The pattern comes as paper and PDF pattern from Close Case Patterns. I have the PDF for a while and this is my 4 dress. I made 2 short versions and 2 maxi. The Charlie Caftan is a woven, v-neck loose fitted dress with optional thin waist ties and the biggest inseam pockets ever! The pattern comes with 3 different versions. The sleeves are grown-on kimono-style and come in two versions.
My very first version, I made the mini length in a Viscose Linen in cream with tiny coral spots. I used this as a wearable toile because when I pre-washed the fabric, the textured linen discoloured slightly. It is only noticeable when you look very close. Since this happened throughout the fabric, I wasn't to worried about it for the dress but quite upset because it wasn't cheap. The second dress was also made in a Viscose Linen but plain navy - available on my website - the weave of the fabric is a bit thicker than the cream coloured dress and the gathered at centre front don't look as soft as the other versions. Both dresses are in heavy rotation, I love wearing them - Linen is the best for the weather here in Dubai.
Version 3 & 4 are both maxi dresses. One is made from Viscose in Black with pastel florals and the other one is made from Viscose Crepe in Black with brightly coloured tropical florals.
The sewing instructions are very easy to follow and super straight forward - as per usual from Close Case Patterns. This pattern can be tackled by an advanced beginner. The trickiest step is the center panel. It takes a bit more patience to inset the center panel. Read the instruction carefully first and take it slow with each step. I reckon, it took me about 5 hours or less of sewing and cutting time to complete the dress. Once you have made this dress a few times, it will be a quick dress to sew.
The pattern comes in sizes 0-20 (bust 79cm to 117cm). My very first version, I sized up as my waist and hip are size 14. But I felt the v-neck was a bit loose and the dress gaps a bit, so I have to wear a slip underneath. Since the dress isn't fitted and gets its shape from the ties, I sized down with the second dress, including the maxi versions. But I still checked and made sure my hip would fit into size 12. I didn't make any fit adjustments, other than shortening the dress.
For both mini versions, I used about 2.25m of 140cm-wide fabric. One of the maxi versions I used 3m of fabric and ended up with a very strange amount of fabric - which is unusable for any cami and top. For the last dress I made, the one in Viscose Crepe, I only used 2.5m and was shy by 9". I shortened the dress by 4.5" and raised the side slits to be 50cm, the same as the original length of the maxi dress and the side slits comes up just above my knee. Since I shortened the dress, I didn't want to take any more length from the dress and only overlocked the hem and pressed it over once in itself.
The thin ties which are sewn into the center panel sit very flattering around the waist. I really love this feature of the dress. It gives the large amount of fabric, for the maxi dresses, a delicate touch.
When choosing fabric, make sure you choose a soft fabric that drapes well and gathers easily, like Viscose or Rayon. It makes all the difference, you don't want to end up with chunky gathers or fabric that is difficult to gather in the first place.
If you are looking for a maxi dress for your holiday, this is your go-to dress. I love the shorter version to wear daily. I would love to hack this dress with an elastic. I am looking for a simple dress to throw on, I love the shape of this dress and feel an elastic, instead of the center panel and ties, would be more casual.
Living in a hot and humid climate, I love wearing natural fibres - Linen and Viscose/Rayon are my first choice. The fabric and pattern are a perfect match and excellent for the weather we are having at the moment. I am looking forward for the temperature to drop and where the dress during brunch. When I say temperature drop, I am talking from 45 degrees to a lovely 35 ;)
Thanks for hanging out with me. I hope you get inspired to sew a Charlie Caftan yourself. The pattern is available on the website.