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Orla Dress (free)

French Navy

This is a free sewing pattern that can only be downloaded directly from the designer’s website. Please click on this link to find out more.

Orla is a versatile, everyday dress with a semi-fitted bodice and a flattering, slightly raised waist. The skirt is gently gathered for comfort & ease of movement and falls just above the knee if you are 170cm tall. Please adjust length according to your height and preferences.

Recommended Fabrics: Softly draping dress fabrics like Viscose and Rayon. Meterage/ Yardage: 1.45m/ 1.59 Yards of fabric 150cm/ 29.5 inches wide.

More fabric will be required if fabric is narrower.

Cutting Instructions: Cut all pieces as indicated on the pattern pieces. Also cut a 4cm wide bias strip for neck binding, roughly the same length as the neck (about 75cm).

Other Requirements: A 40cm concealed zip.

If you’re looking for more maker inspiration, check out the latest sewing pattern reviews from the sewing community. We also have a sewing blog to keep you up to date with all the news from the world of sewing.

Find out more about this sewing pattern from French Navy here.

Additional information


Cottons / Chambray / Lawn / Quilting, Denim / Corduroy, Jacquard / Brocade, Lace, Linen, Rayon / Viscose / Crepe, Silk / Satin / Sateen


UK 8 / US 4 / EU 36, UK 10 / US 6 / EU 38, UK 12 / US 8 / EU 40, UK 14 / US 10 / EU 42, UK 16 / US 12 / EU 44

Sewing level

Confident Beginner

Make time

All day

Please leave a review

4.5 out of 5 stars

6 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Mel Forrest

    4 out of 5 Fabulous and FREE!

    Mel Forrest

    I’ve seen a huge number of beautiful Orla dresses on Instagram and when a friend offered me a copy of the pattern that she had printed but wasn’t going to use, I gladly took it off her hands!

    I downloaded the instructions, which fit onto one and a half sheets of A4 paper – this should give you an idea of how basic they are! This pattern is really only suitable for dressmakers who have made a fair few projects, as it only provides the sequence of steps and expects you to know how to execute each of them, e.g. creating the darts, gathering the waist, inserting the zip and binding the neckline.

    The pattern suggests fabrics with good drape such as rayon/viscose. I bought 2m of really pretty tencel lawn from Lamazi Fabrics with no particular project in mind. When it arrived and I felt how soft and fluid it was, I decided it would be ideal for an Orla! It’s incredibly lightweight and has been so comfortable to wear on warmer days.

    I found choosing which size to make quite tricky and although I found lots of reviews of the pattern, not many people shared anything about sizing. I wear a UK size 8/10, so I could either choose to make the size XS/S. To decide, I wanted to know the finished waist measurement, which wasn’t shown anywhere. I measured the pattern pieces in the end and made the size S, which turned out to be a very comfortable fit for me.

    I didn’t need to make any alterations to the pattern at all, but next time I might raise the neckline a tiny bit to make it more flattering on my small bust. I would also add in seam pockets next time – I chose not to as my fabric is a little sheer, but I definitely miss them!

    I’m really pleased with the finished dress and I’m sure I’ll make another Orla! It’s a simple sew that’s great for showcasing a really lovely fabric and the dress is a comfortable and pretty wardrobe staple – what’s not to love?!

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  2. Avatar

    5 out of 5 The Orla Dress


    This is a winner! A lovely pattern, easy to follow the (a bit minimalistic instructions) and with lots of possibilites to hack. I made size M and it fits perfectly. I will probably do it again, maybe add pocket, make pleats instead of a gathered skirt. And a version in so drapey fabric and a wider skirt would also be nice.

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  3. Avatar

    Orla dress (FREE)


    Yes I’ve made another Orla. I’m still completely in love with this dress. This time I used a four way stretch triple crepe from Sew Me Sunshine which meant I didn’t need a zip, yay!

    I made the back bodice as one piece and instead of a gathered skirt I added pleats which lined up with my dart clusters. The dart clusters come from having to do a large FBA but they actually add a nice feature to the dress.

    As always I will continue to add more Orlas to my wardrobe. I think this is number five! It’s the perfect pattern for beginners and for hacking plus it’s free which is amazing.

    More images over on

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    Orla dress (FREE)


    Orla Dress, made using a vintage sheet. I drafted a bodice/sleeve lining to accompany the pattern instead of binding the neckline, and used a silk/cotton blend for that. After sewing, I dip dyed the hem of the skirt in electric blue and strong navy fiber reactive dye to give it an ombre effect.

    I do like the Orla, but if I make it again I think I’d take a little puff out of the sleeves. I also lengthened this dress by about 3″, and I lengthened the bodice 1″ as well – so if you’re tall keep an eye out for it.

    More details on my blog,

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    Orla dress (FREE)


    Absolutely love this Orla dress! Made the medium size and only had to lower the bust darts by 1/2″. The rest fits perfectly! Ordered this floral viscose twill a few years ago from Blackbird Fabrics and am so pleased that I stashed it until making this dress <3 Already planning a wardrobe full of Orlas!

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    Orla dress (FREE)


    I have definitely had an Orla affair. I absolutely love this free pattern from French Navy. It’s simple design means it is great for beginners but also perfect for hacking. I’ve made three versions so far, one straight from the pattern, one with added pockets and my most “famous” cactus print one with a pleated skirt and pom-pom trim. This pattern is great without any hacks and works well with both bright bold prints and simpler plain fabrics. The instructions are very basic but if you’ve made a dress before you won’t have any issues.

    To get the perfect fit for my (very) large bust I’ve done a FBA and converted the waist dart into a cluster of three smaller darts.

    I have plans for about 5 more and this will definitely be my go to bodice block, I have visions of an Orla wardrobe. There’s a post over on my blog all about my cactus Orla,

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