Shirt Dress Orla - Drafting Tutorial

What a month it has been! I loved seeing all the Orlas poping up on my Instagram feed. You guys are so awesome. Thank you to every single one of you for participating in this Orla Affair. As promised I am back to show you all the drafting alterations to make a shirt dress Orla. This dress will require a few more involved modifications than other Orla’s , and some actual drafting. But don’t worry, I will walk you through every single step. I have no doubts you will be able to do it! So, let’s jump in. Keep in mind that all the measurements I give you is what worked for me. I fall into size “L” in Orla and I am 5”10’ with broad shoulders. I definitely recommend making a quick muslin before you cut into your prized fabric.

Tools needed

  • Paper – you can use freezer paper, medical paper or any other paper you use for tracing patterns
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • French Curve (I definitely recommend using a French Curve on this one)
You will also need your front and back bodice pattern pieces.

Seam Allowances

Make sure to mark your seam allowances on both front and back bodice pieces. We will be making all modifications from the actual seam lines. Seam allowances on Orla Dress are 3/8" or 1 cm. We will add those back in once the hack is all done.

Raising the Neckline

We will start off with raising the neckline on the pattern to accommodate for shirt collar. On the front bodice extend the center fold line and raise the neckline by 2”. Next, extend the shoulder inward by 1 1/2”. Using a French curve draw a new neckline For the back bodice, you will need to move the shoulder in by the same amount , 1 1/2”, and raise the neckline by 3/4” at center back. Again use the French curve to draw the neckline.


Now, lets draft the yoke. This is an optional step, you do not have to have an actual yoke on your dress. On the front bodice mark points 1 and 2. Point 1 is on the armscye and it is 2” away from the shoulder seam. Point 2 is 1 1/2” on the front neckline down from the shoulder. Using a ruler connect point 1 and 2 with a straight line. This will be the front part of the yoke. Let’s draft the back yoke. On the back bodice, mark a point on the center back seam, 3 1/2” away from the new neckline. Using a ruler draw a line through this mark, perpendicular to the center back line. This is the back bart of the yoke. Next we will combine the two yokes into one. For this you will need a piece of paper you can see through. We will start with the back part. Lay the paper on top of the back bodice pattern, trace the yoke pattern onto it. Using the same piece of paper, lay it of top of the front bodice making sure the shoulder seams are matched, and trace the front yoke piece. Mark the shoulder seam with notches, add seam allowances and cutting guidelines on the yoke patten. Note that you will have to cut two yokes on fold.

Front Bodice

Let’s go back to front bodice piece and add button stand. Note that in the illustration below I already removed the yoke. For this dress I did an easy button stand that folds under and is then topstitched. I added 3/8” to the center front seam line. Then I added two more lines, one 3/4” and another one 1 1/2” away from the first line I drew. These will become button stand. Then I went ahead and added all the cutting guidelines and graininess to my new pattern pieces. I would have to cut two yoke piece on fold, two front pieces and one back piece on fold.

Collar Stand

Now onto the last part! Let’s draft an actual collar stand. To do so, you will need to measure the length of your new front and back necklines. I like to use tape measure to do so since it is flexible and is easier to measure the length of curves. Once you measure the neckline and mark the measurements down on paper. Since we will be drafting half of a collar, only half of neckline measurements are needed. By that I mean that you can measure the neckline of the front bodice pattern piece and the back bodice pattern piece, without doubling it. To start off, we will draw two perpendicular lines, with a point 1 where they intersect, as below: Next, mark point 2, half of the total neckline measurement (length of back bodice neckline plus length of front bodice neckline ) away from point 1. Square the line upward Mark point 3 3 1/2” up from 1. Square the line off to line 2 Mark point 4, which is 3/4 of the distance between points 1 and 2. Draw a line up to line 3 Mark point 5 on line 2 1/4” away from point 2. Using French curve connect points 4 and 5 Mark point 6 1 1/4" away up from point 1. Draw a line through point 6 all the way to line 2 Mark point 7 on line 6, 5/8" away from the right side Mark point 8 on line 2, 1/8" away from line 3 Mark point 9 1/4" directly to the right of point 8 Connect points 3 and 9, 9 and 7 with a straight lines. Now you can see your collar starting to take shape! Mark point 11 3/8" away from point 5 Using a French curve connect points 7 and 10 Mark point 11 on vertical line 1, 3/8" away from point 6 Using a French curve connect point 11 with the intersection of lines 4 and 6 And finally, we will mark a shoulder notch on the collar stand. To do so, mark point 12 on horizontal line 1, the same distance away as the length of neckline on your back bodice + the length of the back yoke (length from center back line to the shoulder notch) Now you will need to trace out your collar and collar stand pieces. Add seam allowances and pattern cutting guidelines, as well as label the pattern pieces. Note that you will need to cut each piece twice on fold, and once on fold out of interfacing. Thats it! You are done. Next up we will sew this dress! I will be back with a sewing tutorial shortly, likely later today. As usual let me know if you have any questions! I tried my best to put this tutorial together in a clear way, but since it has been a bit busy here I may have missed clarifying something that I should have. Until then, Anya
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