Creating the Neckline

Once all the pieces of your Caftan are cut out, the first bit of assembly is the neckline. It might seem counter intuitive, given that the neckline has yet to be cut and you now have all these freshly cut long edges waiting to be stitched before they fray in to oblivion, but trust me—it is far easier to assemble the neckline BEFORE all the added bulk of the gores and sleeves are tacked on to the main piece.

For assembly, you lay your main piece flat in a single layer, and mark from the shoulder points to the center front point.

Mark the neckline from the shoulder points to the center front marking.

Mark the neckline from the shoulder points to the center front marking.

Mark approximately two inches back from the shoulder points and draw a curved line across the back where the back of the neck will be.and then cut out this piece from the center.

Mark back of neck and cut out.

Mark back of neck and cut out.

Use this piece you just cut out as a template to create the neck facing. I created an actual pattern piece and used this to cut out silk organza for interfacing as well as an actual facing piece using scrap fabric from the original cut. My facing is approximately 3” wide because I want it to be an outward facing neck piece to play on the features of true damask fabric, which is it’s complete reversibility.

Facing and Interfacing, being layered and pinned together for basting.

Facing and Interfacing, being layered and pinned together for basting.

I basted the two layers together around both the inner neck facing and the outer edge. Basting the inner edge means I don’t have to fight the layers when I pin the actual neck facing to the main piece. Basting the outer edge creates a line to fold around while I iron it flat, so that it lays nice and smooth when I stitch down the outward facing neck band.

After basting and pressing, I pin the right side of the neck facing to the wrong side of the main piece around the neck edge, matching center front and should points.

Stitch this together, trim off the facing edge approximately 1/4” and clip the neck curves and to the point at shoulder seams and center front point, being careful not to cut through the actual seam line. Flip the neck facing to the out side/front of garment. Press flat. Now, I edge stitched the inner neck edge before pinning down the outer edge and stitching. Top stitching, like so many elements of design, is a matter of personal choice. After the top stitching, I laid the main piece flat and pinned the outer edge of the neck facing down before stitching that carefully around the edge creating an outward facing neck band.

For the TL;DR I edited down the 45 minute process to 11 minutes, 47 seconds and posted it to You Tube.

Step one in actual construction is the neck facing. This is far easier to assemble before putting everything together than after, as you aren't fighting the full weight of an assembled piece if you construct the neck facing first.