ORLA trapeze dress


I love this dress. I mean I REALLY love it!

I love its swingy shape, I love its retro trim, useful pockets, Ive made myself so many of these Ive lost count.

I named it Orla because Im a big fan of Orla Kiely and also 1950’s vintage aprons, you know the ones that are edged with glorious bias binding in contrast colours. Well this pattern is my homage to them both.

Its easy to make, trapeze shape, darts, its got great side pockets and an optional front placket with 3 buttons, bias trim edged neckline and short sleeves.

Hope Ive sold it to you! Theres other Orla variations at the bottom of this page to tempt you.

Available in sizes S/M/L/XL

You can download this pattern via my Etsy shop here for £6.50.

Etsy shop

Heres a guide to sizes/ fabric requirements etc.

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Remember the seam allowance is 1cm.

This is how to make it….

Cut out your size dress pieces. You should have front, back, sleeve, front placket (an optional front and back facing if required). Alternatively you can use bias binding as shown in these pictures to achieve that retro look.

This is what you do:

Sew back pieces together. Leave the top section open as shown on the pattern or insert a zipper into the seam. If you want a tutorial on how to insert a zip see my A-line skirt post.


Sew the darts. Shown here on a different fabric. 1

On the placket piece, edge with bias binding with the RS of the binding facing the RS of the placket piece. Stitch. Fold the binding over to the reverse side. Press.


Place on to the dress front, make sure its dead centre. Then stitch in the ditch around the outside of the bias trim. You can also stitch around the outside edge but I like to leave it like a little flap.

Stay stitch around the neckline (front and back) at this point close to the edge (5mm approx).


Now sew the front to the back at shoulder seams. RS facing. Finish the raw edges. Press shoulder seam towards the back.

Now you can see that I have left the back seam open but you might have put in a zip which is also good.


Attach the top neckline edge with seam binding. Pin to the RS then sew. Fold over to the WS. Press. Pin. Stitch by hand (best in my opinion) or machine stitch to secure.


Try to match the width of the neckline binding with the front placket.


Don’t forget the pockets! Stitch at each side RST with pocket facing inwards. One for each side. Be careful to make sure they are aligned. Then fold outwards and top stitch close to the seam line on the pocket side.

IMG_4779Now you can pin and sew your front to back. All along from under arm to bottom hem on both sides. Don’t forget to finish the raw edges!

IMG_4792Now to the sleeve bit. Fold over the sleeve pieces RS facing. Pin then sew at the side edge.

Finish the raw edges. Tack stitch at the sleeve head.


Pin the sleeve to the armhole. Make sure you have your back section to the back of the dress. If in doubt check the pattern.

IMG_4794Tack stitch all around.


Sew on the machine then finish the raw edges.


All you have to do now is attach your binding to the sleeve edge and hem the lower edge.

Oh and sew on your three buttons.


If the back seam is open at the top, I insert a hook and eye or a chain stitch loop and tiny button.

One last thing. As the hem edge is very flared due to the trapeze shape its best to hem with seam binding its also easier to sew….just saying! remember to ease the binding into a curve before attaching.

You can also make some variations. Here for example I edged the neckline with same fabric bias binding that I made myself and sat it behind the neckline edge. This is fab Echino linen mix fabric. I love this print.

ORLA with sleeves jpg

I also made a longer version in this stretch poplin.

Mid calf Orla

Then why not make a sleeveless version like this one which I made from a fabulous vintage curtain. Ain’t it fab!

I also edged the hem too with binding.

ORLA sleeveless

This one I added a neck facing which is included on the pattern. I like this print, its so Scandi. I often wear this one with jeggings and pumps.


Anyway thats all for now.

Why not make yourself an Orla for Spring/Summer or to take on holiday ?



