Tag Archives: Orla Kiely

Designer Inspiration: Orla Kiely

Do you ever look to designers for your sewing/ making inspiration? I do a little bit, mainly through Pinterest, which I love. As any of you that like the 60s, as I do, I’m sure you love Orla Kiely. I like her 60s colour palettes and the shapes on her designs. I feel like some of the stuff was everywhere for a while, but I like her clothing designs, so I thought I’d share some here for your sartorial inspiration.

I love the dresses particularly. This bird fabric is soooo cute and I like the plain white sleeves and yoke. I’ve been really drawn to tops and dresses with contrast sleeves and yoke/ neckline, especially with raglan sleeves. I reckon this would be totally re-creatable. Maybe with Colette’s Moneta pattern, which I just so happen to already have in my stash!

Orla Kiely Bluebird & Blackbird T-Shirt Dress blueI like the simple shape of this one, and the piping/ binding makes it a bit more interesting than it otherwise would be. The print has tiny hearts all over it too, which is sweet.Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Organza Stripe Dress sky I like plain styles of dress, made with interesting fabric, so I love the below dress (which also comes in blue, but pretty much this whole page would have been blue, so I saved the red version instead!). This is the same hearty fabric as above, but in red (obvs). I reckon Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress could recreate this dress. Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Side Pleat Dress poppy

This shirt dress style dress is pretty cute too, and the fabric has tiny shoes all over it! I like the collar, and the waist band has gathers on the bodice as well as the skirt, so it would have a cinched in waist even without a belt.

Orla Kiely Resort Collection Ditsy Shoe Pleated Dress slateThis navy dress with the cut-out neckline is really lovely. I like that this one has pockets too!  Orla Kiely Flower Spot Jacquard Heart Cut Out Dress midnightThis blue dress might be my favourite. Plus it comes in yellow! I think the Emery could be a good base for this dress, too. If I sized up, to give it the loose fitting style and didn’t gather/pleat the skirt across the front and added little cuffs to the sleeves, I think I’d have a pretty good version of this.  Orla Kiely Slub Silk Tunic skyThis skirt is the same hearty fabric as in the dresses above, and is it me, or does this look a lot like Tilly’s new pattern, The Arielle Skirt? Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Skirt sky

This is a pretty basic pencil skirt, and there must be a million pencil skirt patterns, but I really like the fabric. I’m planning a pink pencil skirt myself, though not in this baby pink kind of shade, more of a brighter, obnoxious pink! Orla Kiely Flower Spot Jacquard Skirt coral

This t shirt is right up my alley – contrast sleeves and neck binding. I’m not totally sold on the fabric, but it’s quite sweet. Orla Kiely Daisy Gingham Top pebble

I like this little jumper too, the collar is sweet and it’s pretty much smack in the middle of the colours I wear all the time! I’m never totally sold on short-sleeved jumpers, though. Does anyone else ever think if it’s warm enough to have bare arms, then you’re going to get hot in a jumper? Anyone?Orla Kiely Flower Jacquard Top navy How amazing is this sweatshirt? I don’t think it’s one I would copy as I wouldn’t do it this well, but I like the idea of a kind of plain top with some amazing decoration on. Maybe I’ll have a go at some applique on my clothes. Orla Kiely Resort Collection Sixties Lady Intarsia Sweater grey and navyI’m also a sucker for a good mug. I would have loads of them if I had the space……wait, I do have loads. I would have even more! Also, I’m getting to the age where I want nice kitchen wear and not just the stuff I can afford. Maybe I’ll save up for some Orla Kiely crockery?Orla Kiely Henny Hen mug mustardOrla Kiely 60s Stem Mug blueOrla Kiely Acorn Cup yellowWould you ever copy a designer/ ready to wear garment? I always think I will, but I haven’t yet. Maybe one day, when I’ve sewn ALL the things on my list!

All pictures are from the Orla Kiely website.

Top Drawer Trade Show

On the 12th January I went to Top Drawer, a trade show which showcases ‘design-led gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories’. It was the first time I’d been to something like this and it was really inspiring! I made some notes and took some photos of the stands that I particularly liked and I thought I would share them with you! I definitely felt like I wanted to be a designer-maker after I’d been.

Atomic Soda do 60s style homeware, which I really like.

P1030263IMAG1334(I’m pretty sure this is Atomic Soda – I didn’t label my photos from the day)

Broste Copenhagen had a really nice display on one end of their ends

IMAG1332Akin and Suri do really nice textiles.

Akin & Suri(image source)

Wild and Wolf, which my old shop used to stock, do some cool retro-style phones and other gifty type things.


Magpie seem to have a collection called Jay, which I really liked – it reminded me of Charley Harper, who I love. I especially love the colour palette here.

IMAG1348Zoe Attwell has some lovely, lovely textiles.

Zoe AttwellZoe Attwell 2
(images source)

Gail Bryson has some lovely textiles and prints, and look at her flyer! So cute!


Orla Kiely had a stand. I love Orla Kiely.

IMAG1344No prizes for guessing why I liked Poppy Treffry’s products…..

Poppy Treffry(image source)

One of the best discoveries I made was Dassie, who make eco-friendly and fair trade homewares which are beautiful as well as functional. And look how many people are in their stand!

IMAG1351Anna Jacobs has some amazing cushions and lampshades – especially the flamingo ones, and I love the lamps with the clear bases and the visible wires!

Anna Jacobs 2Anna Jacobs(images source)

Annabel Perrin has some really cool designs – and check out her business card!

I was really pleased to see Noodoll there because they have done a collaboration with The Boyfriend’s dad. They make some cute monsters:

P1030272And there are these artist bookmarks (on the right hand page), designed by Clifford Richards (The Boyfriend’s dad)

There are so many more I could mention, but this is already a super long post! A lot of these are ceramics designers – I found myself equally drawn to ceramics and textiles.
Ola Stationery
Mini Moderns

Heather Alstead
Hannah Turner
Layla Faye
Grace and Favour
Laura Slater
Olivia McGill
Rachel Dormor
Emma Lacey

I don’t think I would have come across most of these designers/companies if I hadn’t gone to Top Drawer, so it was well worth going! Plus I got a day out of the shop and got to look at pretty things for a whole day – that can’t be a bad thing!