I went on a vacation recently and decided to sew a mini-capsule wardrobe for the trip. I don’t have a lot of summer clothes to begin with, and I wanted to experiment with colors and bolder prints that I don’t have in my wardrobe. A tropical vacation seemed like a good time to try both, and the Charlie Caftan by ClosetCore patterns was by far my favorite make for the trip because I got the fit and fabric choice just right. After a series of misses in my sewing room lately, this project felt really good.
I sewed a size 12 even though my measurements (B40.5/W31/H43″) put me at a size 14 in the bust and a 16 in the hip. I made View C with a shortened skirt, and since this pattern has generous ease throughout, sizing down gave me the fit I wanted. If you are sewing View C with the wider sleeve, the bust measurement is very flexible as you can see in the photo above. The sleeve opening extends below the bust line which makes fitting very easy. There is also a D-cup extended size range for this pattern if your bust needs a bit more room. I am technically a D cup in sewing patterns but found I didn’t need the FBA, so this is the size 12 from the straight size range.
I made no adjustments to the pattern aside from chopping the skirt short above the knee. I also lengthened the back ties so I could wrap them around the back and tie them in the front if I wanted. I probably made them too long, but that is an easy fix.
I used a rayon challis from Dashwood Studio for this dress, and it’s extremely soft with lots of drape, which is exactly what this pattern wants. Although the Charlie Caftan would work in a cotton or a linen, I think a silk or a rayon will give you the best results.
The signature element of this dress is a rectangular inset in the front of the garment. Sewing the inset is a bit tricky with a slinky fabric like rayon, but I stabilized the corners with scraps of interfacing, and I used lots of pins to keep the fabric from shifting as I sewed. The interior finish of the inset must be done by hand, which I don’t love because it makes this pattern less accessible for folks (like me) who have trouble with the strength and dexterity required to grip a needle. But I got through it. They aren’t the prettiest insides I’ve ever sewn, but no one will know.
I had originally intended to make the maxi dress version of the Charlie, but I thought this print looked better as a shorter dress. I don’t know how many caftans is too many, but I think another (maxi) version is certainly in my future.