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Who doesn’t love a groovy apron? Its the place where you can wear loud patterns to add zing to your kitchen. Frankly Im completely addicted to sewing for my funky kitchen so much so I replace labels on pots of (bought) jam and chutney like so…..IMG_8228Making a matching jar topper in the same fabric as your apron is just pure joy, and simple to do, just cut a circle out using a saucer or small plate as a template or print off a template here Jam topper template and secure with a cord ponytail band (available everywhere). Would you like a Funky Kitchen label to print off ? well here you are then. funky kitchen label – for your own personal use please! Just cut them out and stick on with a bit of Pritt stick (other glues are available!)  they look nice too printed off onto coloured paper.

From my FUNKY KITCHEN PATTERN you can make an apron, tea cosy and an oven mitt.

Then I make a matching …..IMG_7967 yep you guessed it…Tea cosy. This one is un quilted so if you don’t have a walking foot that is probably easiest. If you want to quilt it to make it more structured, it will look like this…..

IMG_8370 and what about then a matching ……IMG_8374

yup oven mitt. Corr… thats kitchen porn as far as I’m concerned, all in fabulouso African fabric which is not only easy to find (ebay), you can get in either 6 yard bales or buy by the metre. Its sturdy stuff too, perfect for aprons and kitchen accessories…..So where was I, oh yes, My Funky Kitchen. This is what the pattern looks like…..

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You can see included on the sheet is a template for an apron, oven mitt, tea cosy, pot holder, jam pot topper and some ‘Funky Kitchen‘ labels to cut out and stick on your homemade (or bought) jam or chutney for example.

Funky Kitchen patterns are available to buy as hard copies posted or PDF downloads from: HERE and you can follow these step by step photos how to make them, Funky Kitchen is absolutely great for beginners or anyone who just loves making fun easy stuff. So switch on some music, get yourself a piece of homemade cake and a cuppa and enjoy sewing your Funky Kitchen.

You will need:


A pair of scissors, pins, iron, invisible marking pen, poking tool such as a chunky knitting needle, chopstick or blunt ended pencil.

NB. When sewing projects with thermo interfacing sewing will be made easier if you use a walking foot attachment* to your machine.

Fabric Requirements:

Apron = 1m of fabric (if your fabric is 112cm wide you will need an extra 30cm if you want a pocket in a different fabric). NB. you could always use a different fabric for the ties and pocket as an alternative for extra quirkiness.

Tea cosy = 30cm x 80cm of main fabric, lining fabric and thermolam wadding. 1m of 25mm wide bias binding (or make your own from the left over fabric).

Oven Mitt =25cm x 70cm of main fabric, lining fabric and insul-bright interfacing and 50cm of (25mm wide) bias binding.

Pot holder = 25cm x 50cm of main fabric and insul-bright interfacing and 1m of bias binding.


Cutting guide: from your fabric cut the following pieces:

Cut one apron front piece on fold of fabric.

Cut one neckband piece.

Cut two tie pieces with pattern lined up to the fold.

Cut one pocket piece if you have sufficient fabric or in a contrast fabric.


Fold over and press a 1cm then again 1cm then stitch along to make a small hem at the two slanted top side edges of your apron front piece.


Next make your neck strap and side ties.

So fold the strips of fabric in half lengthways matching the raw edges and with the RST* (right sides together). Pin then stitch along the open side all the way down.


With the side ties only stitch across diagonally as shown on the template at just one end then trim off the excess seam allowance leaving a 1cm approx margin.


Now turn inside out so grab yourself a poking tool (as mentioned above in equipment section) and push the tie or neckband inside out.


Then iron your ties so the seam lines are aligned with the fold.


Alternatively , if you find turning inside out too tricky you could just fold and press the long raw edges 1cm then fold the whole band in half and press. Stitch down the sides close to the edge and then hem the ends.

Right so with all the ties and neckband made why not top stitch them on the RS* (right side). I always think it finishes it off so much better and I love a bit of topstitching!IMG_7280

Next we sew the neckband into the apron, so first double fold over and iron a 1cm hem at the very top horizontal edge of the apron. Now before you stitch it just tuck in the raw edges of your neckband under the fold and pin to hold ….hanging downwards towards the apron like this….IMG_7281

Be careful not to twist your band so it should be the same sides facing down each side.

