Thea Boho Sleeve Shirt by Liberty London
The Thea Boho Sleeve Shirt pattern by Liberty London was a big project for me to close up 2022. This pattern wasn’t even on my radar until Lynda Maynard offered to teach sewing techniques for sewing up a shirt. I must admit that I don’t really have many shirts or blouses in my closet. In fact, I don’t even own a basic white button-down shirt, which continues to be on the to-do list. It’s one of these must-haves in anyone’s wardrobe that I don’t have. I always promise myself that I will sew one, but I think it’s too plain and boring for me to bump it up to the top of the list. So when the opportunity arrived to really get into the ins and outs of the techniques for sewing a collar and button placket, setting in sleeves, etc, I jumped at it. To be honest, the pattern has sleeves that are far from basic, which is probably why I was drawn to this pattern and the online course in the first place.
If you’re thinking about joining a course for the reasons that I stated above, then I highly recommend taking it the next time Lynda Maynard offers it. Or take any course that she offers on sewing techniques - you will learn a ton about how to get a really good finish on your projects. Spring Classes for 2023 are now open for registration. Be prepared to spend time on these techniques, because most of them require that extra care and attention. For example, one valuable thing I learned from Lynda is that if I take that little bit of extra time investment to hand-baste my seams before taking them to sew on the machine, then the result is much better especially when working with more fiddly techniques or fabrics. Be prepared to say goodbye to fusible interfacing as well because Lynda prefers to work with sew-on interfacing. Or at least be open to trying out sew-on interfacing, and then decide if that's the way you want to operate going forward. I find that using silk organza as a stabiliser has better results than the fusible interfacings that I've been using, and I am shifting to using it more in more sewing practice.
The first blouse that I sewed while doing this course is the view with gathered sleeves with cuffs. I used a cotton lawn from Lady McElroy, and love the fit of it. I sewed a size 10 based on my bust measurements, and the fit is great without any modifications. Sizes for this pattern go from UK size 6-22, for bust measurements from 30.5” to 44”. Yes, the sizing is limited, and also, it’s not easy getting your hands on the pattern as well. In addition, the price on this is quite costly at £21.99 (at the time of posting) for a pattern. I could only get a paper version from Minerva since there are no PDF versions available. I waited for a discount on the pattern before getting it, and bought more stuff from the store to get free shipping (I really needed the other stuff! LOL). This was the most inexpensive way for me to get the pattern at the time of purchase. WARNING: if you want to embark on making this shirt, be prepared to invest some grit and dineros for the initial step of purchasing the pattern. Unless you live in the UK, where I think it’s more readily available.
The second blouse I made was the view with sleeve flounces. This is a great statement sleeve, which requires quite a bit of fabric especially if you decide to have a facing to back all the flounces. I used black silk organza, and chose not to use a double layer of fabric for the flounces. This meant that I used a baby hem to finish the flounce hems. For a short video on how I sewed the baby hems on the flounces, here's an Instagram video that I made:
The combination of the organza with this pattern created quite a stunner which exceeded my expectations. It was the first time that I made a garment with this kind of organza that moved with this jelly-fish quality. It floats, but with enough structure and body to keep its shape. I’ll definitely work more with organza because of its translucency, lightness, and strength. It’s easy to sew with, but also has some quirks to it during handling. For example, I think it’s best to cut organza in a single layer. Because it resists folding because of its bounciness. Also, it is better to mark the stitching lines, to keep it from waving at the sewing machine. Anyway, I loved the journey that I had with this fabric, and am plotting future projects that will work well with it.
There are other perks in this pattern like another view with yet another sleeve option - a more boring short sleeve - but it could be the thing that you are looking for. In addition, there are all these options to include lace trims in different places. All views come with a hidden placket, but it’s easy to switch it for a regular exposed button placket if that’s what you prefer. That’s what I did for the black blouse because I didn’t want extra fabric bulk for the lighter silk version. I also wanted to show off the Swarovski crystal buttons I used for the blouse. There are 2 options for the collar - a band collar or the rounded collar. The latter didn’t excite me, so I chose the band collar version for both my makes.
I highly recommend this pattern if you’re looking for a shirt or blouse pattern with statement sleeves. The pattern instructions are clear and concise. We had great fun in the Lynda Maynard class exploring modifications to this pattern in addition to going through Lynda’s recommendations for the different sewing techniques required to make a smart shirt with great finishings. So if you’re looking to up your sewing skills in 2023, definitely go to her website and see if you can jump in on a class. The best thing that I did for myself in 2022 was taking Lynda's classes, and I will continue to do so in 2023. Happy sewing!