Introducing Orla Month

Recently I've started getting more questions from beginner and aspiring dressmakers, wondering how I got started and what patterns they should start with. It's still incredible to me that people regularly reach out with questions and comments and compliments, since it seems so recent that I was in their position, cold emailing the sewing bloggers that I admired, asking for help and guidance (and I still do this today!). Although I'm not an expert sewer by any means, I love providing some inspiration and encouragement for newer dressmakers, and I feel strongly that this little online community we have should be welcoming and encouraging for people of all skill sets, from "hem your own dress" to "couture gown from scratch"! The more the merrier!

A few months ago, I shared 8 beginner-friendly vintage-style patterns, and today I'm kicking off a month-long event I've designed with some friends to encourage you--yes, you!--to sew a dress, even if you never have before. I've even picked a free pattern, so what's stopping you! The Orla from French Navy is about as simple as it gets, while still having all the proper elements of a fitted woven dress: darts, zipper, gathered skirt. This isn't really a traditional sewalong--there won't be a step-by-step, color photographed, instructional blog series--so for lack of a more appropriate term, we're just calling it an Orla Affair! v. fancy, I know. I've also brought together some friends with different aesthetics to help me out, so you'll get a few different view points: Rachel from Maker Style has a practical, sexy style, Maddie of Maddie Made This totally rocks casual femininity (and represents our #sewingtall friends!), and Anya of Anna Zoe goes from sweet to edgy so easily. If you're itching to see Orla like, now, head on over to instagram and check out the many versions already there, including several from our Orla Affair hosts!!

Here's what to expect: here on my blog (which I'm not really sure what to call any more--allie J.? the Allie Jackson blog? haha) I'll have 4 versions of the Orla dress, with instructions on how to mix it up a little bit, if you are of a pattern hacking persuasion. In the first week, I will be sharing some of the details that are often skipped over in my regular blog posts, and people ask for: how exactly I alter the fit from my bodice muslin. The next three weeks will have little mini-tutorials on special pattern modifications, for a total of four totally different dresses, all with that essential vintage, fit-and-flare look to them. I can't stray too too far from my roots, can I?

Elsewhere, Rachel over at Maker Style will be sharing illustrated instructions for the pattern, since it comes with text-only instructions, and two more variations on the pattern. Maddie of Maddie Made This will also be bringing you more mods (and embroidery!! yesss), and Anya of Anna Zoe has even more! If you are keeping track at home, that is... a totally bananas amount of Orla dresses.

Here's our (subject to change ;) lineup:

July 1: Introduction posts at allie J. and MaddieMadeThis
July 3: Fitting the Orla on allie J. 
July 5: Illustrated Instructions on Maker Style
July 6: Customization Inspiration on MaddieMadeThis
July 8: A Sleeveless Orla on Anna Zoe
July 10: An Eyelet Orla on allie J.
July 13: Embroidery patterns for the Orla on MaddieMadeThis
July 17: A Preppy Orla on allie J.
July 18: Adding a Shirt Collar on Anna Zoe
July 19: An Orla Hack on MakerStyle
July 20: Lace Up Front Orla Hack on MaddieMadeThis
July 24: A Vintage Orla on allie J.
July 28: Orla shift on Anna Zoe
July 31: An Orla Roundup on allie J. and MaddieMadeThis
August 3: The Orla Affair winners announcement on allie J. and MaddieMadeThis!

Wait, winners? We are super lucky to have an amazing lineup of sponsors who have agreed to donate prizes to some of you lucky ones who make an Orla and post it on instagram... but you'll have to head over to Maddie Made This to learn about the giveaways!


ps: i'm seriously so excited, i think you're going to love this.

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  1. Love it. Looking forward to the upcoming posts. I can't believe it's a free pattern!

  2. Allie! So happy that you are all hosting this, I haven't heard of the Orla pattern. I am going to download and sew one up. Thanks, Mom



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