Then stitch across from one side to the other sewing in the neckband straps as you go. Finally fold straps up and stitch across at the upper edge of the hem again like this….IMG_8242

You will need to sew in any loose ends of course. Brilliant. Now to the side ties….

Fold over and press 1cm then again 1cm at the side vertical raw edges each side. Now tuck the raw edge end of the apron under the fold just like before with the tie extending towards the apron.


Then stitch down the side hem close to the inner fold.


Next you just fold back the tie just like you did before with the neckband and stitch again.

IMG_7288 All thats left to do now is to hem the lower edge.


and there you have a lovely funky apron!


To add a pocket make a 1cm double fold hem at the top edge of the pocket piece. Fold over and press the remaining  three sides 1cm. Pin the pocket on to your apron front in the required position tack stitch all around by hand. Sew around the three un-hemmed edges about 4mm from edge, make a small triangle at the top two corners to enclose the seam on the inside. remove tacking stitches.


So to make an oven mitt is a joyful thing, a perfect companion to your lovely apron don’t you think! (up there with cake I’d say!)

The fabric requirements are at the top of the page.

First I start quilting my fabric pieces together, to do this you may need a walking foot attachment which looks like this…*

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 16.10.38 copy

A strange looking thing I know, but it does make it SO much easier when quilting multi layers of fabric and wadding together but if you haven’t got one, don’t despair, you could either try stitching it without one or just leave out the quilting bit (tack stitch your fabric together to hold layers in place).

So firstly lay your pieces together main fabric RS up followed by a layer of thermo interfacing then a layer of lining RS facing outside. Pin to hold.


Draw a diagonal line using a marker pen on the fabric layers at the centre.1b

You can stitch lines 4cm apart  using the long quilt guide, lining it up to the previous stitching. Stitch across one way and then the other until you have a trellis like pattern.


Do the same for both pieces, then place your template on top of the fabric and cut out two mitts NB cut one with template facing up and one with template facing down so you have two pieces mirrored.


Pin the mitt pieces together with main fabric right sides together. Stitch all around with a 1/4″ (6mm) seam. Zig zag the outer raw edges all around and nick into the corner between the thumb and mitt to allow for movement.


Turn your mitt inside out and push out edges with a poking tool.


Nearly there now, just a few things to do before we arrive at Oven Mitt Heaven!

First lets make a tab loop so we can hang it up on display for everyone to see.

To do this we cut a strip of fabric 10cm long by 4cm wide.

Fold over and press 1cm each long side like so….


Then press over in half and stitch down each side like this……


Insert your loop at the top edge of the mitt and tack stitch on the machine close to the edge like this….


Next we stitch some binding at the top edge so either cut yourself a strip of fabric 4cm x 32cm (fold and press 1cm each long side) or use some ready made bias binding available at most good haberdashers. You could use an accent colour from your fabric print to enhance the design. Bind the top edge of your mitt thus encasing the raw edges.


There you have one fab mitt.


See above for fabric requirements.

This is what you do:

Sandwich your 3 fabric pieces together with the RS of fabric outermost and the thermal interfacing in the middle. Pin all around.

Draw one line diagonally in each direction, across the top fabric at the centre with an invisible fabric marker.IMG_8331

Then stitch along the line, using a stitch line guide, what is that! I hear you say…..

here it is you’ve probably seen one in your accessories box and wondered what it was for.


well  fitted onto your machine at the back of your foot or walking foot, it helps you keep straight lines, parallel to each other at the set required distance from each other.

Nifty huh?IMG_8332

So once you have quilted all your tea cosy it should look like this on the front…IMG_8335

and like this on the back…


Next you cut out two tea cosy shapes using the template on your pattern sheet.


Now we put the little loop in at the top. So cut a strip of fabric 4cm x 10cm in either the main fabric, lining or use a strip of bias tape. Pin, then stitch on to one of the tea cosy pieces at the centre of the top like this….


Place the two tea cosy pieces together with the right sides facing each other. Pin all around then stitch 6mm from the edge all around (except the bottom straight edge of course…derr!). Zig zag the outer raw edge.


