Summer in Stripes (French Navy Orla)


This weekend my parents stopped by just to hang out and we had such a nice time! We took them with us on our new favorite weekend activity, lunch and shopping at the Korean grocers in Cary. There's an asian grocery store in Durham, but it's kind of a dive (although perfect for finding mystery ingredients). The H-Mart in Cary is really nice, with a Tous les Jours, a Tony Moly, and a whole food court where you can eat lunch (I got a whole grilled mackerel which comes with rice and little side dishes). Also, if you live in the triangle, the fish department is huge and fresh, and they have live crab and lobster! Lobster boil anyone? I wore my latest Orla and had them snap a few quick pictures in downtown Cary to share with you.

This is the same as my first Orla but I've swapped out a pleated skirt for the gathered one. This is a pretty simple change that you can make on any dress pattern. There are two ways to do this. The first requires slightly less fabric in the case of the Orla, and you can see it here on Anna Zoe. Anya's Orla has the same style of pleated skirt as mine; the only visual difference being that mine has a center front box pleat as well as two box pleats centered over the front and back darts. This center pleat can easily be added by extending the front seam and marking the pleat at the original center front seam. The amount you extend at the front is half the width between 1 and 2. Here's a little add-on for her tutorial c/o Anya:
My method (tutorial below) requires barely any patternmaking/measuring at all, but does require a bit more careful pinning and spatial reasoning. A skirt that's pleated all the way around (i.e. the depth of the pleats are the same as the width of the pleats) will always be the same width relative to the bodice measurement (3x), and then you just put the folds in however, with the only restriction being that each pleat has to touch the next. If none of this makes sense to you, I recommend you just go with Anya's technique. If this makes perfect sense, are you me? Get out of my brain! If this makes a medium amount of sense, ask me a question and I'll try to sort it out.
I also had one unintended alteration--an added navy band at the bottom of the skirt. I generally tear across my fabric instead of cutting when I'm making a rectangular skirt to ensure the lines are perfectly straight and the fabric is on grain and will hang right. Sadly, when I tore across this fabric, I noticed that the stripes were not printed perfectly on grain, so I ended up with slightly diagonal stripes that didn't match at the sides. Oh no! I decided to trim them along the printed stripes, which made each panel a few inches shorter, and made the dress too short overall, so I added a band of coordinating navy shirting at the bottom to regain the length. This does mean that my skirt is slightly off-grain, but I'm hoping it wont affect it too much, fingers crossed.

Have you been keeping up with all of the amazing Orlas made by my co-hosts? The community posts have been so fun to see too! I'm especially pleased to see a few first-time dressmakers joining in... you got this, ladies!


ps: i use my bosom buddy bag so so much in the summer, it's the perfect size. 

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  1. LOVE it!! That navy band is actually absolutely beautiful and seems to pull the entire dress together in my opinion. I love your pleats! So different :)

  2. Navy and white are my fav!! This looks fabulous on you Allie! Love the bag too :)

  3. Really like the way the navy band at the bottom looks! Also -- great work on the illustrations; they're really helpful. :D

  4. The pleats go so well with the stripes, and I also love the navy band at the bottom – it looks totally deliberate.

  5. Hi Allie, I really adore this dress! I'd really like to make a pleated skirt and have had a look at both tutorials but need a bit of does the pleated version use less fabric? Do I use the same pattern pieces as for the gathered version or draft rectangles using my measurements? TIA for any advice - gratefully received!

    1. Hi Laura! What I meant was that Anya's version of the pleated uses less fabric than mine. For hers, you use the original skirt pieces (or, if you want a center front pleat, add a rectangle to the center front skirt piece). For mine technique you'll use rectangles drafted to match the bodice measurement. That's where you would measure the bodice edge, -1 for SA, multiply by 3 and then add SA back.

  6. I absolutely love this dress - and your matching bag! You always look so perfectly finished.



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