Orla with simple neck facing (option B) and long sleeves

Orla trapeze dress has become such a classic style, I decided it just had to join the Sewgirl collection.

So let me describe this dress, so as well as being insanely stylish, it is also a very easy relaxed dress to wear. Its trapeze shape allows you lots of movement, so you can eat what you like without feeling constricted. With two side pockets (who doesnt love a sidey) and a choice of two dress lengths and two sleeve lengths, the Option A has a buttoned placket detail at the neckline, edged with bias binding to give it a retro feel or Option B has an alternative simple neck facing.

Both options have a back neck opening. Option A has a hand chain stitch loop, and Option B version you can use the rouleau loop method.

Option B back neck opening

This is an easy pattern to make up, however, the placket detail is probably a little more tricky, so if you have had some experience attaching bias binding you should be ok.

I would say this dress really suits bold prints but it also looks great in plain linens or viscose/linen mixes or the blue and white one (with red trim below) is a voile that I bought from slubbedprints.co.uk who have a wonderful collection of hand block print cotton fabrics from India. You can really play around with matching up one of the colours in your print or using a complete contrast colour binding as I have done here.

Some other versions of Orla that Ive made in bold prints.

Here are details about fabric requirements, size info and finished garment details.

So you will also need some equipment like a loop turner or a large eye blunt ended needle, tacking thread and needle, an iron, a good pair of dressmaking scissors and a stitch ripper for any back tracking you may need to make!


Here are some pictures and text to give you an idea about how this dress is made before you buy.


Just one tip before you start cutting out your fabric pieces on a narrower width fabric, if you are cutting out sizes 20+ you may not have the width at the lower edge, my advise would be to add a square of fabric extension on the lower selvedge edge to compensate.

So the back pieces are joined together and seams pressed open, the top section is left unstitched for the back neck opening.

The Front and Back are joined at the shoulder seams and topstitched.

Side pockets are added each side and topstitched.
Small darts, which are marked on the pattern, are stitched each side and pressed downwards. These give the upper armscye more shape. Then its on to the bias binding bit for Option A only. For Option B see below.


The pattern gives you lots more details about how to do the binding.

Bias Binding
Pin then stitch one side of the bias binding to the outer edge of the Placket.
First, trim off 1.5cm from around the neck edge. Pin the placket to the dress at the centre top neck edge. Stitch all around close to the binding outer edge.
Then pin the seam binding and stitch to the neck raw edge all around.
Sew three buttons on to the placket and attach a hook and eye at the back neck.
Pin the front to back at the side edges, align the pockets. Now sew all around from the underarm, all around the pockets to the lower edge. Finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch or use your trusty overlocker if you have one.
Pin the sleeve together at the side edges with the right sides matching.
Pin the sleeve head to the armhole, be careful to match the back section of the sleeve head (as marked on the pattern) to the Back section of the armhole.
Hand tack stitching really helps to ease your sleeve head in nicely to the armhole, it may need a little coaxing so be firm and show it whose the boss!
Stitch all around then finish the raw edges. Don’t forget to remove the tacking stitches and sometimes I like to nick at the cross seam allowance to allow a bit more movement. Press the sleeve head. I like to use a Tailors ham like this one, they are SO helpful when pressing sleeve heads (and hats for that matter). I have them available to buy in my Haberdashery listing on my Etsy shop.
A Tailors Ham
You can topstitch the sleeve head or leave it without, its up to you. Hem your sleeve edge.
Bold prints certainly give the wow factor. This one is by Echino its a linen and cotton mix and a super duper print design that I love!
I have made myself many Orla dresses as you can see because I just love bold prints.

ORLA DRESS VERSION B (with a simple neck facing)

So with Option B you don’t insert a placket or use bias binding around the neckline like you do with Version A. I thought that some people would like to try it without the binding, so here are a few illustrations to give you an idea about how its done.

Sew the (interfaced) Front Facing to the Back Facing (with the right sides together), at the shoulder edges. Press the seam allowances open. You can make a small hem around the outer edge or just finish it all around with an overlocked or zig zag edge.
Nick the seam allowance all around. Before you stitch down the short edges, insert the loop.
Pop the loop under the back neck facing at the top edge, then sandwich it between the facing short edges and the back. and stitch down.
Trim off excess loop, seam allowance corners then turn it inside out and poke out the corners. Press. Pin the facing all around and stitch down.
Sew on a button to match the loop and voila!
The finished article. Stylish, modern and practical and a great addition to your wardrobe for all seasons.

All images and text are subject to copyright. Please do not use any images without prior permission.
Not for commercial use.

8 thoughts on “ORLA TRAPEZE DRESS

  1. Please, with the ORLA Dress patter, is it Best to go for my Bust size as my waist /Hips are up to two sizes bigger. There is a lot of loose give in the design. Thankyou.


    1. Definitely go for your bust size, as you say waist hips are less relevant as it’s a trapeze shape. Needs to be a good size across the shoulders too.
      Hope that helps all the best
      Fiona x


  2. Hi Fiona just started cutting out Orla dress option A, but a bit confused over the back opening. Is it just a hook and eye? I’d rather like the loop and button but unclear how to do that with the binding.
    Many thanks


    1. Hello Eileen
      so you can either have a hook and eye, or (as I prefer), a thread chain loop with button. To do this you will need either some thicker embroidery thread or a few ends of sewing thread together. Sew several large loops, big enough for your button. Then go back on these multiple threads with a buttonhole loop stitch. This youtube video is a good tutorial that may help.

      Hope that helps.
      Ive Just finished yet another Orla for myself in denim with red binding and buttons and I LOVE it!

      Ill try and get a bit more on the blog about thread chain loop fastening but remember that you can also do with a zip fastening at the back neck, that also works well.
      All the best


  3. Hi Fiona I want to make another Orla (Version B this time) in linen but I’d like to lower the front neckline slightly, is this an easy fix?
    Thank you


    1. For version A (with the binding),according to the pattern you would have trimmed off 1.5cm around the neckline before attaching the binding. With version B you don’t do this but sew the facing on with a 1.5cm seam allowance. However if you want a wider/lower neckline you could sew a 2cm seam allowance or more. If you want to keep the width of the facing the same as before, you will need to add on to the facing outer edge.
      Hope that helps. Fiona


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