30 Minute / 4 Seam Caftan – tutorial for So Celebrate Sewing day 3!
September 3, 2011 by robiedodson
Well, here I am at 9:49pm on day 3 of my So Celebrate Sewing extravaganze …whew, getting this post in in the nick of time! Which is fitting because today I am celebrating that in sewing, all you need is a few minutes to create something super cool.
As in this CAFTAN!
Believe it or not, you can make this dress in about 30 minutes… you need about 3 1/4 yards of fabric. It takes 4 seams, 4 buttonholes, and one long tube to use as a sash. That’s it!
Start with your fabric. I used 100% light weight polyester. Next time, however, I think I'll switch to a breathable fabric - 100% cotton for sure.
First, if your fabric has a factory fold that run along the length of the fabric, open it up so that you are facing the entire width of the fabric. Then, fold the fabric in half, right sides together, keeping the fold at the top. This means you'll have two equal halves measuring about 1 5/8 yards with the fold at the top.
To create your sleeves and side seams, measure down along the selvages on each side about 12". Place a pin. Sew all the way down from the pin to the end of the fabric. (Be sure to reverse stitch at the beginning since this opening is your sleeve.)
Now that you've created your side seams and your sleeves, you need to create your neckline. I pinned my fabric right to my ironing board, and then I started guessing how big the opening should be. Start small on this guess - you can always go bigger but you can't go smaller! After trying to pull it over my head the first time, I had to go back and make it a bit bigger.
Next, you'll need to add bias binding along your neckline. If you have enough fabric, create bias tape from the dress fabric. Otherwise, use storebought or coordinating bias tape. I have neither tonight, so I'll grab some later...you can still get the idea!
Now you need to add 4 buttonholes at the waist - front and back right side, front and back left side. To decide where, I held the dress up to me and went to a mirror. I located my waist and put a pin at the very right side and the very left side. Then, back at the ironing board (where I do all my pinning), I used those pins to also mark the identical spots on the back left and back right. (These button holes are used to hold your belt in place ... see photo below!) Also - when opening up your buttonhole with a seam ripper, please be sure it's not too dull. OR ELSE< you'll end up with puckered buttonholes like I did!
Finally - hem the bottom and create a quick tube for the sash. Thread the sash to the front from the back buttonholes. You've got yourself a fabulous caftan, maxi dress, billowy dress!
If you're wondering about hemming the sleeves - you use the selvege so there's no need! This truly is a 4 seam, 4 buttonhole, 1 sash piece - easy peasy!
My friend Erin Tyrrell and I were talking a few weeks ago about Caftans … whether or not we’d ever try to pull one off. I think I just might try this one out in public! The fabric definitely feels like flimsy plastic, so I’m not sure 107 degree weather is the best option for this fabric, but maybe something in a nice seersucker or something else light weight. We’ll see!
Cost: I got this fabric for about $2/yd, so $6.50. yay!
Time: Again, you really can do this in 30 minutes if you know how to use the buttonhole function on your machine!
Okay ya’ll….I’m hoping you’re getting the hankering to Celebrate Sewing. Share your thoughts with me if you like!