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.
I squeezed the mini version of this dress out of two metres of Ikat Grids from Fabrics Galore. When I say squeezed, I mean it. With mere scraps left over from the cutting out, I didn’t have enough fabric left to make the pockets. This fabric is only 112cm wide. It can feel a little stiff pre-wash, but it softens up beautifully.
This is a detail from pinning the rear centre panel into place. I hand stitched mine.
I raised the sleeve depth by two inches. Even so, I’d still wear a slip beneath this dress – especially as the bottom of the V neckline brushes against the top of my bra. I’m not quite confident enough to pull that look off. On the next version I’ll raise the V neckline.
I didn’t really trust a deep V neckline in a woven fabric, and I should have listened to my instincts. Or is that knowledge after seven years of blogging? Anyway, I ignored whatever it was that was niggling at the back of my head, until it was too late. The instructions ask you to stay stitch the neckline, but stay stitching alone isn’t enough to stabilise such a severe V. There’s some gaping. Next time, I’m going to use stay tape. Next time, I shall listen to that niggling voice.
The trickiest part of construction is the centre panel. I took a few photos and have tips, so shall blog separately about that detail.
The instructions are great and detailed, though I’d love to see numbers instead of bullet points to break up the steps – without the page folios it would be easy to lose your place. And I became oddly confused when both the versions of the dress and the pattern pieces were labelled with initials. Is this referring to pattern piece B or version B? It’s obvious when you stop to think, still – I did scratch my head a couple of times.
With a few tweaks to the neckline, I have many more of these caftans planned. They are super comfortable to wear, interesting construction with the centre panel and I think would translate well into winter makes with a long-sleeved jersey top beneath, or a dramatic evening dress. Can you imagine the longer length in a crepe? Swoon!