Thursday, July 17, 2014

Caftan: The Lasting Way

Caftans can be super easy to make.  My tutorial Caftan: The Easy Way shows you have to make a caftan that is perfect if you only plan on wearing it a few times or as a beach outfit.  Were you looking to make a caftan that would be little more lasting?  Then this is the tutorial for you.  If you want a caftan that will last you until caftans go back out of style (and maybe come back in to style again), you just need to add a few extra steps.

Materials:  Fabric, thread, scissors, measuring tape, pins
Optional Materials:  Bias tape or ribbon

Note:  Pick any "flowy" fabric.  We will be finishing off the edges, so fraying is not a concern.  Jersey is still a great choice for this project though.  I still wouldn't choose a fabric that frays too much, as these fabrics are often difficult to work with.

1.  Measure the amount of fabric you will need.  Measure from your shoulder to the length you want you caftan to be (mini, knee length, maxi).  Double this number.  This is the amount of fabric you need to buy.  Remember, fabric stores sell fabric by yards.  A yard is 36", so convert to yards before going to your local fabric store.

2.  Measure how wide you want your dress to be.  Fabric is sold in predetermined widths, so you cannot ask the fabric store to do this cut.  Going across you shoulders measure how long you want the sleeves of your caftan to be.

3.  Cut your fabric to the width you measured in step 3.  Make sure you are making a straight cut.

4.  Hem  the short sides (width sides) of your fabric..  Fold your fabric over 1/4".  Run a seam over this fold. Repeat for the other fold.

5.  Cut the neck hole.  Fold your fabric in half so that it is the length your caftan is going to be.  Find the center of your fabric and cut a neck hole.  If you want a crew neck or boat neck, cut a circle/semi circle to the width you want it.  If you want a V-neck, cut an ice cream cone shape (v in the front, slight semi circle in the back) or cut in V in both the front and back.

6.  Finish off the neck hole.  You have a few options for how to finish the neck hole.  Decide what you want to do and follow the instructions below:

*Hem the neck line.  Fold the fabric over 1/4".  Run a seam along this fold.

*Ribbon or bias tape the neck line.  Use this tutorial: Use Bias Tape Neckline.

7.  Measure where you want the arm holes.  Put your "caftan" on over your head.  Hold your arms straight out and have someone pin where you want your arms holes to begin.  Make sure these are in the same place on both sides.  Caftans are meant to be loose fitting, so do not pin the fabric so it is tightly against your arm.

8.  Sew your caftan.  Flip your fabric inside out (pattern sides facing each other).  Pin the front and back sides of your fabric together.  Starting at the bottom of your caftan, sew a 1/2" seam up each side of the dress.  Stop when you get to where you placed your arms hole pin.

9.  Hem the sleeves.  Your fabric should still be inside out.  Starting at the base of the sleeve (where the side seam is), fold over 1/4" of fabric all around the sleeve.  Run a seam over this folded over fabric.

10.  Turn your fabric right side (pattern side) out.

11.  Wearing your new caftan and be the envy of your friends.  Check out some of my ways to wear!

Just as a awesome flowy caftan

Belt it to give yourself a waist
Use a ribbon or piece of spare fabric
Loop it through the sleeves and inside
the dress in the back.  Tie in a bow
My person favorite.  Pull the sleeves to
the front at your waist.  Use a brooch
to gather and pin the fabric together

Close up view of how the brooch works.

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