Basic Caftan

So here it is:

Layout for the basic Caftan pattern

Layout for the basic Caftan pattern

The measurements we took last week directly translate in to those geometric shapes, adding 1/2” seam allowance all the way around. Now, math is involved in this, but it’s pretty basic math and I’m going to walk you through it, so don’t panic.

Seriously, maths are evil, but sometimes necessary

Seriously, maths are evil, but sometimes necessary

We are going to start with the main piece the large rectangle. Now in the diagram above, I’m showing a flat piece that is what the entire caftan will look like before you sew up the side seams. But the main piece, when we make the pattern itself, will be a rectangle that will be the body length we measured out, in this example 63” long, by the width plus 1” for seam allowance, in this case 16 1/2” (shoulder to shoulder on Brad was 15 1/2”, plus 1” for seam allowance).

The big rectangle will be halved on the actual pattern piece, to allow for cutting a folded piece of fabric, but for demonstration purposes, here is a blow up of what it looks like flat.

The big rectangle will be halved on the actual pattern piece, to allow for cutting a folded piece of fabric, but for demonstration purposes, here is a blow up of what it looks like flat.

To determine the neck slit/head hole, I reverted to the Google cave and found a blog post by Anything I Can Make , which explains the neck slit is the neck diameter (14 1/4) + 4”. So for Brad’s caftan, the neck slit needs to be 18.25 inches wide to be comfortably worn. The slit down the front is math-ed as the head diameter minus this neck slit, so 23-18 1/4=4 3/4. These are the minimum numbers needed, which means the neck hole should be 18 1/4” wide with an additional slit to the front or back that is 4 3/4” long. This does not work for this pattern because, well, the pattern piece is only 16 1/2” wide. So we accommodate the pattern piece by dividing the 18 1/4 by 4, which gives us 4 9/16”…for ease of use with the tape measures available, I’m going to round that up to 4 5/8”. So the neck hole for Brad’s tunic will be cut 4 5/8” on either side of dead center. I am going to round the back up by about 2”, which will give me a center slit depth of 7”.

Rough diagram of my intended opening

Rough diagram of my intended opening

For the sleeves, since there is no arm scye on this piece, it’s all straight geometry, you take that bicep measurement and add 1” for ease, and 1” for seam allowance, giving us an overall pattern piece width of 15”. The length is the length of the arm, plus 1” hem allowance, for another rectangle, this one 15” by 26”.

Starting to come together. Two more pieces to explain.

Starting to come together. Two more pieces to explain.

The gore length is determined by the length of the tunic minus 1/2 of the sleeve width. So for Brad, 63-(15/2)=55 1/2. The top of the gore is the bust measurement minus the shoulder to shoulder measurement times two, divided by four. (36-(15 1/2))/4= 1 1/4”. Plus 1” for seam allowance is going to get us 2 1/4”

Now, you may have noticed on the diagrams I’ve been sharing, that the bottom of the gore width is already populated at 12”

See…12” all the way around.

See…12” all the way around.

You can make the bottom gore width as wide or as narrow as you want. It tapers from that top piece down to whatever width you give it, so make it how you like it. I designated 12” because the average stride length is only 26” per step. So with an extra 48” all the way around PLUS the width of the body piece, there is no fear of tripping on the fabric as I walk. But you do you.

Now the last piece is the gusset:

Hello Gusset!

Hello Gusset!

Again, I have averaged this here. Generally, 8” works for MOST people. If you like a little more give, then go for a 9” right triangle. If you prefer less, then 6” might work for you. As that little gusset can effect how well you move your arms, experiment with it if you don’t like the 8”.

And that is the rundown on the pattern pieces and how to translate your measurements to a caftan pattern. Just four pieces will give you a variety of garments, which we will be delving in to in future posts.

For the TL, DR, see the posted you tube video linked here:

The TL;DR version of the above blog post.