One of the clearest memories I have as a kid is going to a primary school dance wearing my Mum’s 70s kaftan, hem stapled up, and crazy dancing like a boss. That kaftan was thing of beauty- an awesome border print featuring mandalas and paisley in those subdued cream/orange/yellow/brown colours of the time. But mostly I remember how damn comfy that thing was to wear and as I got older I nicked it a few times to putter around in until I could no longer find it in Mum’s closet. All of the sadness!!! So imagine my delight when I saw Sonja’s epic kaftan a few months back- I could make my own- it’s kaftan time!
The pattern is McCalls Fashion Star 6552 which they insist is a frock (#teamkaftan) with a raised drawstring waist, kimono sleeves and an all in one bodice. It’s a pretty quick make and the bodice design is awesome. It’s all cut as one piece, the sleeves are sewn, parts are flipped and hello bodice!
The fabric I used is bought from my trip to Malaysia. I was recommend a great batik place to check out by Mel where you can watch the artists at work, check out their finished pieces and even score some fabric from bolts. The cotton I grabbed has a similar weight and feel to African wax prints and had a print big enough to do this kaftan proud. I used up the entire 4 metres with about 1cm to spare. Eep!
The pattern comes in simple sizing- Small, Medium and Large. I followed the measurements and went with the Large but next time I knock this together I’ll size down one. It feels a bit too roomy in the back and the shoulders sit a little too far out for me. I also added two inches of length in the skirt and this had ended with the perfect floor grazing length. Though part of me is really tempted to hack it to above the knee…
This kaftan is simultaneously the most demure AND most saucy thing I have ever made. First glance and it’s all long frock with sleeves to elbows but upon a second look it’s all about the bodice cut to below your bra. Seriously. These photos are taken with the front V tacked up two inches. I had read in Sonja’s post that she extended the centre front an inch or so to help raise the neckline but my pieces went right to the edge of the fabric so I was stuck. Though part of me was all “How bad can it be?” Oh Past Amanda, you sweet naive starfish. How wrong you were!
One of the features I really dug about this pattern is the great drawstring casing design. This is actually formed by the seam allowance for the skirt and bodice, which is sewn at 7/8”. This is then graded on one side, folded at the edge and stitched down. Like a boss!
What I liked about this pattern:
- The drawstring casing. Such a fantastic idea!
- The 70s glam. No more stapling the hem up for me. 2014 Amanda is all class.
- It’s a quickmake. A fast game is a good game.
What I would change for next time:
- Try a fabric with more drape to get that seriously flowy Elizabeth Taylor kaftan vibe happening.
- Size this sucker down. A bit firmer fit in the bodice would be tops! Get it? Bodice? Tops? Gah, I need to stop…
- Extend the front bodice piece to raise the neckline a bit. My girls keep trying to run free with the current situation!
Pattern: McCalls 6552
Fabric: 4 metres of Batik fabric from Atma Alam
Notions: Thread, interfacing scrap
Overall, I’m happy with this kaftanliciousness coming into summer beach season. It’s a perfect frock for beachside cocktails at an evening soiree… If only I was a lady who went to such things! But it will be fantastic for summer trips to the beach and for something to cover me up against the sun post-swim!
And as it is November 30 and the last day of #bpSewvember I wanted to do a huge shout out to everyone who participated over the last month! We’ve had over 12,500 pictures tagged, a myriad of tips shared and lots of discussions started. It’s been amazing to take a peek into so many people’s stashes, stories and processes of the past 30 days. The sewing community is a pretty special one and this past month had really hit this home for me. Stay awesome!