Going Dotty for My Charlie Caftan : : Closet Case Patterns : : #2018MakeNine

Charlie Caftan, Closet Case Patterns, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Sewing Blog

Hiya everyone.

I’m checking in today with one of my #2018MakeNine sewing makes. This is my sixth out of nine!

In my original #2018MakeNine blog post, I had this fabric pegged for either a Charlie Caftan or a Penny Dress by Colette. Given that my first Charlie Caftan, blogged here, was my most worn summer item last year, the scales were tipped in favour of another easy, breezy, polka dotty caftan.


Just for fun.

I made some changes to the pattern.

Ahem…actually…quite a few, but I’m sure this no longer surprises you.

Charlie Caftan, Closet Case Patterns, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Sewing Blog

Okay….as you can see, I’ve made some tweaks to the bodice, most noticeably the inset (image top right).

It’s not there.

To be clear. I like the inset. I think it’s a lovely design feature. But! As I wrote in my post last year, it can be a bit of a tricky beast. So, after some thought, I rationalized that visually it would be almost completely lost in the busy print. I asked myself, would I miss it? Nope, not this time.

Here’s how I altered my pattern…I cut horizontally across my front pattern piece using the cutting line for the inset as my guide. Voila…I had a bodice piece and a skirt piece. I added a seam allowance to the bottom of the bodice and to the top of the skirt piece. I then removed 5/8″ off my bodice center front pattern piece and placed it on the fold.

The second change I made was to redraft the sleeve slightly higher for a bit more coverage. I followed Coco’s ( Coco’s Loft ) tips here. To reiterate…I love my first Charlie. It’s just that with this make I was aiming for a slightly more dress-like silhouette.

And that brings me to the V neckline. With all the drafting I was doing, I decided to also raise the V-neck opening. Yet….at the last minute…thought nope, it’s too conservative…leave it as is. 


I sewed the garment. I tried it on. And…hello….the bow on my bra was completely visible. This ain’t gonna work thought me. I ended up sewing a small square of fabric, (with some boss pattern matching) into the V.  In the image, top left, my thumb is marking the original point of the V.

Charlie Caftan, Closet Case Patterns, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Sewing Blog

Okay. On my first make, I chose not to add ties. On this version I added ties, but I made them wider than the pattern calls for…1 1/2″ to be precise. And…I attached them at the side seams.

I also decided to add some fullness to the back of the caftan. I created a back bodice and a back skirt by making a horizontal cut across the back pattern piece…right at the same parallel as my newly created front bodice and skirt pieces. I widened the back skirt to a width equal to the front skirt, gathered it, and sewed it to the back bodice.

Charlie Caftan, Closet Case Patterns, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Sewing Blog

My fabric is a lovely 100% cotton purchased from Dressew in Vancouver. Navy and white random polka dots…I couldn’t say no.

Charlie Caftan, Closet Case Patterns, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Sewing Blog

Oh yeah…there it is. Visible side bra.

But seriously…I feel very comfortable…I think bra flash will be at a minimum.

Charlie Caftan, Closet Case Patterns, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Sewing Blog

All righty. One final announcement before signing off. Have you ever watched That Sewing Blab? It’s an hour long live Internet sewing show hosted by Dawn of Duelling Designs and Myra of Simple InspirationsIt airs every Tuesday at 7:30ET after which it gets posted to Dawn’s Youtube channel. The show is interactive…you can join in via on-air chat or via the live comments section.

Dawn and Myra are starting a new series titled Sewists to Watch Series. And looky dat…Canada is the first stop on the globe. The series kicks off tomorrow, July 10, 2018, with Dawn, guest host Gillian from Crafting A Rainbow, and an impressive roster of Canadian sewist guests. Plus…um…me. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m grateful to be included! Here’s the pre-link to the show: Duelling Designs: Upcoming Events. Hope to see you there!


Charlie Caftan : : Closet Case Patterns  : : also seen here


  • Reply Suzanne Carillo July 9, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I’m so excited for your live on air debut!

    I think you did another stellar job on this. Your little square with brilliant pattern matching saved the day. I could see how low it would have been without that. The fabric is so Sue.

    With your fancy bras a little peek a boo isn’t an issue.


    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Suzanne!

      We had a lot of fun on That Sewing Blab!

      Yes…I justified the fabric purchase last year because it is so very Sue. 😉

  • Reply Aida July 10, 2018 at 3:40 am

    what a job did you do with patternmatching that square, I could not tell there was a seam! the dress and the print look fantastic on you!

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 8:59 am

      I had thought of putting in a little square of white lace, but opted for the ‘invisible’ pattern matching instead. Happy I did.

