The Orla Dress, French Navy

After lurking on Indie Pattern Month for a few years, I’m super excited to finally enter, so hello! I love supporting our growing Indie family so had to participate this week. I am super excited to be showing you this not only lovely but free pattern!! As sewing is taking up more of my time…and money, finding such a classic, flattering and free dress is cause for celebration or more fabric buying ;P

The Pattern

This is the Orla dress by French navy a very new indie pattern designer. You might have seen this around as there is an Orla month happening on Instagram to celebrate this pattern. I have seen similar patterns to this around but I’m not much of a fit and flare girl, I wouldn’t have bought a pattern this style but I was so, so wrong! I hate having a tight clothes at my waist but this dress sits above the natural waist and flows over the bum, tum and thighs oh so nicely. I feel comfortable enough to have a massive meal and feel my clothes are fashionable and that is my seal of approval.

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The Fabric

This pattern actually recommends soft draping fabrics like viscose. I went the complete other way after reading a post by one of the Orla Affair organisers Allie j. I used a heavy weight cotton and I love how it turned out.

I think it did make easing in the sleeve a bit more difficult and after my third go at trying to ease the sleeve in I decided life is too short and a few gathers was gonna be alright!!

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I have to say the pattern has just been updated due to the feedback given, the darts have been lowered by 3cm. I haven’t lowered the darts on this dress but for my second one, which I’m sewing currently, I lowered the darts by 4 cm.

All my adjustments took place on the bodice. This is a fit a flare dress so I expected no problems with the gathered skirt and I wasn’t wrong.

Since the bodice is so simple and fitted, I made a very rough a ready toile of the bodice. I made a size small but the darts were too wide so I used the darts drafted for the extra small size. I reckon they could be a bit closer together. I have wide shoulders so I lowered the armhole and went a size up for the shoulders.

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The pattern is drafted for a 5″7 lady and me being 5″3 I knew I wanted my dress to be above the knee so I shorted it by 8cm…However I think I took a bit too much length off and while it’s still ok, I would have preferred it just a tag longer! I want my me-made clothes to last me at least 10 years after making them! and I’m becoming more aware I’m going to be 30 in a few years so I’m reevaluating my love of a short skirt.

As I said I’m making a few minor adjustments still for my second version but I am still very happy with how this version turned out.

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With simpler patterns I really like to take my time and make an effort with the finishing. I french seamed this and made my own bias binding and really just enjoyed the process.

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So all in all I’m fairly in love with this pattern! I’m sewing my second and have the fabric for my third, this might just become my TNT pattern. So if you have a style you’re not sure about, try it! Sometimes it’s good to step out of our comfort zones.

If you want to see how my second Orla is turning out you can find me on instagram as PigeonWishes

Happy Indie Pattern Month

Meg xx

15 thoughts on “The Orla Dress, French Navy

  1. What fun fabric choice! Looks very cute on you. And thanks for the tips on the pattern — I’ve also seen it everywhere & yes, I downloaded it…I’ll keep your comments in mind when I try it 🙂


  2. Such a great dress! I did indeed see it pop up in my instagram feed. You could consider adding a contrast band along the bottom to lengthen the skirt (if you could find the same shade of yellow or green).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cute! It seems like a versatile pattern, too – different fabrics would give totally different vibes.


  4. This looks great, loving your fabric choice. I have this pattern ready to go on my cutting table with eyelet fabric. Thanks for the heads up on the darts…. and you can still wear short skirts over the age of 30!! (I hope I can anyway!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’ve seen one of the Orla affair organisers do this in an eyelet and it is lovely!! Can’t wait to see your version and I am embracing the length! Don’t know how makes those rules anyway!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So pretty! The banana fabric looks great – I will pop to your shop and buy some fabric as soon as I make room for it!


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