The Orla Dress Sewalong

Are you giving the Orla dress a try this month? Considering we're hosting an Orla Affair with some pretty amazing prizes, there has never been a better time to give this FREE pattern a try. 

Since it's a free pattern, the Orla Dress does not come with illustrated or photographed instructions. While the written instructions are pretty clear, sometimes it's nice to have some photos to help you visualize the process. 

So I present to you, the Orla Sewalong! A fully-illustrated tutorial in my usual cartoon-y style showing the steps I follow while sewing my Orla dresses. Because of the nature of this illustrated tutorial, some of the more technical things are difficult to show, so I've linked tutorials when needed to help improve comprehension. I've also outlined where I've deviated from the pattern due to my own personal preference (ie: like not making my own bias tape... I hate doing that!)

Sewing the Orla Dress: A Tutorial

This post will show you step-by-step how to sew up the FREE Orla Dress sewing pattern. Now you'll be able to sew up a trendy, stylish dress in an afternoon that looks like you bought it from Madewell.

The Steps

1) Sew the Bodice Front Darts

Once you're finished, press them back. 

2) Repeat step 1 to sew the bodice back darts

Again, make sure you're pressing them towards the center back. 

3) Sew the shoulders and side seams

And, you've guessed it! Press those seams towards the back. 

4) Place Bias binding around the neck opening on the right side of the garment. Stitch in place

New to using bias tape? Do yourself a favour and read this tutorial fully devoted to bias necklines

5) Press the bias binding up, under stitch close to the seam

Pressing will make all the difference here! Don't skip it. 

6) Sew two basting stitches on both sleeve heads in between the notches

You'll want to use the longest stitch length you have. 

7) Pulling on the bobbin threads, gather the sleeve head

Smooth the gathers as you go so that they're even all the way around the sleeve head. 

8) Ease both sleeve heads into the arm holes

You may need to tighten or loosen your gathers as needed. Stitch in place. 

9) Using the same technique as step 6, sew basting stitches on all skirt pieces between the notches. 

Make sure you don't tangle your bobbin threads!

10) Sew the skirt back pieces to the skirt front

Make sure not to sew the skirt back pieces together - this is where our zipper needs to go!

11) Ease the skirt into the bodice, right sides together, matching the side seams. Sew in place. 

You might need to adjust the gathers to make the skirt fit properly all around. Pay special attention to making sure the gathers are even along the entire skirt - it makes a huge difference!

12) Top stitch your neckline binding in place

While the pattern instructs you to do this AFTER sewing the zipper, I find it easier to do this first. In addition, instead of folding the edge of the bias tape under, I finish it later. 

13) Sew your invisible zipper

This tutorial is a great resource if you would like some step-by-step guidance on this part. After you've sewn the zipper you'll notice there's a raw edge hidden underneath the zipper's tape. I like to finish this raw edge with pinking shears or my serger. By finishing this, you'll also be finishing off that leftover strip of bias tape we didn't fold under in step 12. 

14) Hem all the things

You'll need to hem the sleeves and skirt. 


And in just 14 simple steps, you've sewn a stylish summer dress that looks like you bought it at Madewell but you really made it in just an afternoon. 

If you decide to sew up an Orla dress in July of 2017, make sure you share it on Instagram using the hashtag #anorlaaffair and #theorladress to be entered to win AMAZING prizes. Full details can be found here.