I’ve had a lot of success sewing Closet Case Patterns, including the Morgan jeans (my go-to trouser pattern) and the Ebony dress. Heather’s instructions are second to none where she explains everything really clearly in both text and illustration format.
There are 3 views to the Charlie caftan, and I went for a bit of a hack of view C. The pattern includes features such as a deep V neckline, kimono sleeves, and an insert centre panel. It also calls for side slits in the maxi length version but I opted to leave these out to get more all-season wear out of my Charlie. I was a little worried the v neckline would be too low cut without any modifications, but I was pleasantly surprised when I measured the depth of the v to see it was modest so I went ahead and cut my fabric without adjusting the depth of the neckline V (and I’m really pleased with the result so that was a good move!).
The pattern pieces are pretty huge and you definitely need all the fabric the pattern calls for. I had 3 yards of this gorgeous Art Gallery rayon print to work with, and I used every last cm! I lengthened the pieces slightly to make my Charlie as maxi as possible, along with grading the skirt sections out for maximum flare on the caftan skirt sections.
The sizing is pretty true to the body measurements on the packaging and my Charlie fits like a dream. I opted to cut the more dramatically wide kimono sleeve rather than the higher cut ones to create more of a floaty look, and I love the way the sleeves have turned out!
The most complicated bit of the whole sewing process is inserting the centre panel, but the drafting of the pattern is pretty clever to allow a really clean finish inside and outside. It’s a little tricky to sew but Heather of Closet Case Patterns has an excellent tutorial on her blog to help you get through the insert panel sewing without needing to seam rip!
This fabric was a total dream to work with. It is so luxuriously soft and airy, it totally suits being used for an oversized caftan. The colours are really saturated and bright, and although it is a little see through the volume of the gathers hides this below the waist.
I used the selvedge of the fabric to create one of the waist ties, partly because I loved how pretty the selvedge was and partly because I think it will be cool in future to remember exactly the fabric I used to make my caftan. I think that the view C Charlie looks good with the ties left loose and tied to create two slightly different looks.
I now want to make all of the dresses and caftans using rayon fabric. It is such a pleasure to sew with! Thanks to Harts fabric for allowing me to get involved in Sew Your Hart Out September. The pattern description talks about this caftan being a warm weather staple. I sadly missed out on wearing and getting some photos of this make during our Summer (which lasted all of a week). So instead here I am braving a wet and windy day on a beach in Wales for you all! You can probably see all the folk in their waterproof macs and hats in the background. They must have thought I was a little mad. The things you do for sewing!