Introduction: Caftan

About: I have been sewing and crafting for several years, my children are grown so now I have lots of time to be creative. I enjoy photography, cooking, cake decorating, painting and sharing my projects with others.

A Caftan is a comfortable house dress or beach cover-up. It is basically a one-size-fits-all garment, loose fitting and the fabric just flows as you walk around. They can be made from lightweight cotton or polyester fabrics, long down to the ankles like I've made here or shorter, at the knee. When I was a kid, I remember my Grandmother making herself several and she wore them around the house. I think they are really pretty and so easy to make. I chose a 100% lightweight woven cotton fabric in a small leopard print.
This project took me a total of 3 hours from start to finish.

Step 1: Supplies

3-2/3 yards of cotton fabric 45" wide.
 (pre-wash the fabric before cutting)
sewing machine
straight pins
measuring tape

Side note:
For a shorter Caftan that ends at the knee, you would only need about 3 yards of fabric.

Step 2: Fold Fabric

Cut 12" off the bottom of fabric. This is for the belt. Take the rest of the fabric (3-1/3 yards)and fold in half so it's 45" wide and the fold is at the top.

Fold again in half this time lengthwise. It should be 22" wide and about 60" long.

Step 3: Cut Hole for Neck

Fold the top corner down and measure 4" from the point. Cut this section off. This will make a hole in the middle for the head to go through.

Step 4: Round the Corners

Take the measuring tape and measure 8" out from the bottom corners. Cut the corners off at this mark. This will prevent the corners from dragging on the floor when the caftan is worn. Set aside the cut off pieces, you will need them for facing  the neck opening and holes for the belt.

Step 5: Belt

Take the piece of fabric for the belt, it should be 12' wide x 45" long. Fold this in half lengthwise and cut on the fold. So now you have 2 pieces 6" wide x 45" long. Sew these pieces together at the short ends. Now you have a piece that is 6" wide x 89" long. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Open up and fold the outside edges toward the fold line in the center. Fold in half again and pin. With the sewing machine, stitch all the way down the entire length of the belt.

Step 6: Binding for Neck Opening

Take the pieces you cut off of the bottom corners and diagonally cut  3 strips 2" wide. Sew them end to end until you have a strip about 32" long. Pin this strip right sides together to the neck opening and sew with 1/4" seam allowance all around. Overlap about 1". Cut off excess. Fold down toward the inside of garment and fold again. Pin the facing all around neck opening. Sew down either with the sewing machine or hand stitching.

Step 7: Facing for Belt Holes

Take whats left of the cut off corners and cut 4 rectangles 3" x 4". I cut these out with my pinking shears, but if you don't have pinking shears, turn under each edge 1/4" and then turn under again another 1/4", sew all around each rectangle.

Step 8: Sewing Facing for Belt Holes

There will be 4 total holes for the belt to pass through, 2 in the front of the garment and 2 in the back. Technically you could just stitch 4 large holes like you do for a buttonhole, but I think there needs to be some reinforcement because, over time it would tear. That's why I sew the facing in.  To locate the placement of the holes fold the garment at the shoulder/neck area. Place the caftan on a flat surface (large table or floor) Measure down from the shoulder 17". Now measure from the side (selvage) 10" Where these 2 points meet, that's where the holes for the belt go. Or, if you like, you can try it on and pin where you think they should go. Either way, all 4 holes need to be equal distance apart. Place a safety pin to mark at all 4 places.
Pin each of the 4 facing rectangles, right sides together to the caftan where the hole for the belts are going to be. In the center of this stitch a rectangle 1" wide x 2" long in the center of the facing. Cut into the very center toward the corners but be careful not to cut into the stitching.
Turn the facing toward the inside and pin.
Stitch around each facing 1/4" from the edge, securing it in place.

Step 9: Side Seams

Fold the caftan at the shoulder area, wrong side out. Measure 20" down from the shoulder. (Just below the holes for the belt)This is where you will begin sewing the side seam. Sew about 18" with 1/2" seam allowance. Repeat on other side.

Step 10: Hemming

Turn under the sleeve edges on both sides and hem. Turn under and pin the bottom edge and around the curve. Hem with the sewing machine. Turn right side out and place belt in belt holes. And that's all there is to it! 
This Caftan would be a great beginner sewing project.

Step 11: Blue Paisley

This is a caftan I made last year. It is a Polyester-Cotton blend.

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    Question 3 years ago on Step 11

    I have verified my email four times. Still can't download pattern. Please help


    Answer 3 years ago

    There is not a pattern. The directions tell you exactly how to cut the fabric.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i think this is exactly what i need!

    and how much of a "one size fits all" is it? because i am currently 7 months pregnant, but would like to wear it afterwards too (which is why i havent bought a robe)...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This caftan is perfect for maternity wear. You may want to move the belt holes over to the side a couple of inches if you need more room. Or, place them up higher so the belt is under the bust. Either way, the front panel is 44" wide and the back panel is 44", so that's 88" total around- plenty of room!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Love the fabricated how it drapes!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Let's try the fabric and how it drapes!