For November’s sewing challenge, I decided to make a Charlie Caftan (pattern by Closet Case Patterns). (My father’s death meant a delayed photo shoot.) Inspired by Meg’s version, I hunted through the rayon fabric in my garment fabric closet (which is really half of Miss No No’s closet) and found a purple leopard print from Anna Maria Horner.
Admittedly, I have owned this piece of fabric for a long time. It’s such a fun print in lusciously soft rayon that I wanted the “perfect” pattern. A luxurious caftan seemed like a perfect fit.
Since I made the Morgan Jeans, which are also a Closet Case pattern, I knew the pattern instructions would be well written and illustrated. Just in case I needed extra help, there are visual tutorials of the potentially more difficult parts such as inserting the center panel and sewing the v neckline on Heather’s blog along with a helpful post about pattern adjustments. I found the instructions to be thorough and double checked my work by referencing Heather’s tutorials, especially when inserting the center panel.
(This is my “are we almost done taking pictures?” look!)
To prepare for cutting and sewing with rayon, I remembered this post from Colette Patterns. It was extremely helpful in reminding me to change my needle, stay stitch curves and to use a smaller stitch length. Since cutting rayon can be tricky, I carefully laid out my pieces on a long dining room table. Even though I don’t always iron my fabric before I cut them, I did with this project and found it incredibly helpful. Normally, I lay my pattern weights on top of the fabric and cut with either scissors or a rotary cutter around the pieces but this time I decided to use pattern weights and pins. Being able to keep the fabric connected to the pattern pieces also helped when I carefully moved them from the dining room table to my sewing space.
I took my time with the sewing and enjoyed the softness of the rayon. When the caftan was sewn, I kept it in my closet to hang before I hemmed it. I remembered that tip from the lovely Devon (aka missmake on Instagram although she recommended it for bias hems and I’ve adopted it for all hems. Ha!) As of today, I have worn the caftan more times that I can remember. My only change would be to extend the center panel a bit more. Otherwise, I feel like I’m secretly wearing pajamas and have already bought fabric for my second version.