Charlie Caftan

Charlie Caftan

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Closet Case Patterns always seems to come out with perfectly-timed fashionable patterns and this spring was no exception. While I really liked the Kalle shirtdress, once I saw the Charlie caftan I knew I’d have to make one. Ottawa summers can be hot and humid for weeks on end and I’ve been gravitating more toward loose dresses the last couple of years, so it was a perfect match.

While I have a fair amount of fabric in my stash, I was so fixated on skirts a couple of years ago that I never purchased more than 1.5-2m of anything and even the shortest Charlie option calls for 2.5m. I purchased a red and white floral cotton/spandex blend from Darrell Thomas Textiles that is crisp and light, and it sewed up beautifully.

Now, View A is not the kind of style I typically wear. Most of the dresses in my closet – self-made and otherwise – are fitted to the waist and then flare out. This is primarily due to being two very different sizes on my lower and upper halves, so if a shift dress gets over my butt then my torso is invariably swimming it it. I decided to go out on a bit of a stylistic limb here since I knew I could grade the pattern so it wouldn’t look like I was wearing a giant sack, and I’m loving the final product! It’s just roomy enough in the hips while not huge around my shoulders and chest and is effortless to wear. I’m psyched about it!

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Unrelatedly, I love this hat.

Pattern adjustments:

  • Graded from 14 at hips to 8 at sleeves, which basically made a straight line from hem to sleeve. I did the size 14 pleats.
  • Cut front piece on fold (accommodating for the 5/8″ seam allowance) to save hassle of pattern matching on the centre front seam, which turned out perfectly
  • Selected the narrower sleeve option
  • Added 2″ to length
  • Used Coco’s Loft’s method for the front panel which worked like a dream
  • French seams throughout because they’re awesome (and I don’t have a serger), even if they take more time and pressing
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French seams

I’m glad I followed Coco Loft’s inset panel instructions as it was far easier to do than the original directions, despite the detailed tutorial on the Closet Case Patterns blog. Word of warning though, it resulted in a topstitched panel instead of an inset one. I’d suggest reading Coco’s post but, in brief, once the pleats were folded, I held everything in place on the wrong side with interfacing, placed and pinned the right side panel (with a slightly larger folded down edge) followed by the wrong side panel, making a sort of “pleat sandwich.” I stitched on the right side and caught the edge of the back side panel. Apart from extra attention paid to the pinning before sewing, it was a breeze.

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Topstitched panel

I’m looking forward to making a second longer Charlie caftan, although at my usual rate it may not be for another year! 🙂

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