Monday, July 29, 2013


I've been wanting to make a dress similar to this Threadbanger Caftan from some time.  The dress in this video is so beautifully flowy and perfect for summer.

I needed to make some tweaks to make the project fit my needs. I didn't have a pair of scarves like the ones used in the tutorial.  I didn't want my dress to be open on the sides like the Threadbanger version, but I also didn't want something that would end up being a mumu.  Here's what I came up with.
I started with one of the wraps I made before my trip to India last year.  "Made" is probably too strong a word because all I did last year was hem all four sides.  The wrap started out as a 60" by 72" piece of fabric.  After hemming it was probably about 59" by 71."  A 35" length starting at my shoulder hits right about at my knee.

First I folded the wrap in half, resulting in a folded edge that was approximately 60 inches with 36 inch sides with the wrong side facing out.

I pinned up the sides, leaving about 12 inches near the folded edge for arm holes, and cut a 12 inch slit at the top for a head hole.  At this point I tried the garment on to make sure the head hole was big enough and the arm holes fell how I wanted.  I sewed up the sides (leaving the arm holes), and then turned the piece back right side out.

I tried on the piece again and marked the height of my natural waist and the width of my shoulders with pins. The piece needs to fit over my shoulders, so I need enough width there, but I want it to cinch in at my waist so I want the ties to fall there. I then marked the intersection of the width of my shoulders and height of my waist and pinned both sides of the fabric together there, making sure the two sides lined up.

I used the button hole function on my sewing machine to make two approximately 1" button holes that stitch the two sides of the fabric together.  I had never had need to use the button hole feature on my sewing machine before, and it was incredibly easy.  I want to put button holes on everything now.  The last thing I did was hem the neck line.  I will probably go back and bind the edge of the neck with bias tape, but I didn't have any of that today.  I tied the waist with a length of black ribbon.  If I had known how much I would like the finished product I would have cut a piece of the original fabric to use as a self-belt.

All in all this project took about 30 minutes.  Writing the instructions took as long as sewing the caftan.

I am very pleased with the end result and I'll definitely make at least one more of these.  I can imagine wearing it over a slip as a dress, as a swimsuit cover up, or with leggings or jeans like I did in these photos.


Garments like this are tricky because you risk losing your shape in a giant amorphous blob of fabric.  I think I circumvented that pitfall by cinching in at the waist.  The fabric takes the shape of my body rather than swallowing it up.  The knee-length hem also helps balance the fullness.  What do you think?  

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