The Orla Dress
Posted on 23 March 2017
After a week that's felt kind of chaotic and unplanned, I'm finally getting myself organized. Is it really almost Friday already? I definitely didn't get enough done for it to be Friday again...can we just start this week over?
That said, I did get a decent amount of sewing done. Three new tees and I'm ready to go! I finished the Orla Dress a couple of weeks ago, but I've been wearing it like crazy and it hasn't been clean for photos for quite some time. Someone's got a new favorite dress.
I saved this picture from Madewell ages ago, with the plan to re-create my own version someday...you know, the inevitable "I could make that" syndrome. I had thought about making a second Washi Dress since I wear my first one so much, but I didn't want it to look to cute - I was hoping for more sophisticated.
Enter the Orla Dress! With the back zip and semi-fitted shape, it was just what I was looking for. Plus, it's FREE. Who can say no to a free pattern?!
Because this is a more fitted dress than the drapey boxes that I usually make, I knew it would need a muslin for the top. Four muslins later, I finally had a fit that I liked! The pattern itself is written well, but I think it's drafted for someone with less curves and a smaller chest. My biggest challenge was dart placement. I ended up lowering them just a bit (maybe a half an inch) and moving them out towards the sides by just under an inch.
I also took about an inch of volume out of the sleeves, as I didn't want them to be too puffy. I used my Scout Tee pattern to help me figure out what the curve should look like. I lined up the notches on both pattern pieces and trimmed the Orla sleeve down. The sleeve caps don't fit the arm holes perfectly, and probably pull a little more than they should, but I'm pretty happy with the results!
Finally, I made it a little more fitted by taking about an inch out of each side (1/2" from each pattern piece) graded from the armpit to the waist. There's still room to move and layer underneath the dress, it just gives my waist a little bit more shape.
Oh - and of course, I added side seam pockets. Obviously.
I think this pattern works best in fabrics with some movement to them, like rayon or voile. I got this chambray at Britex Fabrics during a weekend trip to San Francisco last year and have been waiting for the perfect project to cut into it. It's 100% cotton chambray, but the drape feels like it has some tencel in it to make it a little heavier. I haven't found anything like it since and I'm waiting for my chance to get some more next time I'm down there...fingers crossed they still carry it!
I love this pattern because it can be such a great starting point for variations. I can already see a long-sleeve version for winter or a pleated waist for a more tailored look. Or a deep v-shape in the back? So many options.