I’ve been wanting to revisit this pattern for a while now. The free pattern Orla by French Navy. I made a maxi in grey jersey. I love that dress but I always envisioned the pattern in a great floral.
I bought a navy floral fabric from Cali Fabrics. The right side has a crepe texture to make it interesting. This ain’t your plain Jane jersey fabric people!
I made this dead-on like my grey version so of course that means changes to the original pattern. The neckline is higher, I added pockets, made the sleeves longer and the dress is full length. Everything even looks super profesh with the double stitching from my twin needle. I added that around the neck and sleeves.
The dress fits so well. There’s two darts in the front and two in back of the bodice. All these darts help to suck the dress in to fit your bod. Plus the waist hits right at your natural waist so it flatters my shape and hides a big ole booty.
I left a healthy amount of fabric at the bottom to fold under so there’s a good weight at the hem. I think it helps to hang better and move well when I walk. The pockets I stole from another pattern. They’re super deep and they’re pockets…in my dress! That’s enough for me to be uber happy!
I love this dress! It’s comfortable, doesn’t require shaved legs, and looks fabulous on. It’s everything I hoped it would be.
Instagram brings a lot of things to my attention. The two latest are the free download of The Orla Dress by French Navy Patterns which has a dress challenge and the maxi sewalong both for the month of July. I was planning on making a maxi dress with the ridiculous amount of fabric I scored for $7.50 from Walmart. (15 yards of knits) Maxi fabric check! The Orla Dress happened to be what I was envisioning for my maxi. Dress pattern check! The sewing gods are encouraging.
The Olra dress is designed as a short sleeved, knee skimming dress. It has darts in the front and back, gathered waist and zip up the center back. The dress challenge does encourage you to “hack” the dress pattern. (BTW, totally hate that word “hack”. It makes me think of spitting a giant ball of phlegm.) I’m not scared about changing up a pattern so no problem! I decided to lengthen the sleeves, omit the zip, change knee-skimming to maxi, add pockets and tighten up the neckline.
As I was cutting my fabric I re-worked 1 pattern piece in particular. The front piece of the pattern was too wide at the shoulders. As I mentioned, I was going to tighten the neckline. It’s a lower scoop neckline and I wanted more of a t-shirt style. I raised the front by 1″ and redrew the curve. I also had to move in the shoulders. I honestly can’t remembered how much I took it in but it was a lot. The pattern piece looks a bit like Frankenstein now. I did taper both bodice pieces (front & back) by a bit toward the waist to make it more fitted.
When I was sewing the bodice I had a bit of an issue with the darts. I’ve never sewn darts coming up from the waist like this. I wasn’t sure where they were supposed to stop and should they look like they are at the center of my boobs or what? I winged it. I had to do the first one a few times before it looked right. I moved them both more towards the center compared to what was on the original but I guess that makes sense considering all the damage I did to the original piece. What was nice about this bodice is that I didn’t have to shorten or lengthen it!
I added clear elastic into the waist. It’s a lot of fabric that needs to be gathered and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stretch out and lose its shape. Plus it nips it in just a tidbit.
What you end up with is a boring, grey maxi. And I love it! I don’t normally make plain Jane kind of stuff. I love prints but having something boring that I can accessorize is a nice change.
You can check out more about the Orla Dress Month Challenge and Maxi Sewalong by clicking the images below.