  • Reply coco July 10, 2018 at 6:05 am

    This is such a winner, Sue. All your changes are so pretty, and the final dress is very well balanced – and becoming! (p.s. thks)

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Thanks Coco! I appreciate your post that outlines the raising of the shoulder seams!

  • Reply Sew Sarah Smith July 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

    It works really well and how exciting for you … I shall try and tune in!!! (You’ll be fine!!) xx

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Thanks so much Sarah! I think we all enjoyed the sewing chat and it should be on youtube soon.

  • Reply Priscilla Bettis July 10, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Yeah, that IS boss pattern matching, impressive. Side bra flashing . . . well, we wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out.:-) Wonderful print, and the dress looks fab on you!

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Thanks Priscilla. And ’tis true…it isn’t often I’ll be lifting my arm high enough to reveal the bra.

  • Reply The Sewing CPA July 10, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    The dress is absolutely beautiful. You made great changes to it. I’m going to watch the show on YouTube. Congrats on being featured.

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Thanks so much on all counts!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion July 11, 2018 at 1:51 am

    I think you made a completely new pattern with all these adjustments. And I like it. I would hardly call this a caftan anymore though. To me, this is an easy breezy summer dress. Love the polka dot and I think you did a marvellous job. The dress is a little bit empire style to me. Have you thought of further adjusting this pattern by lowering the waistline? And less wider then as it wouldn’t be empire style anymore. Or would that make the dress too ordinary, less special. Just a thought, no critism (this time ) haha.

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:10 am

      LOL…you’re right. Sigh….I get tired of saying that, 🙂

      But seriously, I too would describe this as a dress if asked. I’ve probably hacked it as much as I’m ever going too….gah, who am I kidding…I might just change it some more in a future make.

      What I really want to do is make another one that REALLY says caftan….like linen and no gathers, maybe some trim or embroidery. What do you think?

      • Reply No Fear of Fashion July 11, 2018 at 10:36 am

        I really liked the Perth dress and the Suki kimono. Not too sure what the difference is between a caftan and a kimono. That it is closed at the front? I googled caftans and I think The Vintage Contessa (= blog) and Drossintogold (IG) are both lovers of caftans. I tagged you in their IG for your convenience. I thought your Highlands wrap dress was kind of a (well fitted) caftan.
        Anyway I don’t know. I try these things on in the shop and buy them. Would spoil all your fun.

  • Reply Sherry - Petite Over 40 July 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Sue! Sue! Sue!! I’m jumping up and down at the interview you did with Dawn and Myra!! Gosh, you seemed so relaxed and at ease–so confident in the best way possible. Now you’ve got me revved up to get back to my sewing after the break I had to take recently.

    This Sue-customized caftan is so pretty! Reading through all the tweaks you made to it, I realize how far I have to go to become a Skilled Sewist, but you give me something to shoot for. I’d love to be able to customize a pattern the way you do.

    Gorgeous, lady! Loved reading your post and seeing you in the interview.


    • Reply Sue August 2, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Weeee…you heard it! Thanks for the positive review! This reminds me that I want to post a link to the uploaded youtube option.

      Sewing is like every other hobby. A process, and a fun way to exercise the brain. I feel like I’m always learning when I’m sewing. And, that’s a good feeling.

  • Reply Stylease July 12, 2018 at 12:48 am

    Hey Sue, pretty wear!! I love those patterns <3 xo

    • Reply Sue August 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply CTNBEE July 20, 2018 at 12:43 am

    This dress fits you very well! You look wonderful in it! In addition, this color fits you perfectly!

    • Reply Sue August 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks so very much!

  • Reply coco July 24, 2018 at 8:17 am

    I always want everything you sew!! p.s. I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award (info on my post), no pressure 🙂

    • Reply Sue August 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks Coco. I look forward to joining in for the Mystery Blogger Award.

  • Reply Joke (The Needle Of Choice) July 27, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Waw, it is still 100% Charlie Caftan, and still completely different! Love it!

    • Reply Sue August 2, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m loving it!

  • Reply Letha August 1, 2018 at 2:58 am

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your website? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thank you!

    • Reply Sue August 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Sorry not this time.

  • Reply Lesley January 7, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Sue, I have the Charlie on my cutting table for contemplation. Thanks for the heads up about the armhole – i’ll Check out Coco’s tutorial for sure. This make is lovely on you – so summery though as you read this you might struggle to imagine warm weather!

    • Reply Sue January 8, 2019 at 10:55 am

      LOL…the struggle is real Lesley. That being said, we have sunny days without frost, 7 to 10 degrees C so I can’t really complain.

      I do highly recommend Coco’s tute…I think it will benefit those that desire a little extra coverage. I’ve now made three Charlie caftans and by far my favourite is view A seen, here.

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