Jungle January dress (if you squint)


It’s January again which means that it’s time to sew jungly things as urged by Anne at  Pretty Grievances. The minute I saw the Karen drape dress from Maria Denmark, I knew I had to have it – drapey in a Japanese way without all the faffing around. I bought the pattern with the launch discount whilst I was away on holidays and was keen to make it, but couldn’t decide on the sizing; so I made a “toile”. “Toile” because I knew I would want to wear whatever I made, and so it proved. I spent a couple of days finding some fabric I was prepared to sacrifice if it all went wrong and away I went. I was going to grade down two sizes over my hips and then decided not to. Thank goodness.

This fabric has a strong pattern and I managed to move the back pattern piece a few centimetres off centre meaning that the pattern was aligned to the right of my body instead of being in the middle. I realised before I sewed the whole thing together, and was able to pull the left side of the dress over to bring the pattern back to the centre.


This had the added benefit of making the dress fit me!  However, I had to fiddle with the neck and the left armscye. As it is, the shoulders appear to be too narrow, but I figured I could live with that. Looking at the photos, I’m not too keen on the placement of the pattern, but I think it would look pretty awful no matter where I put it.


One of the reasons I chose this fabric to toile the pattern is that I don’t care much for it – in fact it creeps me out a bit because I see faces in it! Having just had to trip to Iceland where elves and trolls abound, I see trolls. Here is an example of a double headed troll we found in a rock formation. It’s a bit grainy, but you get the idea.


I had this fabric down as a contender for the ugliest in my stash. However, it is silk jersey and feels gorgeous, and once it was made I couldn’t wait to wear it. I also thought it fitted the Jungle January theme, but do admit that it’s a bit of a long bow. The background is reminiscent of an animal print, and there are all those black leafy things, which I am pretending are vines, so I’m seeing if I can get away with it. DSC06572

The only other issue I had was making the hem level. I fiddled and fiddled with it, and then I looked at Maria’s photo of her dress and realised that the hem is actually asymmetrical! Oh well, mine is nicely level, which does make the bottom pattern look straight.

As to the pattern? Well, I really like it. It gives me a bit of shape and the draping is really flattering and it would have been a very quick make if it hadn’t all gone so wrong! I shall make it again in a plain fabric to test this theory, although the toile didn’t really tell me which size to make. The front of the dress is in a single piece cut on the bias at the top and kind of twists round to the straight grain at the bottom. Then the back has to be cut on the fold, which is where I had my difficulty – I am going to retrace the back as a single whole pattern piece. The sleeves are three quarter length, but I wanted short sleeves so redrafted using The Heroine’s Closet tutorial, which promised to take years off!

Now I look at these photos, I’m not sure I shall wear this in public again – it might be relegated to house wear!


34 thoughts on “Jungle January dress (if you squint)

  1. This is a very flattering dress Sue, and I can definitely see a jungle theme there. I agree that the pattern placement is not so great on the back, but the front looks amazing. Would love to see this made up in a fabric that you love.

  2. The dress is super flattering. I agree that this is not the most beautiful fabric, but made up as this dress it looks great. I think you should wear it with pride. The sleeves look good too. I see bananas, watermelon, monkeys and owls. I think that counts as ‘jungle’.

  3. This line really fits your silhouette beautifully, but it’s true that the fabric print is hum… strange (I also saw creepy faces on the back view). Thanks for the link to the Heroine’s closet tutorial – this is brilliant for thin jersey fabrics. And if it makes me look younger, bingo! What else could I hope for.

  4. It most definitely is a “different” sort of print, but so on point for Jungle January! The fit is great & I hope you’re happier with the next version!

  5. I think it looks great! and I’m not sure why you don’t like it! Also, trolls are cool… did you read while you were there that apparently something like half of Icelanders truly believe in fairies! Fascinating 🙂

  6. Nope sorry, this is truly great and you must definitely wear it often outside the house. I’m currently in Hawai’i and you could totally wear it here or Noosa, no one would bat an eyelid. It may have the fortunate effect of encouraging folks to take a second look at your butt, which can be sort of flattering in a way! Looks great on you – truly.

  7. What a killer dress pattern and cool fabric. Sometimes the motif is a little overwhelming and by tossing a cardigan or jacket over the top calms down the feel. But the fit is so flattering and I like the level hem! Great job and best wishes for more of these dresses in different fabrics! Found you on JJ.

    1. Thank you so much. You are so right about the jacket – I threw a light black loose cardi over it the other night and felt so much better about it. It might get relegated to the cooler weather. Thank you for finding me!

  8. Oh you shouldn’t have mentioned trolls that is all I can see, sorry but your dress is definitely Jungle January worthy. Look forward to seeing your next version.

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