DIY Self-Drafted Caftan!
Hi Guys! I want to share with you how to draft perhaps my favorite casual dress of all time. I have THREE of these dresses now! The first was a dress my sister handed down to me which she got at a thrift store, but which is handmade. I have worn the seams completely out on that dress! The first time I copied it, I used a beautiful foil printed and laser cut African fabric I picked up in DC. Now, I've made it again for my day dress in the Day and Night Dress Challenge out of some Robert Kauffman Essex Metallic Linen from Hart's Fabrics, and this time, I paid attention to the math I was doing so that YOU can draft one, too!
If you feel confident and want to jump right in, click here to go to the Google Spreadsheet.
You'll need to take 6 measurements:
A: Neckline width. Measure from the point of your spine to halfway down your shoulder, about the end of your trapezius muscle!
B: Neckline depth. Measure from the top of your shoulder down to how deep you want your neckline. I recommend keeping it small, I only use 3 inches.
C: Bust: Measure around the widest part of your bust over a bra you'd normally wear, as normal.
D: Apex of Bust. Measure down from the top of your shoulder to the fullest point of your bust. This is going to help us determine the size of the armholes.
E: Hips. Measure around the fullest part of your hips as you normally would.
F: Dress Length. Measure how long you want your dress to be! I like to hang the "zero" end of my measuring tape and adjust the other end at my shoulder until the tape is hanging down where I want the dress to end.
Then, you're going to enter those numbers into the spreadsheet and it will give you your drafting numbers! I did a spreadsheet because it can get a little confusing. You may wonder watching my video, why do I sometimes add and sometimes subtract seam allowance? When you're dealing with something like a neckline, hemming it will make a larger hole than a smaller one, so you actually have to start with a smaller hole to get the neckline size you want! And when we take measurements down the body, like the bust apex, that's going to be affected by seam allowance we add in at the shoulders and neckline, which will draw that measurement up or down the body.
On the spreadsheet, you'll see 2 different measurement results: One for bias binding (like I did with this dress!) and one for hemming the neckline and arm holes. The reason they are different is that with a contrast bias binding like I've done, you're just encapsulating the raw edges instead of folding them under, so you don't need to account for the size of the neck hole or arm hole changing. If you choose to finish with bias binding but use it to hem, go ahead and use the drafting measurements for a hemmed dress.
All seam allowances are 1/2", and the hem allowance is 2 inches.
And then here's my super bad MS Paint drawing (still somehow better than what I can draw by hand???) of how you should use the measurements to draft up your pattern! I drafted it on pattern paper, but I folded the paper in half first so both sides would be symmetrical.
Hem the neckline and arm holes if you're going to, then sew up the shoulder seams, side seams, and hem. Then put the dress on and mark where you want your elastic waist to be with a safety pin (go slightly below to allow for some blousing) and sew the elastic directly to the fabric with a zig zag stitch, quartering the elastic loop and dress so it's matched evenly and stretching the elastic as you go. Or, sew on a contrast elastic casing with some bias tape like I did! Embellish as you'd like, adding bias binding around the neck and arm holes, a contrast band, or even an overlay or some embroidery! The best part of this dress is that it's a simple blank canvas to let your imagination run wild.
If you guys try out this caftan, make sure you tag me on instagram!