A Caftan is a comfortable house dress or beach cover-up. It is basically a one-size-fits-all garment, loose fitting and the fabric just flows as you walk around. They can be made from lightweight cotton or polyester fabrics, long down to the ankles like I've made here or shorter, at the knee. When I was a kid, I remember my Grandmother making herself several and she wore them around the house. I think they are really pretty and so easy to make. I chose a 100% lightweight woven cotton fabric in a small leopard print.
This project took me a total of 3 hours from start to finish.
Step 1: Supplies
3-2/3 yards of cotton fabric 45" wide.
(pre-wash the fabric before cutting)
For a shorter Caftan that ends at the knee, you would only need about 3 yards of fabric.
Step 2: Fold Fabric
Cut 12" off the bottom of fabric. This is for the belt. Take the rest of the fabric (3-1/3 yards)and fold in half so it's 45" wide and the fold is at the top.
Fold again in half this time lengthwise. It should be 22" wide and about 60" long.
Step 3: Cut Hole for Neck
Fold the top corner down and measure 4" from the point. Cut this section off. This will make a hole in the middle for the head to go through.
Step 4: Round the Corners
Take the measuring tape and measure 8" out from the bottom corners. Cut the corners off at this mark. This will prevent the corners from dragging on the floor when the caftan is worn. Set aside the cut off pieces, you will need them for facing the neck opening and holes for the belt.
Step 5: Belt
Take the piece of fabric for the belt, it should be 12' wide x 45" long. Fold this in half lengthwise and cut on the fold. So now you have 2 pieces 6" wide x 45" long. Sew these pieces together at the short ends. Now you have a piece that is 6" wide x 89" long. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Open up and fold the outside edges toward the fold line in the center. Fold in half again and pin. With the sewing machine, stitch all the way down the entire length of the belt.
Step 6: Binding for Neck Opening
Take the pieces you cut off of the bottom corners and diagonally cut 3 strips 2" wide. Sew them end to end until you have a strip about 32" long. Pin this strip right sides together to the neck opening and sew with 1/4" seam allowance all around. Overlap about 1". Cut off excess. Fold down toward the inside of garment and fold again. Pin the facing all around neck opening. Sew down either with the sewing machine or hand stitching.
Step 7: Facing for Belt Holes
Take whats left of the cut off corners and cut 4 rectangles 3" x 4". I cut these out with my pinking shears, but if you don't have pinking shears, turn under each edge 1/4" and then turn under again another 1/4", sew all around each rectangle.
Step 8: Sewing Facing for Belt Holes
There will be 4 total holes for the belt to pass through, 2 in the front of the garment and 2 in the back. Technically you could just stitch 4 large holes like you do for a buttonhole, but I think there needs to be some reinforcement because, over time it would tear. That's why I sew the facing in. To locate the placement of the holes fold the garment at the shoulder/neck area. Place the caftan on a flat surface (large table or floor) Measure down from the shoulder 17". Now measure from the side (selvage) 10" Where these 2 points meet, that's where the holes for the belt go. Or, if you like, you can try it on and pin where you think they should go. Either way, all 4 holes need to be equal distance apart. Place a safety pin to mark at all 4 places.
Pin each of the 4 facing rectangles, right sides together to the caftan where the hole for the belts are going to be. In the center of this stitch a rectangle 1" wide x 2" long in the center of the facing. Cut into the very center toward the corners but be careful not to cut into the stitching.
Turn the facing toward the inside and pin.
Stitch around each facing 1/4" from the edge, securing it in place.
Step 9: Side Seams
Fold the caftan at the shoulder area, wrong side out. Measure 20" down from the shoulder. (Just below the holes for the belt)This is where you will begin sewing the side seam. Sew about 18" with 1/2" seam allowance. Repeat on other side.
Step 10: Hemming
Turn under the sleeve edges on both sides and hem. Turn under and pin the bottom edge and around the curve. Hem with the sewing machine. Turn right side out and place belt in belt holes. And that's all there is to it!
This Caftan would be a great beginner sewing project.
Step 11: Blue Paisley
This is a caftan I made last year. It is a Polyester-Cotton blend.