Tips For Sewing The Charlie Caftan Bodice Panel

I thought I’d share my tips for sewing the bodice panel into view B of the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Patterns. These steps are covered in pages 13-15 of the PDF instructions.

As the instructions tell you, accuracy is needed. So, how did I go?

bodice band chalk

On the reverse of the interfaced panel piece, I chalked the sewing lines between the circle marks at each corner. Instructions don’t suggest this, but I wanted to give myself a fighting chance of accurate sewing.

The first step is to sew the bodice panel to the gathered front centre front bodice. There’s a lot going on here – gathers, attaching two sections, and a row of sewing that needs to accurately end at places indicated by large circles. (You do need to end your row of sewing accurately at these circles.)

Because of all this, it felt best to hand baste first.

For basting, I used Corticelli silk thread. (Silk thread slips out easily when you want to remove the row of basting stitches.)

charlie caftan basting bodice panel

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Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan

Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan

It’s ages since I sewed from Closet Case Patterns, but as soon as I saw the Charlie Caftan I knew what I was doing with my weekend. Want to know how long this dress takes to sew from scratch? Five hours.

I had an appointment to see a friend. The same person who took these photos. My pal has a great eye, so after five hours of sewing version B I ran out to meet her in my newly-finished dress and shoved the camera in her hands. ‘Take some blog photos?’ What can I say – she’s a great friend.

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Creating Couture Embellishment – Book Review

Creating Couture Embellishment Laurence King

This is a beast of a book. In fact, so big and heavy that I couldn’t resist weighing it. I recommend reading this propped up in bed, book resting against your knees, with refreshments to hand as you dream about the couture embellishment you’re going to add to your next make.

weighing a book

Creating Couture Embellishment by Ellen W Miller is not for the weak of wrist or faint of heart. This is hardcore sewing knowledge. Of course, I adored it the moment I cracked open the spine.

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Liberty Of London Fabric Vlog


Phewee! It’s been unbelievably hot in London today, so I decided that if I was trapped in the house I’d teach myself a bit of Youtube. Seriously, laptop trumped sewing machine.

Here’s a video about my latest fabric shopping in the sale at Liberty Of London – with top tips. Enjoy! And definitely check out my Fabric Focus on Liberty Tana Lawn.


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B6178 – The Circus Is In Town

navy culottes B6178 did you make that

I’ve made another pair of the B6178 culottes.

I promise, I didn’t go out looking for this backdrop!

This is old school and no mistake; there are places on Airbnb that would charge you a fortune for the authentic vintage experience of sleeping in a caravan like this.

old school caravan

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Do You Struggle With Sewing Terminology, Too?

sewing words

Words, huh? Slippery little beasts, don’t you find?

I noticed this on my last blog post when I mistakenly referred to a bodice whilst talking about a pair of culottes. Readers were kind enough not to correct me, but I woke in the middle of the night. Culottes don’t have a bodice, you fool.


I’d been referring to the rise – the distance between the crotch and the waistband. (I think that’s what the rise refers to.) But honestly, I come across this problem a lot. I know what piece of a make I want to refer to … but I just don’t have the words. Oh, you know. That bit between my boob and my armpit. And if you don’t have the words or the training, how do you Google? I usually refer back to the pattern for the correct terminology, but even so… This stuff is definitely not intuitive, especially when you’re teaching yourself at home.

I remember this from when I started sewing. I felt as though I’d taken a high dive into a whole new language, and there weren’t any dictionaries to hand.

That’s before I even started to ponder UK/US variations or how to pronounce these tongue-twisters!

I appreciate that a lot of the indie pattern companies have worked hard to demystify sewing, but I still sometimes find the language just out of reach.

Like I said. Words, huh? They are a difficult buisness… Any thoughts?

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Doughnut Pattern Weights – A Giveaway


Did you know that today is Doughnut Day in the States? Well, it is – and in my book, that calls for a sewing blog giveaway.

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B6178 Culotte Pattern


A couple of weeks ago, if you’d said to me, ‘Karen, I’d like you to swathe the lower half of your body in acres of pale fabric,’ I’d have told you to take a running jump.

A couple of events happened between then and now.

I set myself a challenge of sewing outside of my comfort zone. When the B6178 pattern was delivered along with the Love Sewing magazine, it seemed to answer that challenge. I can’t remember the last time I wore a pair of wide-legged trousers, or culottes. The fact that the design only uses four pattern pieces drew me in. How badly wrong could this go?

Then I spotted this bone-coloured twill linen at TMOS. Initially, I dismissed it. I don’t do pale colours. But it was the perfect weight for trousers… Sold!

B6178 pocket detail

Yes, this pattern has pockets.

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Top 5 Best Fabrics For Hot Weather

DIY Couture Deep V Tunic

Anyone out there sweltering? Me, too! Here’s a quick run down of the fabrics I love to sew for summer. Needless to say, they’re all natural.


The above Deep V Tunic top from DIY Couture’s No Patterns Needed book has become my summer go-to. Pair it with shorts, and I have my summer uniform right there. It’s stylish, floaty and provides good coverage whilst still allowing my body to breath.

And it’s sewn in silk.

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Yuki Dress The Third

Yuki Dress The Third

I took this photo the morning after the Manchester bombing. The sun was out, and within earshot a church choir was rehearsing. It was hard not to get tearful. My thoughts go out to everyone affected. Now is the time for us all to practice kindness, but I think I’m preaching to the converted here.

This is my third Tessuti Yuki dress. I guess I should stop boring you all soon with them, but I thought my latest variation might be of interest. Instead of battling with a safety pin to turn a drawstring inside out I replaced the drawstring with … a really long shoe lace!

Yuki Dress With Trainer Lace

I’m really proud of this lateral thinking. The plaid fabric I’d used on the collar frayed beyond belief and melted beneath a too-hot iron. No way would the same fabric cooperate with being cut on the bias in a drawstring to be sewn and turned inside out. No way was I giving myself that sort of nervous breakdown. I bought my 120cm laces here. Buy 3 Get 1 Free!

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