Then turn it inside out, pushing out the seam edges from the inside.

So just one more thing to do, thats the binding. You can use bias binding, which looks nice when you pick up on one of the colours in your print pattern (yum!) or make your own by cutting a 4cm strip of fabric and folding over 1cm on one long side (WS on the inside). IMG_8346

Pin one unfolded edge of the binding to the RS of the tea cosy at the lower raw edge. Stitch along the fold.IMG_8347

Fold over the binding to the reverse side. Pin, hand tack stitch to hold in position then stitch in the ditch* on the machine on the RS, ensuring the stitching holds the binding on the reverse side.





There you have a lovely tea cosy.


And if you fancy making a pot holder like this:


just cut out two pieces in main fabric and one piece in Thermolam from the pot holder template, a strip 4cm x 10 cm in main or contrast fabric and you will need a metre of (25mm) bias binding too.

Layer your pieces just as you did for the cosy and machine quilt in much the same way.

Make your loop that you have stitched just like the teacosy one (above) and tack it in to the centre edge of one side.IMG_8343

Sew your binding on all around, overlapping about 1cm at the cross over section.

There you have it. Ta dah!

One very Funky Kitchen!


Making Rosalind is easy just a couple of hours of fun.

Download the pattern from www.sewgirl.co.ukIMG_4475Gathered at the neckline

Ros top hr jpg

Boxy shape sits on the hips.

IMG_4480Short capped off the shoulder sleeves

IMG_4479Cute little covered and slit opening at the back for a retro look

1Pic 12Pic 23Pic 34Pic 4

6Pic 57Pic 6/78Pic 89Pic 910

Pic 1011Pic 1112DIAGRAMS

cutting diag jpeg
Cutting layout
diag 1
Cut the necklines
diag 2
gather the front neckline
diag 3
Attach the facings
diag 4
Hem the lower and side edges
diag 5
Sew up the sides

Pic 12



Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 15.45.55pattern available to buy from http://www.sewgirl.co.uk 

This is a pattern for a lovely matching lined hat, big beach bag and sunglasses case. Suitable for medium to heavyweight fabric such as cotton, denim, canvas or corduroy. Simple to make, the bag and purse have a magnetic clasp flap with button.

BAG MEASURES 43cm X 66cm (inc. handles)
SUNGLASSES CASE MEASURES 18cm x 12cm approx.

You will need:
BAG=1 metre of main fabric, 30cm of lining fabric, one magnetic clasp and one large (3cm) button.

PURSE= 25cm of main fabric, 25cm of lining fabric, 25cm of med weight fusible interfacing, one small magnetic clasp and one button.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 16.47.33


Cut out your bag pieces following the layout diagram.
You will need:
Two bag pieces A and B together in main fabric (cut one piece on folded fabric) lay the pattern piece as close to the end of the fabric as possible and make sure you have placed it so you have enough fabric leftover for the facing piece.
Trim down the dotted line on the pattern then cut two pieces of facing piece B in main fabric (see layout diag) ie cut one on folded fabric and two pieces of lower piece A in lining fabric.
Cut two flap pieces (one on folded fabric).

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Firstly pin the flap pieces together RST, sew around with a 1cm seam allowance. Nick curves then turn inside out pushing out the edges with a knitting needle or chopstick.
Attach one side of your magnetic clasp to the flap so nick two little holes on one layer only at the marker point. Push the prongs of the clasp through then push together on the inside.

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With the RST pin together the lining piece A with the facing piece B then stitch a 1cm seam across. Repeat for other side. Top stitch on the RS.

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Take one main bag piece pin the flap to the centre front top edge with the magnetic clasp facing up then tack stitch to secure in place, remove pins. (see pic).

