How many Orlas are too many? I don’t know the answer to that question because my Orlas are multiplying and I still haven’t had enough. Today I am showing you my Shift Orla! Whaaaaat? I know… This Orla seems to have very little in common with the original Orla pattern, but as I’ve said before, I think Orla is a great starting pattern for all kinds of hacks.
I love shift dresses. If I could get away with wearing one every day I totally would. Shift dresses would be my first choice for a “uniform” if I ever had to chose one. They are just so easy to wear yet can be styled into all kinds of looks.
The idea to hack Orla into a shift dress came to me very unexpectedly. I didn’t plan on it, I was on a look out for a good shift dress pattern for a while and when An Orla Affair started, I half-wondered if it would be possible to hack Orla into a shift dress. Orla fit me really well and required minimum fitting. It has a great bodice and the sleeve fits so well. So, after playing around with that thought I decided why not give it a shot?
As I thought a little more about it, I realized it wouldn’t be as hard as I originally thought it would be. The changes I ended up making are actually are not too bad and seem doable. I kept the upper part of the bodice completely intact. I rotated the bust dart into the side seam and extended the back darts. And finally I lengthened the bodice to dress length. It sounds complicated, but I promise you it is manageable.
If you want to try this hack, I recommend you make at least one Orla and make sure you have made any necessary adjustments to the pattern to have your bodice fitting the way you want it to. You will need a few more measurements to complete this hack though but as usual I will walk you through it with detailed drawings in the hacking post. You can do it!
I did muslin my first dress after I hacked the pattern. I wanted to make sure everything fit well. The muslin came out almost perfect and I just ended up taking in the back darts a tiny bit more, but it was not necessary at all.
I love how this dress turned out. I love the slightly boxy, yet, hopefully, flattering fit. I love how the darts in the back give it a little bit more definition. I just love everything about it! I definitely see so many more of these in my future. After all, I do love a good shift dress!
This particular Orla was made out of cotton I had in stash for a very long time. The fabric has some weight to it without being too heavy and it gives the dress a nice structure.
Ha, look at my orange skin! The photo came out slightly dark and I couldn’t figure out how to edit it right. But it does show how I finished the neckline. I went with a bias binding this time, but I finished it to the fronts so that the bias binding is visible. I really like how this method creates a little bit more visual interest, which I think goes really well with the texture in this fabric.
Of course I here are full tutorials on how I rotated the bust dart into the side seam and then hacked Orla pattern into a shift dress. I will not be doing a full sewing tutorial for this version though, as it is not much different than sewing Orla bodice. But I did a quick tutorial on how I finished the neckline with visible binding. Let me know if a full sewing tutorial will be helpful though! I just may find enough time to create one.