I'm calling this my first Orla dress because I am confident I will be making more. This was more a wearable muslin, that I also made a muslin for. Seems redundant, but I felt it was necessary to make the wearable muslin actually wearable. Anyway, on to the dress!
I was really inspired by #AnOrlaAffair, put on a few couple of bloggers back in July, but as I was in the middle of packing and getting ready to move into my new house, I didn't feel like I had the time to try a new pattern. Since the pattern wasn't going anywhere, I knew that I could just give it a try later. The fabric I used for this dress was left over from stuff I bought super cheap about 3 year ago, so if it went horribly wrong it wouldn't be a big deal. As you can see, it didn't go horribly wrong, but it wasn't amazing either. It certainly does not photograph well.
First up, I used an old bedsheet for a quick and dirty muslin, to test the fit/proportions and that I knew how much to gather the skirt and how to put in the sleeves. I ended up taking some width out of the skirt (I had added it in because my hips are larger than the size that I made for my waist/shoulders) and I removed some of the length of the skirt that I had also added. I'm thrilled with the fit - since the shoulders are supposed to be wide, they sit nicely on my shoulders. I might make the neck a bit smaller in the future. I will need to practise neckbands on wovens before I really like any that I make, but that's totally fine with me.
The dress came together really easily. There is nothing really tricky in the construction, other than my usual problems with necklines. I had to install the invisible zipper 3 times, but that was entirely my fault. There was a bit of vertical stretch in my fabric, and when I installed it the first time I stretched the fabric, so it turned out wavy. The second time I didn't install it evenly on both sides. Finally I hand-basted it in, checked it, then sewed it in. Third time's the charm.
The biggest problem here is the neckline. There's two problems: I suck at necklines in general, and the fabric does not have much body to keep it up. My next Orla dress I will use a stiffer fabric in hopes to remedy point 2, and I will practise and research some more for point 1. On that note, if there are any neckline geniuses out there, feel free to send tips my way! The first day I wore it, the neckline sagged so much that I reached out to a sewing Facebook group that I am part of to ask for recommendations. The most popular one was to add a pleat in the neckline, so that's what I did. I toyed with the idea of darts, but really like the pleated look.
This dress gets the barely wearable label, but not the love label. I have high hopes for my next one though!
DetailsPattern: Orla Dress by French Navy Now (Free!)
Material: A super light crepe-like fabric from Fabricville from a few years ago (likely $2/m)
Modifications: Added 1 inch to the length of the bodice and 1 inch to the skirt length. In the future I will use a stiffer fabric and might make the neck smaller.
Learning: Woven neckbands still suck, and I should take my time doing invisible zips. My next one will be a better fabric choice.