Amanda vs McCalls 6552 Kaftan

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!

The Deets

Pattern: McCalls 6552

Fabric: 4 metres of Batik fabric from Atma Alam

Notions: Thread, interfacing scrap

See also: Ginger Makes, Sew Wrong, Clio & Phineas


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!



  1. Love this pattern on you! We wept a little because on Twitter you said “It’s summer which means kaftans,” but here it’s winter which means ugly puffer coats.

    Thank you again for having the cleverness to think up #bpsewvember. What a great way to get the sewing community talking to each other and making new friends. Well done!

  2. It’s fantastic! Love those big sleeves and the dramatic hem. And agree, it’s trés glam for floating around sipping champers. It also looks mighty comfy for slipping on during a stinking hot day at home with grubby kids (that would be me talking about my play dough encrusted, vegemite faced monsters of course.)

    • Debbie, I can so see you in one of these look glam and 70s all at once! I am dodging muddy paw prints on this one after yesterdays rain- not sure how practical it will be round the house yet…

  3. Cool! and I really love the awesome batik fabric. It’ll be a beautiful reminder of your trip, every time you wear it 🙂
    Thank you so much for creating the fantastic pbsewvember instagram challenge Amanda! Your topics were fantastic and it was such a brilliant community. hehe, and I’m addicted to IG now 😉
    You’re the best!

  4. alright. that’s enough. i cry uncle. MUST HAZ CAFTAN. and i gotta say i love that neckline. with so much fabric in the dress itself, the neckline doesn’t seem too deep to me. but then again i’m a plunging girl :).

    bpsewvember has been so much fun. brilliant!

    • Get ye to a kaftan STAT! The plunge is pretty dramatic and it does indeed take this from muumuu territory 😀

      Glad you had a blast with #bpSewvember 😀

  5. Oh dear Lordy I ADORE this on you. And that’s not even my fever talking. When you first said ‘kaftan’ to me a few weeks ago I was all ??? Because honey, I remember the 70s in North Queensland and they weren’t that good in the fashion stakes, especially the kaftan fashion stakes. But you have yet again proved me wrong. It’s fantastic! I want to see another in an above-the-knee combo. In Liberty.

  6. i totally see you surrounded by hibiscus and wicker furniture while you seduce a young Rod Stewart away from his education and in the morning kick him in the head……marvelous.

  7. Gah!!!! I have to have this. You will give it to me! Amanda, this is amazingly gorgeous. That fabric, that pattern, the girl inside 😉 and do not even think about cutting off that length. You will kill me. I need it, I need it now. Maybe even more than culottes…

  8. Oh and Sewvember was so extraordinarily wonderful I can’t even express. I have “met” so many amazing people and feel so much closer to this community than every before. Oh and I never missed posting, not once. That’s epic for me, true commitment!

  9. I love this! I’m loving the seventies at the moment. You rock this kaftan like a boss. Now while I have you I need to say a massive thank you for the sewember challenge. I had so much fun! I was already looking forward to getting back into blogging but sewvember just made it a million times better. I have gotten so much inspiration and I’m so happy I made the decision to return to this awesome community.

  10. Way to go with that awesome kaftan. I would lounge in it all the time. sewvember got away from me after I went traveling and had a guest stay with me (and take over my sewing/guest room!). I very much enjoyed all the photos and the inspiration provided! Thanks for organizing it!

  11. Oh I like this, perfect for swanning around in looking all inscrutable, and I bet it’s going to be fantastic for the beach. Go #teamkaftan!

  12. Ah, lovely. So fun. And good job on selling me on something I didn’t even know I wanted! I am starting to realize, that part of the fun of sewing is that I am way more willing to try styles I wouldn’t even consider in a ready made. I just may consider making one of these for the 3 months of warmth we get in Seattle 😉 The image of lounging in it with a cocktail is definitely a selling point. And yes, thanks again for #bpSewvember. I, like others, am feeling a bit lost without it today!

    • It’s totally 70s-tastic! Give in to the kaftan vibe- though may haps a faux-fur trimmed version for Seattle? 😉 And so glad you had a great time with Sewvember!

  13. I love your kaftan! This is such a great use of bold fabric and a simply perfect design. With a dress this fun, it would be impossible to be depressed while wearing

    • Hi Caroline, I’m sorry I missed this comment earlier this year. I have seen few people with this recently so it may be worth calling around a few stores as it still seems to be in print. Otherwise, you could try asking other sewing peeps on Facebook or Instagram i f they are happy to lend. I’ve done this with patterns before and have great success. Hope you can find it! Cheers,

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2024 Bimble & Pimble · Theme by 17th Avenue

Copyright © 2024 · Peony on Genesis Framework · WordPress · Log in