I can tell you that having a sewing pattern named after you is pretty great. I can also tell you that when I read Heather's email asking me if I would be happy to be the muse for her latest pattern I started crying. I was on the subway. It wasn't pretty.
I've inhabited this little nook of the online sewing world for nearly three years and, whilst my posting of late has been erratic to say the least, I feel like the sewing community is so supportive and so welcoming that, as I've said before, I feel like I've found my tribe. Lately I also feel like I've found the space and confidence to fully embrace the styles that I love.
To have someone find my style interesting enough to use as a muse, is really the highest compliment I could be paid. And to be in such esteemed company as Heather's other muses, well my head swelled several times its usual size.
So, I am so happy to say that this is the Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan!!!
First order of action was to consider what I would make out of this pattern. I have to say I never saw myself as a caftan person, but I think that's very silly. And I love how other people's perceptions of you challenge your own view and make you see sense.
(Particularly as if you look at my wardrobe you see volume - lots of volume.)
Everyone is, if they want to be, a caftan person - especially this kind of caftan; loads of delicious fabric, breezy and cool, details that give a hint of the body underneath - the low neckline, the dropped armhole, the side slits and the clever methods Heather has summoned to create a waist.
I originally intended to make the shorter version with the pleats - Version A - as I felt the shape was 'more me', but then I was at the beach and saw this lady looking so effortlessly glamorous wearing a voluminous shibori caftan and I was completely inspired. So Version C it was.
After much searching I drew a blank on the kind of shibori I was hoping to find and dying things isn't an option for me at the moment (too little time, too much, well, kids). Although having seen Sallie's version, I clearly didn't look in the right places. But then one day as I flailed around down an Instagram fabric rabbit hole, I came across this absolutely gorgeous hand printed indigo cotton from The Drapers Daughter. It's actually a Merchant and Mills fabric and it totally lives up to the quality many rave about. It's beautifully lightweight without being sheer and feels robust but also drapes really nicely. And it's so so so soft.
I didn't think too much about whether a cotton would work for this, and only after I'd sewn it did I realise that even a fraction less movement in the fabric would not have worked at all; a rayon or viscose would be so much better. But for me and my intended wafting-around-on-the-beach-whilst-encrusted-with-sand,-salt-and-sunscreen use for it, this is ideal.
I think it's fair to say that Heather loves unexpected but simple details in her patterns. She also loves and is incredibly good at explaining how to create these details and enabling you to tackle things that seem tricky one step at a time, so that before you know it, you've nailed it with no stress at all. She is a very talented designer and goes to the nth degree to make sure her instructions are easy to follow and you get good results every time.
And I would say that even if she hadn't named a pattern after me.
I like how Charlie (!) is a straight forward, quick sew, but it has the bodice panel that provides a bit of a challenge and wonderful visual interest on the garment. Whilst also being structurally important in creating the silhouette.
I have to say that this is not my finest work. I was so desperate to get it finished (it's a little embarrassing that this took me so long to find the time to make and then to write about ... ) that I wasn't as meticulous as I should have been. The most obvious example of this is the wonky pattern placement on the bodice. I'm not sure I would have been totally able to avoid this as it's cut on the fold, but more thought could have yielded a better result (I feel like this is something that could have been written on my report card at any point during my school years).
The bodice panel also isn't perfect and I think next time I'll definitely hand stitch the inner panel (and I've finally settled on a fabric for my short version so you may see that sometime soon - maybe). Both Heather and Karen have fab guides on how to make this look much more professional than my attempt.
I made a forward shoulder adjustment as this style is a prime culprit for riding back on these shoulders, and cut the lowest point for the V neck, but other than that I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern. Oh, I did grade between sizes at the hips and might even go another size up next time just to give me more waft.
I have worn this a lot this summer and feel as comfortable wearing it at the beach as I do floating (because one does float or indeed waft in a caftan) around the city. The first time I put it on, I was coming down the steps of my building and got two compliments from random passers by.
I think one could safely say that Heather is a pattern genius and the Charlie Caftan is a win.
Not least for my ego!
See you soon x