Karen Drape Dress in the Jungle!Posted: January 29, 2016 Filed under: Dresses, Dressmaking, Independent Patterns, Jungle January, Maria Denmark | Tags: Dresses, Dressmaking, Jungle January 16 Comments
Whilst I was feeling very sorry for myself a little while ago I was sent a lovely gift – the Karen Drape Dress pattern from Maria Denmark. It really did give me a lift, so thank you very much S! (Gotta love your sewing friends 😉 ). This looked like a very easy dress to wear – and suitable for so many occasions. As Maria herself says in the instructions ‘it is your new favourite dress’ and I think she may be right. Having said that some of you will probably be thinking that as I rarely wear dresses it isn’t up against very stiff competition. Oh ye of little faith! This really is a good dress and pattern.
On to the skinny. The PDF file had 40 pages, 10 are instructions and general information which I printed double sided and the remaining 30 are the pattern which didn’t take too long to trim and stick together. The front pattern piece is complete so it is rather large on its own, but there is only the back and sleeve after that. I didn’t trace the back as a complete pattern so I could have cut it in one piece but I will be converting that before I use the pattern again, I did cut two separate sleeve patterns (I even remembered to mirror them! Yay me!)
The fabric I bought – I know, you might have expected me to have had something suitable in that almost bottomless stash – was bought in Barry’s in Birmingham. It is a polyester cloqué, 150cm wide and I bought 2 meters. I could have cut this easily with 180cm of fabric so I will bear that in mind when I want to make this in something more expensive – I hate wasting both fabric and money. I think the print looks a bit animally – leopard or cheetah or stegasaurus, I’m not sure which. However, I am claiming this for Jungle January! If you want to weigh in with an opinion as to what animal it actually is feel free.
The pattern was very accurate to stick together – none of the ‘misses’ that you sometimes find on PDF patterns, and was a very easy pattern to sew. I would probably put the fabric on the floor to cut out as a single layer, despite the fact that my knees are protesting at the thought, as the front pattern piece is large and didn’t really fit on my cutting table easily.It would be much easier to copied this pattern so that it could be cut from a single layer of fabric (it would make any pattern matching much easier if necessary too). I had no problems matching notches, or mismatched seam lengths, or anything else. The sewing was also very quick – once you have organised those tucks on the side front (and Maria has made a blog post to help if you need it) you only have to sew the pieces together and then put clear elastic into the neck (again, a helpful post if you should need it). Honestly this is a dress that a beginner would find hard to foul up. I didn’t have any of the really thin clear elastic available when I was making this and used some that was a bit thicker. I may have pulled the neckline a little tighter than the original as a result but that isn’t going to stop me wearing this dress.
When I tried the dress on I felt it was a bit large over the hips (I basically don’t have hips – or a waist) so I went back and overlocked a bit more off the side seams. It is a very soft fabric so I would be a bit careful about being too hasty about altering the pattern for this, and the alteration is a very easy one should it be needed. Having worn this a couple of times now it may be that it is still a little generous so I may be brave and cut a size smaller next time. I think that it needs to be a reasonably snug fit across the tummy and hip to prevent the slight asymmetric effect I am getting. I am inclined to over estimate how much ease I need – I think it comes of always being bought clothes ‘to grow into’ as a child. I was a little concerned that it may look stretched over the bust but it is fine, and those friendly tucks over the tummy hide a multitude of sins!
Yes Maria, I think I had just finished my ‘new favourite dress’!
You look lovely! There are some interesting new species cropping up in Jungle January!
I’ve just made a top with tucks and it didn’t work out too well so will check out the Maria D post.
Thanks! The blog posts on the Maria Denmark site are quite helpful. Hopefully they will sort out your top.
I have seen some lovely versions of this dress and yours is definitely up there! I love the fabric choice!
Thanks. The fabric feels great – so soft. Polyester gets a bad press but some pieces are just lovely.
I think it’s my new favorite too!
It’s certainly worth trying Anne 😀
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This is such a great iteration of the dress, gorgeous, gorgeous fabric!
Thanks Sue! I am planning to tack the sides to check the fit again and then make another. And maybe another after that!
Yep, I need a couple more too!
Lovely dress – quite simple lines but your fabric choice makes it special. Maybe you’ll wear more dresses now.
I am being convinced of how easy wearing dresses can be. I’m not certain that I look as good in dresses as trousers but maybe that’s a mental thing.
I really like the look of this dress and some of the versions around the internet. Simple and stylish. I think the shape really looks nice on you. And I love the fabric. Just a great outfit. Super work Kim – it would be a favourite with me too.
This looks like the most perfect comfy dress to wear anywhere and with black tights, great for chilly offices and restaurants. Love the animal print, just wish I could see the pleats/tucks on the side better. Thanks for sharing your JJ garment with the rest of us!
I agree, the fabric pattern totally obscures the tucks. The next one should be plain so you will see better then.