I like a caftan. Had at least one in my closet since the 1980’s. I no longer wear them out of the house. After all, they aren’t that stylish. Mostly brand me as an old (aged) lady. But I find them invaluable after a bath; or running to and fro the bathroom–in the dark especially– at camp. Also found them particularly nice inside hotel rooms whose temperature I can never regulate. (I know, it’s a personal issue.) My last caftan I bought in Baton Rouge while working on the hurricane clean up efforts. For some reason, Housekeeping thought my room should be set at 32 F (barely above freezing). I came from outside temps of close to 100 into freezing temps. Took all night to warm that room. I found the caftan at Walmart. Without thinking twice, or even looking at the price tag, I took it home (to the hotel). I figured no matter how cheap it was, it would do for the time I was scheduled to be in the area. And it did. But now, some 8 years later, its silky acetate/polyester satin surface has developed uncountable snags as well as one big run. It’s a woven. Woven fabrics aren’t supposed to develop runs. So anyway, I knew I needed to replace my caftan.
At the same time, I have an issue with my stash. It’s grown beyond designated bounds. I pulled all the black and grey fabrics off their shelf. Retrieved the pieces that weren’t on their shelf and planned my Winter 6PAC. That takes a lot longer than you might think. I pulled the fabrics together and found that the black and grays had shades. Yeah there is a brownish cast and blueish cast to some of the fabrics. Also some fabrics are distinctively intended for either summer or winter clothing. I sorted according to color and then also made a stack of bottom weight fabrics. As I considered which fabrics to use, I would fold the “not now” fabrics and carefully put them back on the “Black” shelf. As I neared completion of my 6PAC and could see which fabrics I really wasn’t going to use, I also ran out of room on the “Black” shelf. I decided now is the time for addressing this issue. I sternly told myself, I needed to either use or donate.
I not sure of the fiber content of my caftan fabric. I gave it the burn test. The flame burned blue at the base, yellow-orange at the top. No smoke. It self extinguished, but not before shrinking to a glowing ember. After the ember died completely, I had a sticky grey and black ash. My chart says the flame is cotton but the ash is spandex. This is not a stretchy fabric. It is deeply lustrous. Heavier than the previous caftan but still a satin face. I know it is a Walmart fabric. I don’t know why I purchased it twice but I had a cut 2.5 yards and a second cut that was 3.5 yards. I used the 3.5 yards for this caftan and had about 6″ left.
I used Burda July 2010 Style 112 which use a single pattern piece with both front and back necklines indicated. I wanted to be sure this slipped on and off my head easily. I didn’t have any modesty concerns. So I didn’t trace the included facings. I marked and cut my own neckline and finished it with bias tape. I also did not make the tie or the button holes for the tie. Just didn’t want those this time. I didn’t do any alternations to the pattern. Not even my usual BWL and NSA. I did hold the piece up against me and checked length. This caftan is just about right for a shorty. I hemmed it a full 2″ without adding any length to the pattern piece. I traced the largest size. Didn’t add seam allowances to the pattern but used 1/2″ SA when stitching. I used the same side seaming-method as for my vest NL6549. That is, serge finished the edge. Stitch the side seam at 1/2″. Press the edges around the armholes at 1/2″ and then top stitch those into place. Easy, quick and looks great.
I am a short woman. This caftan generously covers me and has plenty of walking ease at the hem. YMMV
Would I make it again?? I kept the tissue pattern and I do like a caftan in my closet. But I don’t need many and Burda has a few other variations. I might because it is practically instant gratification. Also I’m not sure of this fabric’s durability. So I could find myself needing a replacement. I will say, I wouldn’t refuse to make this pattern again.
PS I donated the second cut of 2.5 yards. I still need to figure out what to do with 2 other “black” fabrics. They could also be donated.