I love this dress. I mean I REALLY love it!

I love its swingy shape, I love its retro trim, useful pockets, Ive made myself so many of these Ive lost count.

I named it Orla because Im a big fan of Orla Kiely and also 1950’s vintage aprons, you know the ones that are edged with glorious bias binding in contrast colours. Well this pattern is my homage to them both.

Its easy to make, trapeze shape, darts, its got great side pockets and an optional front placket with 3 buttons, bias trim edged neckline and short sleeves.

Hope Ive sold it to you! Theres other Orla variations at the bottom of this page to tempt you.

Available in sizes S/M/L/XL


Heres a guide to sizes/ fabric requirements etc.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 18.27.20

Remember the seam allowance is 1cm.

This is how to make it….

Cut out your size dress pieces. You should have front, back, sleeve, front placket (an optional front and back facing if required). Alternatively you can use bias binding as shown in these pictures to achieve that retro look.

This is what you do:

Sew back pieces together. Leave the top section open as shown on the pattern or insert a zipper into the seam. If you want a tutorial on how to insert a zip see my A-line skirt post.


Sew the darts. Shown here on a different fabric. 1

On the placket piece, edge with bias binding with the RS of the binding facing the RS of the placket piece. Stitch. Fold the binding over to the reverse side. Press.


Place on to the dress front, make sure its dead centre. Then stitch in the ditch around the outside of the bias trim. You can also stitch around the outside edge but I like to leave it like a little flap.

Stay stitch around the neckline (front and back) at this point close to the edge (5mm approx).


Now sew the front to the back at shoulder seams. RS facing. Finish the raw edges. Press shoulder seam towards the back.

Now you can see that I have left the back seam open but you might have put in a zip which is also good.


Attach the top neckline edge with seam binding. Pin to the RS then sew. Fold over to the WS. Press. Pin. Stitch by hand (best in my opinion) or machine stitch to secure.


Try to match the width of the neckline binding with the front placket.


Don’t forget the pockets! Stitch at each side RST with pocket facing inwards. One for each side. Be careful to make sure they are aligned. Then fold outwards and top stitch close to the seam line on the pocket side.

IMG_4779Now you can pin and sew your front to back. All along from under arm to bottom hem on both sides. Don’t forget to finish the raw edges!

IMG_4792Now to the sleeve bit. Fold over the sleeve pieces RS facing. Pin then sew at the side edge.

Finish the raw edges. Tack stitch at the sleeve head.


Pin the sleeve to the armhole. Make sure you have your back section to the back of the dress. If in doubt check the pattern.

IMG_4794Tack stitch all around.


Sew on the machine then finish the raw edges.


All you have to do now is attach your binding to the sleeve edge and hem the lower edge.

Oh and sew on your three buttons.


If the back seam is open at the top, I insert a hook and eye or a chain stitch loop and tiny button.

One last thing. As the hem edge is very flared due to the trapeze shape its best to hem with seam binding its also easier to sew….just saying! remember to ease the binding into a curve before attaching.

You can also make some variations. Here for example I edged the neckline with same fabric bias binding that I made myself and sat it behind the neckline edge. This is fab Echino linen mix fabric. I love this print.

ORLA with sleeves jpg

I also made a longer version in this stretch poplin.

Mid calf Orla

Then why not make a sleeveless version like this one which I made from a fabulous vintage curtain. Ain’t it fab!

I also edged the hem too with binding.

ORLA sleeveless

This one I added a neck facing which is included on the pattern. I like this print, its so Scandi. I often wear this one with jeggings and pumps.


Anyway thats all for now.

Why not make yourself an Orla for Spring/Summer or to take on holiday ?

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