orla-logoI’m pretty obsessed with Orla Keily at the moment (and all things 60’s in case you hadn’t noticed). So, this little project is a homage to her super famous leaf pattern for which she is renowned. AND, this particular number is an upcycle from man’s shirt – but yours doesn’t have to be. You can just cut it from fabric if you prefer.Upcycled Orla Top - FREE SEWING PATTERN

cut-shirt-2So, I will show you 2 things: how to cut your top from a man’s shirt (thus saving on labour and utilising that line of ready-made perfect buttons and buttonholes.) The second thing is how to create that pretty leaf design down the back.

So, first, here is the free pattern to download and stick together – the Orla top. (It’s just a simplified version of my 2 hour top.) I used a dark grey mens shirt from a charity shop, although I had originally planned it to be in white. (Make sure your shirt doesn’t have a pocket on the front or it will end up on the back looking a bit odd). This shirt was a slim cut shirt which actually fitted me perfectly with no alteration to the width. The fitted shape followed my waistline so it was very easy.

shirt-cuttingYou can either lay out your pattern on the shirt and cut like this as the pictures show. Or lay out the pattern on your fabric and cut out. If you are cutting from a shirt you might want to take a bit more care than I did about where the top button falls!

If you are struggling to put it together, have a look at the 2 hour top tutorial  It’s pretty similariron.

For the leaves I used some scraps of fabric in fresh colours, similar to some of those in the Orla Keily palette. You will also need a small piece of Bondaweb. This is great stuff for applique – it’s web adhesive on paper – like a double sided iron-on facing. You will only need a small amount and you can buy it by the quarter metre just here: www.cottonpatch.co.uk


Use the pattern to cut out 16 leaves of varying different fabrics – follow the instructions on the Bondaweb and iron your leaves in place. Bondaweb is fine for the first few washes but it’s stick wears off after a while so you will need to sew around each leaf with a small zigzag.applique-leaves

I finished off the neck with a pretty green elastic trim, but any bias binding will work well.orla-over-shoulder

I would LOVE to see this made up in different colours so please send me a pic or a link to a pic of yours and I will feature it on this post to inspire others.