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.

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.

charlie caftan pinning bodice band

This is a detail from pinning the rear centre panel into place. I hand stitched mine.

Charlie Caftan.jpg

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.

charlie caftan bench

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!

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19 Responses to Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan

  1. Jenny Lesetr says:

    When seeing your Instagram post at the printers I was mildly interested to see the pattern as being someone who wore a kaftan in the 70’s – that’s 1970’s not my age (although it is) I wondered if this design was similar and looked forwards to seeing your version. Surprise then that it’s appeared this morning and absolutely 10 out of 10 Ms Ball for the attention to detail in the “waistline strip” with centred squares as a feature. These are the small details that not everyone notices when they are perfect (when you hope they will) but it can look like a dogs breakfast if that attention to detail is not followed (apologies to Ella!!! Very cool (not in a modern “cool” speak) but nice to wear in warm weather! Lovely

    • didyoumakethat says:

      Ha, ha – I am delighted to read that someone appreciates that detail. I didn’t draw attention to it, but it made me happy.

  2. Kristina says:

    I’ve been undecided on this one but your version is really cute, warm weather hols coming up (to Scotland, which my Kiwi pals find very amusing for some reason?!) , this is just the ticket 🙂

  3. jay says:

    It’s a lovely fabric, well worth the effort of managing the layout to get your dress out. For deep vee necklines, I sometimes run a narrow strip of masking tape along the line in the seam allowance before lifting the fabric from the table. This holds it, you can get the facing stitched on before you rip the tape off.

  4. esewing says:

    Love this, is an interesting design , v necks can grow really easily,Jay’s tape idea sounds great , loving the long option , great for an evening and in a heavy knit for autumn …

  5. Bonnie says:

    I just ordered this pattern, so was anxious to read your review. Thanks for your directions, I plan to use it as a swimsuit coverup.

  6. It looks gorgeous, I absolutely love the fabric you used for this dress.

  7. gilliancrafts says:

    I love it! Which is good, because I was eying this exact fabric all week with this exact pattern in mind! 😉 I can’t wait til we are all living our best caftan life this summer!

  8. sewtonya says:

    I love this! It’s really cute. And the fabric choice makes it look even better!

  9. Sewniptuck says:

    Such excellent fabric – oyyyy! I love a deep V, works w my large chesticles like no other neckline, so thanks for the forwarning, i’ll look out for that if i get to this pattern… which i am sorely tempted to do. Those pattern issues you mention are demonstrating the eye of an editor i think! Just the info a pattern publisher needs. X

  10. Stevie says:

    Love this on you! Wish I had such a great photographer, your photos have been fab recently!

  11. jody says:

    This pattern arrived in the box last week and I’ve been contemplating ever since … you did a GREAT job, it’s as special as I’d hoped it would be. I think a bandeau top would solve the deep V for me, but maybe not. I’m looking for COMFORT! I love your fabric choice.

  12. brendamarksstudio says:

    This is great on you, and I’m inspired. Thanks for another helpful post!

  13. Lesley says:

    Please, please, please do a step by step photo blog of this – including pattern matching, squeezing this design out of so little fabric, raising the armhole and raising and stabilising the deep v neck! I have some Indian ikat fabric and thought of sewing this. But i’m rediscovering sewing after a long break and am afraid to jump in! Thanks

  14. Oooh I was not smitten with this until I saw your version. It may appear this summer in my wardrobe. 🙂
    Now in regards to that neckline – you don’t need to stay tape it really, the prevention is a two step process – 1. Stay stitch (and later sew) from the V to the shoulder only. Sewing from shoulder to V tends to stretch the fabric more, which is why one side tends to cop it worse than the other. 2. Rather than just stay stitch, ease that stay stitching up just a small amount. It may only be 1 inch over the whole side length of the V, but it restores the fabric to flat. 2b. Without doing these two things, the stay tape won’t help anyway. But it can be a great addition if the fabric is super flimsy, like a lawn or voile. HTH xo

  15. Ann T. says:

    I LOVE your caftan; it is absolutely adorable on you. This pattern is next in my queue, and I plan also to raise the sleeves. The bra showing thing only works for a bathing suit coverup, and this pattern is way more versatile than that. I learned from Tessuti Patterns to use tear-away vilene shields to stop a V neck from stretching. It works very nicely.

  16. Katie M says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. After reading your post I decided to make my own dress and I posted about it here. I think this might be my new favourite pattern.

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