French Navy Orla + Tilly and the Buttons Megan Hack Dress by Georgina

I'm back again and this time I am going to tell you how amazing this Ahoy Sailor cotton poplin fabric is. As soon as it arrived I popped it straight into the washing machine for its pre wash. Does anyone else wash fabric as soon as you get it? I like to have everything ready so as soon as I have some spare time I can get sewing and not have to wait for fabric to dry! Once dry there were hardly any creases. Sometimes I find that cotton creases so much you have to iron and steam it for hours to get it nice and smooth. Not with this fabric! It is a dream to iron. 

Now what to make with it? I was going to stick with an Orla as I am very much in love with the French Navy Orla dress. I decided to add some longer sleeves as autumn is well and truly here and winter is creeping in. I couldn't decided on what skirt to add and decided I would quite like to make a more fitted one than the gathered or pleated ones I tend to go for. So for my first "proper" pattern hack I decided to go for an Orla bodice with 3/4 length sleeves and the Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress skirt. I've only ever altered necklines, skirts or sleeve length and have never tried to fit two different patterns together. 

So with my fingers crossed I started off with cutting out the bodice as I know the bodice fits me perfect so I didn't want to make any alterations to it. The pattern hacking gods were obviously on my side as the skirt pieces were the same size as the bodice, yay! 

Sewing with this fabric was amazing. There was no movement when cutting out using a rotary cutter. The overlocker loved it giving a neat finish to the seams. 

I didn't have a suitably coloured invisible zip, my invisible zips are never that invisible so it needs to match! However in my stash I found this pale yellow lace zip and some matching bias binding for the neck. I was totally inspired by Lucy of Smile and Make with the lace zips she uses on her dresses. I'm not sure if I've inserted it in the correct way but it works and is neat! Here's a quick run through of how I added the zip:

  • Finish the back seam, I overlock.
  • Press under the seam allowance, its 1cm on the Orla.
  • Pin the wrong side of the zip against the right side of the fabric with the top of the zip level with the seam allowance.
  • Sew to the bottom on the zip stopping at the metal end not at the end of the zip.
  • I then added the bias binding to the neck and folded the top end of the zip into the binding to keep it nice and neat.
  • To finish the bottom end of the zip I used a scrap of fabric and folded this around the bottom then stitched this in place.


Even though it's chilly here in the UK this fabric is still great for dresses with tights and a chunky cardigan.

Find more cotton fabrics here.

Thank you Georgina for your amazing blog post.  If you want to see Georgina's other me-made outfits then you can follow her on instagram.


  • That zip really makes the dress special – I need to get one!
    And yes, I’m a ‘put it straight in the washing machine’ kind of girl – nobody wants to wait for fabric to dry when you’ve got the urge to stitch!

    Jillian Bagnall
  • I absolutely love the zip in this dress! The whole garment is stunning, you will love wearing it!

    Let’s Get Sewing

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