Kaftans and Kimonos

charlie caftan pattern

The release of the Charlie Caftan reminded me how much I adore kaftans and kimonos. (We can debate the spelling of kaftan/caftan some other time!)

Kaftans and kimonos are perfect for summer months – for home, for the beach, for the steaming city streets. Twin them with a water bottle (I love mine here) and you’re set to go. Maybe shove a mini-fan in your tote, too.

Here is a quick run down of the patterns I love.

Kimono Image ii

sew over it kimono dressing gown

I wear my kimono dressing gown from Sew Over It Vintage every day in the summer after a shower and whilst drying my hair. It’s key to choose an easy-care fabric that doesn’t crease. If your dressing gown crumples the moment you toss it over a bedspread, you’re never going to wear or launder it.

But if you want a free kimono pattern, I used this Youtube tutorial to sew a kimono cardigan in silk fabric.

Kimono Cardigan ii

You already know how much I love the Charlie Caftan. The benefit of modern kaftan patterns is that they lift the aesthetic of original 1970s dresses, without the yardage. When I attended a fancy dress party and sewed a kaftan from a vintage pattern it took almost five metres of silk! But those vintage patterns are deliciously inspiring – you really should check them out – Etsy and eBay are good sources.



Have fun sewing your voluminous makes! All you need now is a waiter to mix your martini and you’re good to go.

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14 Responses to Kaftans and Kimonos

  1. Linda Pierce says:

    Fun post! I would particularly like to make Sew Over It’s dressing gown. I love the fabric of your vintage caftan!

  2. Josephine Grahl says:

    OMG that lemon fabric. Where did you get it?

  3. Lynn Barnes says:

    Bought that Simplicity 5315 when first issued, made and wore many versions of the A version — usually in some wildly patterned jersey or Quiana. Hot and heavy. And probably highly age inappropriate for my just-turned teenager self. Should seek out my tattered old pattern envelope and make some up in chambrays and lawns for the summer.

  4. Aunt Ruth says:

    Oh, gosh, Simplicity 5315! I made it in two different fabrics in the mid-1970’s and wore them til they were tattered and “well-loved”.

    You should blog the waist construction of that pattern! The small front waistband with ties inside the kaftan was very clever, and that trick would translate to modernh garments that use much less silk (smile).

  5. Sharon says:

    Love caftans and kimonos. As soon as I saw the photo of Simplicity 5315 I had to go check to see if my copy had cost only $1. It did, and is even more tattered than the one in the photo. Ah, those were the days. Rather than using the tie inside the caftan, I made my latest incarnations with covered elastic and a hook. Found it much more comfortable and easier on the arthritis do up.

  6. Your kaftans and kimonos are all so gorgeous and inspiring!

  7. Kathy Lynch says:

    I’m not a hoarder by nature but I MAY still have a caftan I wore in 1975. I wore it on a flight from Brisbane to London – my first major adventure as barely more than a teenager. (Well, I was off to conquer the world. It was essential to look glamorous!) I couldn’t bear to throw that one away! And here we are, “one or two” years later & guess what I’ve been sewing this last week?! LOL Some things never change…

    Love all yours there, Karen. 🙂

  8. SFord says:

    …and get Beverley to mix you a drink, turn up the Demmis Roussos and sway on the shag pile, fag in hand!

  9. What beautiful caftans. I love the lemon one and as for Simplicity 5315? Well I am off the scour eBay and Easy for a copy. It looks very Tallitha Getty in Marrakesh. Lovely. Xx

  10. Charlotte says:

    Love your kaftans and kimonos. Beautiful color especially that yellow one. Lot of kaftans are now more tailored. I love to wear kaftan with knee length tailored shorts or skinny jeans, some big earrings and blingy sandals. That’s my favourite look. If you eager to see lot of collection of kaftan or kimono just go through umaandleopold.com

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