CAFTAN, SQUARED

by Daughter Fish

For a while I’ve been a little obsessed with geometry. Specifically, how triangles, squares, and circles translate into ¬†wearable (and pretty!) garments. Simplicity is playing its part. The hobbies in my life have, inevitably, required some streamlining since becoming a mother. And living in a one-bedroom Manhattan apartment certainly limits the area I have to lay out patterns, cut, and even set up my machine for long periods of time. But beyond all that, clothes made from geometric pattern pieces are just really cool. In many cases, they reduce waste, since you don’t end up with a lot of little scraps, and they can, in many instances, be sewn pretty easily. My first taste of this was with my future dress, which is basically just four large triangles sewn together and hung on the bias.

All that’s a long introduction to this caftan, made of one rectangle of fabric with a hole cut in the middle. My sister and brother-in-law are going to Hawaii for a well-deserved vacation, and I wanted to make her something special for the beach. This sent me on a bit of a scavenger’s hunt across the internet looking for patterns and tutorials, and after considering a few I finally landed on this great and simple tutorial, based on these lovely caftans made by Two.

I chose a silk chiffon from¬†Mood, which has a delicious, light-as-air quality, and hand-rolled all of the hems, edges, and neckline. I like the look of hand-rolled hems, and doing them is a bit meditative. Hand stitching was also a great way to sew while planting myself on the couch, patrolling Little Fish’s path of destruction from toy basket to kitchen shelf to recycling bin. In the past weeks, I’ve given up on trying to keep her from getting into things, and just set up the areas she can reach with things she can pull apart and play with. Simplification. Keeps a mother sane.

As I mention up top, Choo Cha Handmade has a nice tutorial for cutting out the neck area and gathering the neckline and I also like how she tapers her caftan toward the hem. Here’s how I did it…