An Orla Affair

Sew… I have definitely fallen in love with the Orla dress. I’ve been searching for a dress that I can make over and over again. Something where I can change the style of the skirt, the shape of the neckline, the length of the sleeves and with different fabrics and patterns get achieve different looks. 

The Orla dress is a free PDF by Sarah from French Navy. It has a round neck, loose fitted bodice, gathered skirt and short sleeves. 

Photo from French Navy
During July it was “Orla month” on Instagram which is where I found out about the dress. I downloaded it straight away and it just so happened that Minerva Crafts had sent me some viscose to review. (review post coming to Minerva soon!)

A windy “photo shoot”.

Even though my first attempt at Orla wasn’t perfect I was determined to give it another go as I really want to find that go to dress. I’ve tried a few different dress patterns but haven’t been 100% happy with the fit. I always have to do an FBA but found I was getting weird pointy lumpy darts. I have been doing some research into how to avoid this and a lot of blogs mentioned about making the one large dart into three, this sounded super scary! 

With the New Craft House party coming up and some amazing cactus print fabric in my stash I decided to get my head around making three darts. The cactus fabric is a cotton which isn’t a suggested fabric but I had seen other versions of the Orla on Instagram made from cotton so wanted to give it a try as my fabric stash is 90% quilting cotton which I really need to start sewing my way through. 

Following the Megan Nielsen tutorial on creating dart clusters it was nowhere near as scary as I thought it was going to be. With the bodice sewn up I was nervous about trying it on but when I did I nearly cried with joy as it fit so well. It actually fit with no lumpy bits or weird shaped boobs, YAY!

YAY it fits!
Lots of cello tape needed!
I wanted to add a pleated skirt and had recently seen Rosa from Sewn making pleats using a fork! Well this is definitely the easiest and quickest way to make pleats so definitely give it a watch. 

Forks make pleats.

I also made some other small changes. For the sleeves I added some extra fabric so that I could gather them for a nice shape. To save time and fabric pattern matching the centre back seam I added a side seam zip instead. There wasn’t much in the sewing blog world about this so I kind of worked this out as I went along and it turned out great so this is definitely going to be something I’ll do in future makes. 

As I was off to a party I decided to add a pom-pom trim to the bottom of the skirt and it was definitely a good choice as my dress got so many comments.

Cacti and pom-poms!
I love this pattern and have so many ideas for different versions. A full circle skirt, box pleats, a fuller gathered skirt, long sleeves, frill sleeves, pockets, there are just so many options.

Party time with these amazing girls. @joy.margot,, @sewpositivity.

Have you made the Orla? What’s your go to dress pattern? 

13 thoughts on “An Orla Affair

    1. I was worried too but actually love the pom poms! I am scared to wash it now though as I don’t want the colour to run! I may unpick them and wash the trim and see what happens to it!x


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