My First PDF Pattern

Well it certainly took me long enough, but I finally finished my first PDF pattern!

Making PDF patterns is something that I have been thinking of doing for a long time now, but I just never got around to taking action. After listening to Episode 09 of The Wild Stitch’s ever inspiring Maker Style Podcasts a few months ago, in which she interviews Indie Pattern maker Helen from Helen’s Closet , I decided right there and then that it was something that I wanted to accomplish before the end of the year.

There is a wealth of brilliant information in that Podcast, Rachel’s questions covered all the things that I was wondering about, and Helen’s answers are super informative! She offered so much great advice, some of which I seemed to follow better than others.

I wanted to make a simple style for my first pattern, following her wise words of not biting off more than you can chew in the beginning. This makes a lot of sense, because making a PDF pattern actually is quite a mammoth task, and pretty overwhelming initially! (and I didn’t even include photos/ illustrations with my instructions!… sorry guys, next time)

It’s a REALLY old pattern (I think almost 1o years old), but simplicity aside, there are a few other reasons why I chose this dress. I actually had completely forgotten about the existence of this pattern until a few months ago when one of my longtime friends asked me about a dress that I had given her many years ago that she had loved to death (literally, it was threadbare). She dropped it off and asked if I could make her another one like it as she loved the fit and style so much.

So I doubtfully trawled my pattern archives to see if I could find it, and was amazed when I actually was able to. Lindsey (that’s her name) loves the comfort and versatility of the dress (it can be styled up or down), but says she also finds the cut of the raised waist to be very flattering. My thinking, while sewing her a replacement dress from this pattern, was that a style that has such longevity (she has been wearing it for almost a decade), yet is simple and versatile and suits various body types would be a good starting point for my first PDF pattern.

I haven’t had time to take photos of the new dresses that I have made from this pattern yet, but I have posted one Instagram in the past if you want to see the finished dress. I will upload some as soon as I do take them.

I only realised after fully completing my pattern, grading and all, that I had included a 1cm seam allowance when the majority of home sewers use a 1.5cm allowance (Damn!). We were trained to make patterns with a 1cm allowance at fashion school, and its a habit that I’ve never gotten out of because I so seldom use commercial patterns. I will definitely make sure that my next pattern has a 1.5cm allowance, but please remember to add on an extra 5mm seam allowance if you are not comfortable sewing with 1cm.

It was a big learning experience for me and I would love to know your thoughts (and see your dress) if you do use this pattern, as I still have a lot to learn and improve.

I’d better be off to go set the table, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Update: Its March already and I’ve still not found the time to take photos of my Orla’s…however I never anticipated so many people making the dress and sharing their beautiful creations. You can check these out by searching #theorladress on Instagram. Please use the same tag to share yours if you make one!


 Orla Dress A0 Pattern Download

Orla US Letter & A4 Pattern Download








133 thoughts on “My First PDF Pattern

    • Sarah-May says:

      Hi Susan
      I would recommend rayon/ viscose or other lightweight fabrics with a similar drape. I have seen lovely versions in chambray and firmer woven fabrics too, but the skirt will of course not drape as much if your fabric has too much body. (which can also look totally cool, depends what your going for). Sorry for the delayed response!! x


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  2. Judith W Blumert says:

    I saw that someone made this dress in a knit. I was wondering how this would be done for the eliminating the zipper.


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