Orla Shirt Dress - Sewing Tutorial

I am back with a final sewing tutorial for An Orla Affair. I know, I know... I am behind. It is already August 2, and I was supposed to have it up last week... I apologize for that. July has been crazy busy with wedding plans in full swing, numerous family vacations planned and busy work, yet I really wanted to contribute as much as I could to this cause. I guess better late than never! You can read the instructions on how I hacked the pattern for Orla Dress into this shirt dress here. As I've mentioned in one of my earlier posts about this dress, this was the most involved hack out of all Orla hacks I've made this month. Because I added a standing collar to the pattern, sewing is also a little bit more involved. Okay, let's jump in! I assume that you already have all your pattern pieces cut out.

Main Fabric

  • front bodice x 2
  • back bodice x 1, on fold
  • yoke x 2, on fold
  • collar stand x 2, on fold
  • collar x 2, on fold
  • sleeve x 2
  • front skirt x 1, on fold
  • back skirt x 1, on fold (you can simply cut off 1 cm seam allowance along the center back seam line or leave as it and just gather the entire thing as one piece)


  • collar stand x 1, on fold
  • collar x 1, on fold
  • 2 strips of interfacing 3/4" wide and as long as your front bodice to interface button stands
In this tutorial white means wrong side of the fabric and gray is the right side of the fabric.


  1. Interface wrong side of one collar stand and one collar piece.
  2. Iron on strips of interfacing onto wrong side of both bodice pieces, 3/4" away from the front edge.

Bodices and Yoke

  1. After you have ironed on interfacing onto front bodice pieces, press the center front edges to the inside by 1 1/2". Fold the raw edges under and press again, creating a 3/4" wide button stand. Topstitch close to the fold. Repeat for the other front bodice.
  2. Sew darts on both front bodice pieces and back bodice piece. Press them towards center front and back, respectively.
  3. With right sides together pin one yoke piece to back bodice. Stitch 1/4" away from the edge.
  4. Flip the bodice so that the wrong side is facing you and pin the other yoke piece with right side of the yoke facing the wrong side of the bodice. Stitch with 3/8" seam allowance making sure you are catching all three layers of fabric.
  5. Grade seam allowances and press the yokes up, encasing the seam in between them. Topstitch close to the seam.
  6. Flip the yokes open again and, with right sides facing, pin the outside yoke to the front bodice pieces at the shoulder seams, making sure the right side of front bodice pieces is facing the right side of the back bodice. Stitch 1/4" away from the raw edge.
  7. Next we will use burrito method to finish attaching the yoke to the front bodice. Arrange the bodice pieces so that the wrong side of the back bodice facing you and the front bodice pieces are laying under the back bodice, as in the illustration above. Roll both front and back bodices in away from you, under the yokes. Flip the top yoke open, if you haven't already done so, see illustration below. Flip the lower yoke again, away from you and under the rolled bodice pieces, so it encloses the rolled bodices in between the yoke pieces. Pin yoke shoulders, sandwiching the front bodice in between the two yokes. Stitch with 3/8" seam allowance. Grainline Studio has a great video tutorial on this method here.
  8. Grade seam allowances and carefully pull bodice pieces out and press. Topstitch front parts of the yoke close to the seam. Press again.
  9. With right sides facing, pin side seams of bodices and stitch. My fabric was quite thin, so I finished my seam allowances together and pressed them to the back. Otherwise, I recommend finishing seam allowances before stitching side seams, and then pressing them open.


  1. Place two collar pieces on top of each other and pin the outside edges. Sew. Clip corners and grade seam allowances.
  2. Turn the collar out and press. Topstitch and give it another press.
  3. Pin the collar stands to each side of the collar with right sides facing each other. The collar will be sandwiched in between the two collar stands. Note that interfaced collar stand should lie against non-interfaced collar. Sew along the curved edge.
  4. Clip into curved corners, turn to the ride side and press.

Attaching Collar to the Bodice

  1. With the right side of the bodice facing you, pin the interfaced side of the collar stand to the neckline, matching all the notches. Stitch from one collar stand seam to the other. Clip into the seam allowance on the curved parts and press the seam up to the inside of the collar stand.
  2. To enclose the ends of the collar stand I am using the method used in Grainline Archer shirt. I really love how it provides a really clean finish! Jen has a great video tutorial on how she did it here. But you can try to figure it out with my drawings...
  3. Place the dress bodice so that the wrong side of the dress is facing you and the collar is laying underneath it. Roll the bodice in towards the collar seam allowance.
  4. Roll the collar in towards the collar seam allowance as well. This will be a little bit bulky, but that is alright, as we will only be stitching for about 1 -1 1/2".
  5. Flip the collar stand around the collar and the rolled bodice, matching the neckline seam. Starting at the front of the collar stand stitch as far as you can along the neckline. Trim the corners and turn right side out. Repeat for the other side. Again, you can see the amazing video tutorial from Grainline on this method here.
  6. Turn the dress so that the wrong side is facing you. Flip the rest of the inside collar stand under and pin.
  7. Topstitch around the collar stand. I like to start around one of the shoulders and work my way around. This way I get a nicer finish with no visible backstitches at the edges of the collar stand.
  8. This is where I would try the bodice on, mark a button hole right at the bust line and then space the rest of the button holes ~3"-3 1/2" apart. I ended up having 6 button holes, including one in the collar stand. Work your button holes. You can also sew buttons on here or wait until you are fully done with the dress. Unfortunately I forgot to create an illustration for this, but I hope it is pretty self explanatory.


  1. Before I do anything else with the sleeves I like to press the hem up. Since the sleeve is flat at this point it helps to create a nice even hem guideline.
  2. Stitch two lines of gathering stitches between the notches on the sleeve head. The first line of stitches should be 1/4" away from the edge and the second line 3/8" away from the first line. Note that gathering stitches are the longest stitch on your sewing machine. Leave long tails on the stitches for the ease of gathering.
  3. Flip your pressed hem open and pin the sleeve seams together. Sew and press seam allowances open. TIP: this is also where I like to hem the sleeves. Since they are not attached to the dress at this point it is a lot easier to hem them without the bulk of the dress being in the way.
  4. Gently pull on both bobbin threads from the one side to form the gathers in the sleeve head. With right sides facing each other, pin the sleeve to bodice, matching notches at front underarm and shoulder seam. Distribute the gathers evenly and neatly so that the sleeve head fits and there are no visible tucks. Sew. Finish seam allowances together and gently press them towards the bodice.

Pockets and Skirt

If you would like to add pockets to your dress, you can check out how I drafted them here, and sewed them here. Scroll down to Pocket and Skirt heading for instructions, under which you can also find instructions on how to attach the skirt to your dress. They are pretty much identical, except the only difference is that in this dress there is no center back seam and you will be attaching the skirt in the round. I really hope you find this tutorial helpful! I know I have rushed through it a little more than I wanted to, but I really wanted to get it out to you. If you do notice any inconsistencies whatsoever or feel like any graphics could be clearer, please let me know and I will fix them. Thank you for hanging out with me during this Orla month. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Now I am off to finally go through all the beautiful Orlas without feeling rushed. Love, Anya
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