I work at home and tend to keep the thermostat a little lower during the day because there is no point heating the whole house to cozy warm for just me. But I do tend to get a little chilly. I love the idea of the blankets with sleeves, but hated that they didn't have backs. It's great if you aren't up moving around. But if you have to get up to get coffee or something, you either lose the blanket or your backside gets cold. Robes are nice, but tend to get bulky with the belt and everything. I've always loved caftans and thought that a fleece hooded caftan would fit my needs perfectly. It would be great for inside the house and perfect in the spring and fall for sitting on the patio with my coffee or checking the mail.
I would rate this project as easy to moderate and inexpensive if you purchase your fleece on sale. I was lucky and got my fleece on sale for $4.99 a yard and since my daughter is a teacher, she gets an extra 15% off. I got 4 yards of anti-pill fleece for a total of $16.96. I already had thread. So the end cost was less expensive than a nice fleece robe or a decent blanket. And there was a big enough scrap left over to make a blanket for my senior cat.
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Step 1: Basic Design and Measurements
By definition, a caftan is a long sleeved loose fitting garment, typically found in Mediterranean countries. They became popular in the US in the 60's and 70's and their construction is very simple and easy. Since they aren't fitted, there are no complicated pattern pieces, no set-in sleeves.
Start by taking the measurement of the person from wrist to wrist, then add one inch. For mine the measurement was 58 inches plus one inch making it 59 inches. The width of the fleece I was working with was 59 inches so it was perfect. Next measure from the top of the shoulder to the length that you want your caftan, I wanted mine floor length. My measurement was 55 plus one inch making it 56 inches.
I cut to pieces of fabric 56 inches long. One for the front and one for the back.
Step 2: Neck and Sleeves
To make the neckline, I folded the front in half, making sure the edge was even. Using my favorite tee shirt as a pattern. I matched centers and "shoulder" seams (even though the shoulder seam of the caftan isn't sewn yet) and cut both the front and the back neck lines.
I like the arms of my caftans to be very baggy. To accomplish this, with the the front (and back) still folded in half, I measure 12 inches down from what would be the shoulder seam. After marking this line, I measure in 12 inches and this will be the side seam. After pinning the side seam all the way down, cut away the excess material. Do the back the same as the front.
Step 3: Sew Together
Now that you have the front and back cut out, you are ready to sew it together. With right sides together, pin your shoulder seams and sew using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
I added a pocket to the front using a piece of the material cut from the sides. To make the pocket, I measured a piece of material from the side (that was already 12 in wide) by 10 inches long and seamed it all the way around. Then I measured 8 inches down from the neckline centered the pocket, pinned it on the front and top stitched it on.
For the side seams, I knew that I wanted a slit on both sides. I measured up from the floor to my knee, 18 inches. I then measured 18 inches up from the bottom of the caftan on the side seams and placed a pin on both side. Again, with right sides together, sew the sleeve and the side seam. Clip the corner of the sleeve to the side seam to reduce binding.
Step 4: Hood
Using leftover material and my favorite hoodie, I placed the back seam on the fold of material and cut around the hood. I added a little to the bottom and front of the hood. I wanted the hood of the caftan to overlap in front. In the picture of the hood material you can see how I angled it out at the bottom of the front.
With right sides together, sew the top of the hood together. Matching the center back of the hood to the center back of the the caftan, having right sides together, pin hood to caftan and sew. If you have overlap in the front, you can either trim it down or cut it off. I trimmed it down some. Because this is the first one I've ever made like this, I hemmed the hood after I sewed it.
Step 5: Bottom Hem, Side Seam
To do the side seam, start at the bottom of one side, fold open the sew and sew across it. This will give you hem allowance, turn and sew down the slit to the bottom, fold in the corner, sew across the bottom hem and back up the other side. Once you get to the bottom of the side seam repeat the process for the front (or back depending on which side you started with)
Turn in your hem allowance on your sleeves and hem.
You now have a warm, fuzzy, hooded caftan.
Step 6: Finished Caftan
Here are some pictures of the finished project.