100cm (39 3/8”) long and 14cm (5 1/2”) wide. If you have printed the Olya Dress pattern you could use the tie pattern piece from that pattern. I have only printed the shirt pattern.

The tie!

The final adjustment that I made was to reduce the size of the sleeve cuff by half. Instead of cutting 4 sleeve cuff pieces I only cut 2 and folded them in half instead of having a seam at the bottom edge.

Only cut 1 pair of the sleeve cuff.

I pretty much followed the instructions provided with the Olya Shirt except for finishing the sleeve hem.

I gathered my sleeve hem to fit the sleeve cuff instead of pleating. I finished the body hem with a wide double turn hem. The first turn was 1cm (3/8”) followed by a 2.5cm (1”) turn.

Sleeve cuff detail.

As a design feature I added beige contrast topstitching to the pockets, front and back yoke seams and waist tie.

Contrast stitching.

I am so happy with the outcome of this make. It is going to be the perfect swim cover up for our trip. It has a slight sun safe element to it with its long sleeve and collar. I can not recommend this shirt pattern enough. It is a challenge the first time you sew it but the result are so worth all the figuring out.

The end!

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