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 16.48.19SEW UP THE SIDES
Now with the RST pin together the two main bag pieces at lower sides stitch a 1cm seam. Repeat for lining pieces but this time leave an opening in the lining for turning inside out.
Clip curved seams at corners.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 16.48.36SEWING THE HANDLES
Turn the lining bag piece only inside out so the RS is visible.
Place one bag inside the other so the RST matching up all the raw edges of the handles on both sides, keep the flap tucked in between the bag and facing. Pin then stitch all around handles over the side seam then up and down the other side so your stitching finally ends where it began. Nick all curved seams and cut across corners (careful not to nick your stitching!). Turn your bag inside out through your opening.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 16.48.47
Stitch the two front bag handles together with a square and a cross in the centre (see template).
Attach the other magnetic clasp in the bag front matching the position show as a X on the template.
Finally stitch up the opening in the lining.

There you have one great bag!

Now what about making a matching sunglasses case? ……..

CASECASE by Sewgirl


Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 15.45.55                                         templates available to buy from http://www.sewgirl.co.uk IMG_1437

A fun hat project and bag and sunnies case to match. I used gorgeous “Aunties Attic’ fabric by Robert Kaufman but you could use any thicker cotton fabric such as cotton, denim, canvas or corduroy. Simple to make, the bag and purse have a magnetic clasp flap with button.

The hat comes in two brim sizes small (pictured) and large and fits a 57cm size head.

You will need: a sewing machine, an iron, needle and thread, pins and scissors.

MATERIALS REQUIRED: Hat (small brim)= 50cm main fabric, 20cm lining fabric and 50cm of med weight fusible interfacing.
Hat (large brim)= 60cm main fabric, 20cm lining and 60cm med weight fusible interfacing.


PATTERN LAYOUT Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 15.37.36


CUTTING OUT THE PIECES- In the main fabric cut two BRIM pieces following the fabric layout as shown in DIAG A. ie place pattern pieces adjacent to the fold. Cut one BRIM piece in interfacing with pattern placed against the fold.
Now open fabric out and following the fabric layout DIAG B cut one SIDE PANEL in outer fabric, one piece in lining fabric and one in interfacing. Cut notches as indicated.

Cut out one CROWN piece in main fabric (DIAG C), one piece in lining and one in interfacing cut notches as indicated.


SEWING THE CROWN -Trim off 1.5 all around all the interfacing pieces outer edges then iron on to the main fabric pieces of crown, side panel and one of the brim pieces.

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Fold the side panel in half with the right sides together (RST) and pin together at short side, then stitch a 1.5cm seam. Press seam open.

Pin the outer crown to side panel at notched edge with RST starting at the side seam, nick the edges of the side panel and crown so they fit snuggly together matching the notches as you go.
Tack stitch to hold pieces in place, then stitch on the machine with a 1.5cm seam allowance careful that you don’t stitch any folds into the seam.

Repeat in the same way for the crown lining and side panel so you have identical ‘caps’ in outer and lining fabrics.
Top stitch the main fabric ‘cap’ on the RS by stitching 4mm
below the seam.


SEWING THE BRIM – Take your two brim pieces and with the RST pin together at the short side then stitch a 1.5cm seam so you have two rings. With the RST pin the two brims together at the outer edge then stitch all around a 1.5cm seam.

Now trim this seam allowance to 6mm (1/4”) approx. Turn the brim inside out so the right side of the fabric is visible. Press and push out the seam edges all around and pin together the raw edges at top.


So back to the machine, adjust your stitch length to 3 and stitch lines all around your brim approx 1.5cm apart from the raw edge to the brim edge. Sew in ends. Press.

ATTACHING THE BRIM TO THE CROWN- Pin the raw edges of the brim to the raw edges of the outer side panel ‘cap’, start at the side seams then pin all around. Tack stitch to hold in place making sure the raw edges are lined up, clip seams if required. Stitch a 1.5cm seam all around hat. Press seam flat then top stitch on the RS if you fancy it.

1011JPGATTACHING THE CROWN LINING – Take the hat lining ‘cap’ and fold over the raw lower edge 1.5cm. Pin to the inside of the hat at the join wrong sides together. Hand stitch all around with little stitches so they are not too visible then turn your hat inside out and there you are one lovely hat!HAT by Sewgirl JPG

Copyright Sewgirl 2015 This pattern is not for commercial use www.sewgirl.co.uk