Charlie Caftan : : View A Maxified : : Closet Case Patterns

Charlie Caftan, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Blackbird Fabrics

And. Cue music.* Hawaiian ukele music that is.


Clearly. I am not in Maui. But my Maui Charlie Caftan has me feeling otherwise.

My make today is the Charlie Caftan View A which is described as modern and architectural with striking pleats beneath the bust.

This caftan was inspired by a comment on my recent Charlie Caftan View B here. My friend Greetje, of No Fear of Fashion complimented me sincerely and additionally said that she would hardly call it a caftan anymore…it was an easy, breezy summer dress. Greetje, of course, is absolutely correct. I did indeed tweak my caftan to the tipping point…it’s a lovely little dotty dress, no longer a caftan.

Her comment got me musing…How true to a traditional caftan silhouette am I willing/wanting to go? wondered me. It was time for some homework and my first task was to re-read Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan Pattern Inspiration Post. Up next..Pinterest. I may have drooled over a good many caftan pics when gone down that rabbit hole. And finally…taking a closer look at my actual pattern. I was seeing View A for the very first time. Okay…not true ‘dat. I had printed and cut out view A last year when I was pattern testing, but opted to sew the short version of view B.

Charlie Caftan, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Blackbird Fabrics

View A is drafted for above the knee but I had other things in mind. I lengthened the pattern to ankle length…easy enough to do peeps…draw vertical straight lines on the original pattern pieces until you reach the desired length.

As with my Dotty Caftan, I used the higher set sleeve option with the shoulder line adjusted.

Rayon/viscose…it’s light and drapey. As a result, the pleats aren’t super sharp…in fact they want to flap completely open…so I machine stitched the pleat on the wrong side of the fabric very close to the fold line. I’m very happy with the finished look.

Charlie Caftan, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Blackbird Fabrics

It’s a tad embarrassing to admit, but I bought this fabric because of it’s name…Maui Floral Viscose Poplin. It’s from Blackbird Fabrics and although the green colourway is sold out, they have a gorgeous deep red still in stock {as of publishing this blog post}. It’s drapey, colourful and altogether dreamy.

Charlie Caftan, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Blackbird Fabrics

I could hardly believe it…when I tried on my caftan…the neckline was too low. Again. Wot? I was sure that my neckline alterations were enough…and I stick to the belief that, despite stay stitching, my neckline stretched while I made the garment. In fact my redrafted neckline facing no longer fit the opening, so there’s my proof. I really wanted to keep the V shape so I had to improvise. It was annoying dealing with the same mistake as I had just done on my dotty caftan. But. Watcha gonna do? I cut my front facing pieces out twice, interfaced one, then sewed the two pieces right sides together. After turning right sides out, I positioned my V shaped piece of fabric into the original neckline and top stitched it into place.

I chose a center front slit open to just above the knee. I finished my hemline and slit with Allie Olson’s Highlands Wrap Dress instructions. I know. Every. Single. Dress. I love the technique that much.

Charlie Caftan, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Blackbird Fabrics

Yep. Very happy with the finished look. It has the cool caftan factor I was going for. I totally want to make this same view and length in a linen or linen-like fabric. 

Thanks for reading.

* Oft repeated phrase by Nigel Lithgoe in So You Think You Can Dance.

Wearing : :

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


  • Reply Manju August 13, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Beautiful fabric and silhouette. Glad you saved that neckline.

    • Reply Sue August 13, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Manju! I could have just barely got away with not altering the neckline. You can see how I only added about 1/2″ of height, but boy, that 1/2″ makes me feel covered, LOL.

  • Reply Vancouver Barbara August 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    That’s a great caftan. The colours look so good on you. The shape is terrific too. Though I didn’t think your polka dot caftan was actually a caftan – I’m in agreement with Greetje here, the spots inspired me and I got some black cotton with white spots from Marcy Tilton. Don’t know what I’ll make yet as it’s a bit beefy and stretchy and too hot for our current temperatures. Your caftan is so cool and looks as if it would catch every little whisper of a breeze which is what we need right now. Well done!

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Barbara. I was a little uncertain about the colour initially. It is quite saturated. That said…It’s a caftan…and I think the extra ooomph works!

      Your black and white dots sound perfect!

  • Reply Faye Lewis August 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    So pretty. Gorgeous fabric!

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Faye!

  • Reply coco August 13, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    So clever – it never occurred to me to do this view as a maxi. Love the look! and of course, the fabric 🙂

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:13 am

      LOL…me too. I’ve had the pattern for over a year and to think I had to have a light bulb moment before twigging that I could sew this view long. Any hoo….this version really, really feels right to me!

  • Reply Linda (ACraftyScrivener) August 14, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Glorious! You need some sun and a cocktail

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Yes! and Yes! Thanks Linda!

