How to Sew a Simple Caftan

  • Measure from the nape of your neck down to the desired length. Purchase twice this amount of 45" wide fabric.
  • Cut the fabric into two equal lengths.
  • Reduce the width of both pieces to 35".
  • From the excess cut-away material, cut two rectangles, each measuring 6" wide x 12" long. Fold each in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together, press to crease the folded edge. Set these aside to be used on the neckline.
  • Choose one length of fabric to be the front of the caftan. Spread it on the floor or tabletop, right side up, mark and cut the front neck opening as follows:
    • Place a pin in the center top edge of the fabric.
    • Measure down 8" and mark with a pin.
    • Along the top edge, place pins 6" to either side of the center pin.
    • Place pins 2" to either side of the bottom pin.
    • Cut out the neck opening. Refer to diagram.
  • Take the two folded rectangles and pin them to the neck opening, aligning raw edges. (There will be some excess at the top and bottom). Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Turn the rectangles toward the center and overlap the bottom edges.
  • Gather or pleat the excess fabric along the bottom of the neck opening and pin it to the overlapped edge of the neckline. Stitch.
  • Trim away excess fabric from the rectangles along the top and bottom of the neckline.
  • To complete the caftan:
    • Place the front of the caftan together with the back, right sides together. Stitch along the top.
    • Stitch the sides, leaving a 10" opening on either side for the arms.
    • You may choose to cut a large curve bottom or leave it straight.
    • Hem the bottom.
    • Hem the armhole openings.
    • Hem the back neck opening.