Make Nine 2019: Chalk & Notch Orchid Midi

Pattern Stats: Orchid Midi
Pattern designer: Chalk & Notch
Pattern level: 6/10
Time start to finish: 6 hours
Suggested fabrics: light weight wovens, rayon challis, rayon, cotton lawn 
My fabric: Ollie rayon challis from Mily Mae Fabrics
Price: $14.00 

My next #MakeNine2019 is the Orchid Midi from Chalk & Notch! I've been eyeing this pattern for a while but was hesitant because it isn't my normal style. Then Gabriela (the owner/designer behind Chalk & Notch) posted a tester call for the extended sizing for the Orchid Midi. I applied and was selected which just seemed like it was meant to be. 

The re-testing of the Orchid Midi was prompted from the addition of sizes up to size 24 in addition to a cup size C/D. Based on my sizing, I was between a B and C cup. Due to the ease at the bust I went with the A/B cup size (as instructed). 

The Orchid Midi was re-released this week and is on sale for 20% off with code Orchid20 through May 22, 2019. If you have previously purchased the pattern, you can simply re-download the file from your account for the updated version. More details on fitting, how to obtain the pattern and sizing can be found in this post by Gabriela on the Chalk & Notch blog

Adjusting the Pattern

Based on my measurements, I made a straight size 10 with no grading needed. I chose the long gathered sleeve which is View B. After determining your measurements, you'll need to print your pattern pieces. I would highly recommend following the print guide and only printing the pages you need. This pattern has quite a few pattern pieces which means a lot of pages, so save on paper and printing if you can. Next make sure to do any grading or adjustments if necessary. As mentioned above, I didn't need to do any grading.

The pattern is made for 5'7" height and since I'm 5'5" tall I needed to remove some length. I chose to remove 0.50" in the bodice and 0.5" in the skirt. On my next one I think I'll take a bit more out of the skirt length for my preference. You will need to add/remove length on the sleeve too. I forgot this step and will need to go back and remove some sleeve length since mine are too long.

Cutting out the Fabric

I am not an expert on woven fabrics but I am an expert on maximizing my fabric cutting! I'm not the first to call it pattern Tetris but that is exactly how I feel about it. I was able to cut my View B size 10 dress out of just shy of 3 yards of fabric. I used a combination of pattern weights and pins to ensure the pattern piece and fabric didn't move in the cutting process. Also, since I was working with a 4 yard length of fabric, I chose to do my cutting on the floor so there wasn't any pulling of the fabric. 

One tip I found to be useful was to pin the pattern piece to the fabric so they were all together. Look closely at your pattern pieces to make sure you cut on the fold (when applicable), interfacing and with the correct grain. 

For interfacing, Gabriela recommends a tricot interfacing. Here's a great article that she wrote for on different tricot interfacing options. I would not skip this step as it's extremely important to reinforce certain parts of your dress. 


The tutorial that Gabriela has created is extremely thorough breaking down each step to manageable tasks. Through the testing process I saw in-depth of how attentive to details she is. This pattern isn't difficult to make but does take time. I'm slow with sewing woven fabric and take my time to make sure I'm doing each step correctly in pattern tests so it took me quite a while. 

I found it best to break the entire process down into smaller steps. First, I washed, dried and ironed my fabric. Then I assembled my pattern. Then I laid out my pattern pieces and cut my fabric. For the assembly, I went through the steps on the bodice, took a break and then assembled the skirt. I was fortunate to have a weekend to myself for sewing so spread this out over 2 days. 

When I said I went slow, I took my time on each and every step. Laying out and cutting the fabric took about an hour. The entire sewing process took me somewhere around 6 hours. I chose to use my serger as the technique for finishing my seams. 

There's quite a few beautiful details on this dress. The back yoke is fully encased which supports the back gathers nicely. There are also gathers on the sleeve cap and front bodice that add a feminine touch and extra ease in those areas. 

The skirt features a split opening and pockets. Yes, pockets! I chose to use the same fabric for them but you can use a lining fabric instead. They blend well with the side seams and aren't visible unless your hands are in them. They are large enough to hold my phone but find that it's just too heavy and will pull the dress down with the added weight. 

Working with rayon challis for this dress was dreamy. It had just enough structure to not slip and slide around for construction but still provided a drape that was ideal for this dress. The rayon challis I used is the Ollie from Mily Mae Fabrics which is unfortunately sold out already. I've linked other woven fabrics that are available in stock. 

Final Assessment

I'm glad I gave this pattern a try. It wasn't difficult to execute and is a stunning piece. I loved the steps in the construction and how nothing seemed difficult. It truly was broken down to steps that were all achievable and understandable. I have learned though that a midi length just isn't my preference. I'd love to try this Orchid + Parasol mash in the future. The Parasol will also be getting an update to fit the newly updated Orchid. 

I do think I'll try making the skirt as a separate too. I'd like to play with my length preference and add an invisible zipper. Of course I've never done that before so that'll take a bit more learning to execute.

I plan on adjusting the cross over on the bodice and shortening the sleeves. It gaps a bit at the chest and since I was in the second round of testers, the final group ended up crossing it over more/tighter to eliminate that. There's a suggestion to add a hidden snap the crossover to minimize it opening too. For the sleeves, I'm trying to decide if I'll keep them long and just remove a bit of length or shorten them to a 3/4 length sleeve. 

Looking to purchase the Orchid Midi? It is on sale for 20% off with code Orchid20 through May 22, 2019.

#MakeNine2019 Update

This now checks 2 items off my Make Nine list! I have made the Hyacinthe bra too but it needs some work on fit before I do a post about it. I'm also starting to think that since it's the middle of May, I may want to re-evaluate and change a couple patterns out. We'll have to see if I decide to do that though. 

My posts may feature affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase from these links, I receive a small percentage in compensation at no cost to you. I may have received patterns or products to test or review but the opinions I voice are my own. 


  1. Thank you so much for your help with testing! It was a pleasure to work with you! XO, G


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