  • Reply Suzanne August 14, 2018 at 6:37 am

    Well no wonder why I love this with all the tweaks you made. It is so much better than any caftan I’ve seen.

    Also gotta say the fabric choice and colour is amazing on you. You knocked it out of the park!


    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Thanks Suzanne. I fear this version may have created a bit of a monster. I want to make so many more with this silhouette!

  • Reply Melanie August 14, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Wow, Sue, this is such a winning piece. The fabric choice looks awesome with your colouring and the cut is super flattering. And then we have the photos to present it all with a flourish. This is a drasstan. Or a kafdress. Okay, I tried. Heh. It’s a maxi dress. I loved this trip to Maui.

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Thanks Mel. Now. To get this dress to Maui, LOL.

  • Reply Sherry - Petite Over 40 August 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

    As I said on IG, you look like a 1930s star in this caftan–so elegant and breezy! That color looks stunning on you. And, of course, the craftsmanship of the garment gives it a super flattering fit. I’m off now to explore the pattern and the fabric store you mentioned with hopes of maybe one day creating my own starlet-worthy Charlie Caftan.

    – Sherry

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Sherry. Ooooh…possibly another convert to the caftan? I hope so. Just a quick heads up. There is a tricky bit on the Charlie and I’ll be happy to help you with a workaround if need be.

  • Reply AnneW August 15, 2018 at 2:30 am

    It’s stunning, the perfect summer dress! In future, when you make a deep v neckline with viscose, the minute it’s cut, iron on some interfacing, only a narrow strip. I use the Vilene Bias Tape, but I’m sure you could use other brands. Or, cut a strip 1cm wide from a lightweight sheer fusible and use that, but on the grain, not cut on the bias. It will save your sanity and plunging necklines! Viscose is a blighter for shifting and stretching. But, this is still fabulous, you look like a star!

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Anne! Your tip is soooooo valuable and appreciated! This will be really, really helpful for my next makes!

  • Reply Vix August 15, 2018 at 6:06 am

    It’s absolutely gorgeous, both the cut and your choice of fabric. I love it. xxx

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Thanks Vix! I want to make another with some fun trim…pom poms perhaps! I’ve got inspo from your outfits!

  • Reply Lynn August 15, 2018 at 6:32 am

    It’s gorgeous! I love that fabric. Funny thing – I have wanted a caftan ever since I first saw them in the 70s but I can’t really see myself wearing one so I have never made one.

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Thanks Lynn. Yep…it was the seventies when they exploded on the fashion scene. Took me forty years to jump on the train, but well worth it. For me, it was about finding just the right silhouette.

  • Reply Anna Brown August 18, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Yay, I love it. I’ve just made a view B long one, my family did not approve of the shape on me so I did what my gut had originally told me to do and tinkered with the waist bit to make it similar to view A (except the bar is the same size as the view B). It has side slits but is otherwise so similar to yours. I had to sew the pleats as well. Im so happy to see yours and know that great minds think alike. lol. (mine is made of an old duvet and my family have referenced clowns in the way it looked as view B. Apparently its no so much now). Waiting for the sun to shine again to wear it. You have encouraged me to go ahead and make one out of some “proper fabric” thank you.

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Woo Hoo. Sounds like you made a great save! I’ve made view B as a shortie a couple of times and just couldn’t get my head around the idea of the maxi view. But. I wanted a maxi. I say…go for the proper fabric with confidence!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion August 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Oh yes, this is a caftan. I am so glad my direct but honest comments inspired you to this lovely piece. Exactly what you wanted, I bet. And the low neckline? I think that was faith as I like the extra bits you sewed on.
    I keep being amazed over how you always alter so much, never just follow the pattern. Only true masters can do that.
    Great caftan.

    • Reply Sue August 21, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Hey! Greetje!

      Always! Always appreciate your honesty and insights so please keep the comments coming! xo

  • Reply Caftan Dreams and Monsters - Petite Over 40 September 18, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    […] I was a teenager, I would have a poster on my wall of Sue from A Colourful Canvas. She is a sewing rockstar and I hope to sew like her one […]

  • Reply Sandra Garnett January 8, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Love this – it looks beautifully cool and tropical and would fit into our sultry, humid temperatures here in Cairns, Australia. I currently have thousands of Tessuti Eva dresses – which I love and I’m confident with fit. Have a lovely 2020 sewing year and keep up with the gorgeous, witty blog full of inspiration. Regards, Sandra

    • Reply Sue January 28, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you for the lovely comment Sandra! I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner.

      I love my Charlie caftans….I sometimes wish I had more of that sultry, humid weather to wear them in. 🙂

      Happy 2020 to you as well….I’m feeling back on my sewing game and hoping to put out my first post of the new year soon!

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