It’s going to be a Charlie Caftan Summer!


If you’d asked me, ‘are Caftan’s your thing? I probably would have said, no. But I’m such a fan of this pattern by Closet Case Patterns. I was inspired to try it by Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch. After making a muslin version, I decided it was the perfect pattern to hack for this week’s IPM challenge.


This pattern has several options that provide ample opportunity for you to do your own thing. You can make a loose gathered caftan, either short or long, or a more fitted version without gathers. For my hack, I used Version A, the non-gathered version.il_fullxfull.1223032594_ih2b

I loved the shape of A so I decided to convert the Caftan look into a more fitted cocoon dress. I modified as follows:

  • I raised the inset opening by 1 1/2 because, as drafted, it was too close to the waist for the look I wanted.


  • The Inset Insertion: From my muslin, I discovered I was not wild about how the front inset is assembled.  You’re supposed to insert the inset into a 1/4’ opening and make it smooth and neat. I practiced and practiced, but well, needless to say, that didn’t happen for me. So, rather than an inset, I merely slit the opening, made the pleats as instructed, then topstitched the inset over the slit. It’s easier and looks a bit smoother to me.

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  • The pleats add a cool shape to the dress so I stitched them down for a more sculpted look.
  • I added large patch pockets to the front with button down flaps. I added self-faced cuffs to the sleeves that can be rolled up and kept in place with button tabs.
  • I added a small raised collar to the back of the neck, to make the neckline look more like a shirt.
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I love my cocoon shaped shift dress. It’s so comfortable and cool, and I think the polka dots add a vintage vibe. My fabric is cotton lawn, but I could imagine this dress in linen, cotton double gauze or rayon.  It’s so versatile, I’m thinking I’ll try the gathered version, both short and long. What about you? Are you a fan of the Caftan look?

I’m loving Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch! It’s so inspiring to see everyone’s favorite Indie patterns and how they interpret them. I’ve found some new patterns I want to try as a result, and found some new blog friends too.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

16 thoughts on “It’s going to be a Charlie Caftan Summer!

  1. Love your version of this pattern. It looks stunning on you with the changes you made to it! Great job with this. I am more inspired to try this one based on the look of yours.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever sewn a caftan before but I would be interested to try the gathered version. I’m working on my IPM entry for this week. I voted for you for the dress contest!

  3. I love this pattern! You look beautiful in this dress. The color is fresh and the style of this dress is great to help you stay cool in hot summer! Great post!

    1. Thank-you! We finally have some hot weather here, so i can tell this dress will be in heavy rotation for the next couple of months. It’s a fun pattern I hope to use again and again!

  4. This is so cute on you. I think the lighter blue is a really pretty shade for you and the shape of this is totally you! I admit I’m terrified of caftans…all that fabric! But, as with most things, I’m sure making the style work is a matter of changing proportions and picking the right fabric. Still, I’ve seen so many people look uber stylish in their caftans too.

    1. Thanks! This Caftan is a more sculpted version with less volume so I think it works on lots of body types, but I admit I was nervous too;). I expected the dress would swallow me up! But it was a fun sew!

  5. I love your versions of this pattern and it will be fun to try a new pattern company. Also, I love the shoes you are wearing in these pictures, do you mind telling me the brand? Thanks!

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