Orla Kiely Inspired Linen Dress

Orla Kiely Inspired Dress made with Linen from Mood Fabrics

Good morning, Mood Fabrics! This month, the Mood bloggers had a fun challenge to conquer: pick a Spring 2014 designer collection, then make an outfit inspired by our choices. For me, the field narrowed quickly. There are many designers I love, but there is only one whose clothes consistently make me squeal in fashion joy: Orla Kiely.

The Irish designer tends toward pieces that combine retro styling with heavy doses of whimsy, and this season’s collection is no exception. These clothes are heavy on linen, novelty animal prints, and plenty of pastel colors. It’s, essentially, what would happen if the characters from a Moonrise Kingdom went on a safari. I love it so hard, y’all.

Orla Kiely Inspired Dress made with Linen from Mood Fabrics
To channel the collection properly, I obviously needed a linen dress and cows to photograph it by, in lieu of the typical safari fare.  Mood, as always, came to my fabric rescue! There are so many lovely linens in stock right now, but I settled on this gorgeous navy from Ralph Lauren and a coordinating light coral. In person, these fabrics are completely sumptuous. Sure, linen is infamous for wrinkles, but once you’ve felt it against your skin, who even cares? It’s the very definition of cool, billowy comfort! In Texas, we really appreciate such things.

Orla Kiely Inspired Dress made with Linen from Mood Fabrics
Christine Haynes’ Emery dress, with its 1960s flare and gently gathered skirt, seemed the perfect fit for these fabrics. The collar provides a lovely bit of contrast for the pink linen, while the fit-and-flare silhouette really takes advantage of the navy linen’s body. Just look at how swishy that skirt is! It’s such fun to wear, even if a little perilous on windy days like the one pictured.


Orla Kiely Inspired Dress made with Linen from Mood Fabrics
Sewing this up was such an easy, joy filled experience. Not only did the navy of this linen hold up beautifully in the pre-wash, but it sewed like a dream. There was nary a fray or an unravel, after cutting, and the stitches blended in like magic. The collar is interfaced, but probably didn’t even need it, because the midweight coral fabric holds shape so well. Why haven’t I sewn with more linen in the past? It’s perfect for summer and easy to sew with!

Orla Kiely Inspired Dress made with Linen from Mood Fabrics
In the end, this dress is a bit more casual than Orla Kiely’s originals, but it’s such fun to wear. I love the pairing of colors and cool elegance of this fabric. While a twee safari isn’t in my immediate future, this dress will be just as great for those road trips into the Texas Hill Country! Though, as these pictures can attest, the time it takes to drive to picturesque cows is precisely aligned with how long linen takes to wrinkle. Ah well, safaris are meant for comfort, after all.



  • Jenny
    March 24, 2014

    Gorgeous! AS PER USUAL.

    This looks very RTW and I love the coral collar pop… and so many possible variations! I am also jealous of your cows.

  • Peter
    March 24, 2014

    What a beautiful dress. I LOVE linen and yours seems to have a lovely drape. Great pairing of the navy and coral too!

  • Lori
    March 24, 2014

    I really like your interpretation of Orla’s dress, it looks wonderful on you. I also enjoyed looking at Orla’s show online.

  • Sallie
    March 24, 2014

    Gorgeous color pairing! I love linen dresses in the summer too (must be a Texas thing??) And as far as the wrinkles go, I just say OWN IT! That ‘lived in’ look is part of the beauty of the fabric! Great job interpreting Orla Kiely’s collection!

  • Beth Conkwright
    March 24, 2014

    The dress looks fabulous. Great fit.

  • Manju
    March 24, 2014

    Agree beautiful dress you will wear for many years! Lovely colours.

  • Cennetta
    March 24, 2014

    Your new designer inspired dress is very flattering on you. Thanks for the link to the collection.

  • Ginger
    March 24, 2014

    Ummmmm, yep, I’ll take this! Thanks! Alright, you should keep this since you look so gosh darn adorable in it, but man, I want this exact same dress! It’s absolutely darling! I especially love the little pop of pink at the collar- it’s the perfect color for you and really frames your face beautifully! Well done, girl!

  • Fabric Tragic
    March 25, 2014

    As I lay here reading under my Orla Kiely duvet cover I must say this is just so sweet. One of the most simply stylish Emeries I’ve seen.

  • Lauren
    March 25, 2014

    HAHA my other choice designer was Orla Kiely! We are totally on the same style wavelength, girl! Although I’m glad you took this one, because you did the inspiration waaay more justice than I would have! I especially love that coral linen collar, ooh, what a yummy color 😀

  • oonaballoona
    March 25, 2014

    i can feel the summer breeze floating around your linen in these pics. you look absolutely lovely!

  • Fiona
    March 25, 2014

    Excellent designer choice Mary, I loving the combination of navy and coral you’ve chosen too. I’m going to have to note that one down for my summer wardrobe! You guys have all done such a great job at making the designer looks your own

  • Amanda S.
    March 27, 2014

    You are definitely ready for summer, if it EVER gets here!

  • Diana
    April 2, 2014

    Really pretty dress and you look wonderful in it!