The pattern comes as paper and PDF pattern from Closet Case Patterns. I have had the PDF for a while and this is my fourth dress. I have made two short versions and two 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 three different versions. The sleeves are grown-on kimono-style and come in two versions.
For my last maxi dress version, Katie gifted me this lovely Viscose Crepe. The fabric has gorgeous bright tropical floral print on a black background. The crepe weave gives the fabric an interesting texture. Do you remember the crepe paper you used for crafting as a kid? The texture of the fabric feels just like that. From all the viscose and rayon that I have worked with, this has been the easiest to sew. The crepe weave and texture makes the fabric less slippery and therefore easier to sew.
The sewing instructions are very easy to follow and super straight forward - as per usual from Closet Case Patterns. This pattern can be tackled by an advanced beginner. The trickiest step is the centre panel. It takes a bit more patience to inset the centre 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). For my very first version I sized up as my waist and hips are size 14, but I felt the v-neck was a bit loose and I had some gaping so I have to wear a slip underneath. Since this dress isn't fitted and gets its shape from the ties, I sized down with the second dress, including this maxi version (but I still checked and made sure my hip would fit into the size 12). I didn't make any fit adjustments, other than shortening the dress.
For my previous maxi version I used 3 m of fabric and ended up with a very strange amount of fabric leftover - which was unusable for any cami or top. So this time I only used 2.5 m and was shy by 9" to make the maxi dress. I shortened the dress by 4.5" and raised the side slits to be 50 cm, 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 on itself.
The thin ties which are sewn into the centre panel sit very flatteringly around the waist. I really love this feature of the dress. It gives the enormous amount of fabric a delicate touch.
When choosing fabric, make sure you choose a soft fabric that drapes well and gathers easily, like this Viscose Crepe. 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 centre panel and ties would be more casual.
Living in a hot and at the moment humid climate, I love wearing natural fibres - Linen and Viscose/Rayon are my first choice. The fabric and pattern are a perfect match and are excellent for the weather we are having at the moment. I am looking forward to the temperature dropping and wearing this dress during brunch. When I say temperature drop, I am talking from 45 degrees to a lovely 35 with low humidity ;)
Thanks for hanging out with me. I hope you get inspired to sew a Charlie Caftan yourself.