Charlie Caftan in African Wax Batik Print

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My favorite Charlie Caftan!

With only one color overlay, this batik from Fabric Wholesale Direct is the perfect weight for a dress. And the deep purple is so calm, it was a pleasure to sew.

awp3

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Sewing notes: I’ve continued to use the pattern changes and construction approach that I used with my muslin of the Charlie Caftan. My original post has lots of info on these (here).

  • The front panel is raised about 5/8″, simply because I don’t enjoy seams that sit right on my waist.
  • I applied the front panel to the bodice, rather than insert it per the pattern instructions.
  • And I reduced width of the gathers under the panel by about 2″.

close front

  • I definitely prefer the dress, short or long, with the ties.
  • My ties are about 40″ long, 1 1/2″ wide, double-folded, and top-stitched along the edge.

b closeup

  • I didn’t draft my pattern with the sleeve hem allowance. All of my sleeves are finished with self-fabric bias binding.
  • And I topstitched the in-seam pockets to the front of the skirt. No waving pockets!

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I’m really hooked on this pattern. It’s so easy to wear, no hooks, buttons, or zipper, and not at all confining. Plus, it looks different every time I make it, because the prints are so different. So….yes, more planned.

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Parting shot:

It’s San Diego Comic Con time, so I’m in Ft. Myers, kitty-sitting for Ashley and Darrin. In addition to their three adult kitties, they’re fostering three 5-week-old little boys for Animal Services (I’m sure they’ll adopt them). They look so big in this pic, but they’re really tiny! And they have to stay in their own room, no fraternizing, for another week or so, until they get their final boosters and have their boy-surgeries. Cute things…

kitties

Bye for now – Coco

 

Charlie Caftan – the long and short of it…

 

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I can tell it’s going to be a Charlie Caftan summer around here!

After doing my muslin and working out a few kinks, I was really looking forward to making this in more views and fabrics. A refresher on the pattern:

line art

And my changes to the drafting of the sleeve (more detail on my first post, here):

Drafting - sleeve

I love the maxi version!

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My fabric is a Moda Fabrics quilting cotton (gifted, thank you :-). Quilting cotton is not among the recommended fabrics, but it works beautifully with the pattern.

There’s plenty of drape in the hand of the fabric, even with the additional gathering using the back ties.

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My next version is View B – the mini dress – with the ties added:

ties 2

This fabric, also a gift, is a Hawaiian print cotton from Trans-Pacific Textiles. The stripe actually runs vertically on the yardage, but I cut out the dress across the grain. I think the front gathers would mess with the balance of a vertical stripe.

Interesting fabric! the color is very saturated, much more than I usually experience on a cotton print. I wondered if all that color would run in the laundry, but it washed up beautifully. This is the inside, with a view of the front panel interfacing and some of the finish details:

inside panel

I really like the colors and print – the vibrant blues are so pretty.

ties 1

Just a few sewing notes:

  • My ties are about 40″ long. I didn’t keep the pattern for the ties or use the instructions for making them. I cut mine at 2″ wide, double folded to the middle, and topstitched. I don’t like trying to turn a long skinny tie with a pin or tool!
  • No side vents on the maxi, just because they usually bug me 🙂 It has plenty of width at the bottom for comfortable walking and so on.
  • I raised the front panel by 1/2″ on the short version, because it was right at my waist and somehow threw off the balance of the dress. I’m going to raise it another 1/4″ on my next one. Just on View B – I like where it falls on the maxi.

Back to the maxi – I’m crazy about it…

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These were so much fun to sew that I’m sorry they’re done. Guess I’ll have to make some more.

Ciao! coco

 

Closet Case Charlie Caftan – a muslin

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This was interesting – and it took me 3 days to do it. For a pattern designed for ‘advanced beginner’, this is a bit of a beastie… More on that in a minute, first a look at the pattern:

line art

Really cute, with nice options. View A features front pleats, but it doesn’t interest me at all. Views B and C are the ones that got my attention.

For my muslin, I went with View B, size 10. It has the higher sleeve, no ties, and shorter length.

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The shape is very simple, pretty much straight up and down from sleeve to hem.

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Changes I made to the pattern:

  • First, I redrafted the sleeve. I could tell that the downward slant on top, and the tight curve at the bottom, were iffy. The former because it would impede upward movement of the arms and lift the entire dress in the process. The latter, the curve, because it would be difficult to ‘uncrinkle’ and finish nicely.

    I used the bodice from the Serendipity Studio Diane kimono dress to change both areas (my lines are in blue). I also left off the sleeve hem allowance completely, since I wanted to bind the edge, not hem it.

Drafting - sleeve

I love the result – it’s so comfortable.

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  • My second change was to decrease the width of the area to be gathered by 2″. The original ratio of gathers to front panel was 2:1. IMHO, way too much, and likely to pouf out. I don’t need pouf!

    s1

  • I also drafted a smaller pocket. I wanted to topstitch mine to the front, and the original pocket was huge – it would have interfered with the drape of the front gathers.
  • And I added 2″ to the length.

Now, changes I made to the construction of the dress. As background, that front panel is meant to be inserted into the front, much as a single welt is inserted for a pocket. Except that all 4 sides of the panel have to be sewn in. Oh my gosh, I never even considered doing it that way.

  • I used a slit in the panel area, instead of the 1/4″ wide cutout in the pattern.

Drafting - front slit

  • I gathered the area under the slits, and fused a 1″ wide strip of interfacing over the whole shebang to stabilize it.

slit 1

  • Next, I basted the panel facing in place in the inside,

slit 2

  • And the front panel on the outside. Made a sandwich!

slit 3

Topstitched to finish, and I really like how it came together. The edges are straight and I didn’t pull my hair out.

I’m considering bringing the front panel in by about 1″ on a future make. I can see how the current width would work well with ties, but without them, it just looks a little too wide. Maybe I’ll just use the panel from View A.

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Thoughts: a nice summer dress, a little different, and well-suited for many fabrics and prints. However – that construction business with the front panel is not so nice. The impression I get from the reviews I’ve read (there are only a few, it’s a very new pattern), is that no one is finding it easy to get that panel sewn in properly.

Now that I have a pattern and approach that work for me, I’m sure I’ll sew this again, both long and short. Meanwhile, I’m curious about other sewists’ experiences with the pattern…

Bye for now – Coco