Friday, August 4, 2017

An Orla Affair Offering

During my July sewing sprint, I noticed a sewalong/contest on Instagram (yes, I've finally joined the modern world and now have an Instagram account - you can find me at sewmelwyk if you are also on IG).

So, did I have time to join this sewalong in addition to the weekly contests over at the Monthly Stitch? Sure, why not!

Well, I did end up sewing a lot this month, but it was all -- almost all -- really fun and resulted in some great new dresses. This is one of them.

The Orla Dress is a pattern by French Navy Now. It was her first pattern release, and so is a free download if you want to join in on the fun. It's a basic bodice with waist darts and gathered skirt, and is easily hacked, as shown by the many examples you can find by searching the hashtags #anorlaaffair or #theorladress on IG.

For my attempt at this dress, I used a length of multicoloured rayon given to me in the recent stash cull by a friend's mom which I've mentioned previously. My adaptations were to add in side seam pockets and to add some width to the waist, as I had concerns about the sizing -- it seems to be designed for smaller people in general.

However, I had plenty of room and probably didn't need to add an inch at each side; I would have been comfortably fit with only 1/2" extra, for a closer fit look. Next time I'll do that.

The dress is simple, which I like. It has a rounded neckline, and straightforward short sleeves. The finishing on the neckline is a bias facing, and I was a little bit tired and inattentive while sewing and ended up stretching the neckline while attaching the facing, especially on the right side. I tried it on, realized, and grumbled, thinking that I'd have to unpick the bias and take it up a bit at the shoulder to make it lie flat. Unfortunately -- but fortunately before I'd unpicked it -- I realized that it would make the neckline look uneven if I did so.

So, once again, pleats/tucks/darts come to the rescue. I fiddled with it a bit and tried some different approaches, deciding on this final look with two pleats at either side of the neckline. It pulls the neckline into a squarish shape, which I think gives a vintage vibe. Then I added some vintage buttons to top it off and make the pleats look like a design feature, there on purpose!

It's a comfortable, cool dress -- loose fitting and in a light rayon. I love the colour and I know this forgiving silhouette means that I'll wear this often. There are a lot of changes I'd make if I make this one up again -- I'd use a fabric with slightly more body, and sew it up with a more fitted bodice as it's intended to have. This rendition is still wearable and summery, though, and I'll wear it.

I had fun trying out a new pattern and a new designer, and thanks to the organizers of this challenge for pushing me to make it sooner rather than later.

Have you made an Orla? Do you have a favourite free pattern to share?


  1. This style of dress really suits you and the fabric is so pretty. Nice fix on the neckline.

    1. Thank you Beverly! I'm glad the neckline worked because this dress is such a comfy outfit to wear.

  2. Your new summer dresses have all been so pretty.

    1. Thank you Eileen! I do love a pretty floral :)


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