Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easiest DIY Caftan Top Ever

Caftans have sort of gotten a bad rap since the 70's.


But I still love them, and I think they can be sexy, saucy, and stylish all at once if you go about it in the right way.

Victoria's Secret

Colin Heaney

 Today I'm going to show you how you can make your own super easy caftan top that will be perfect for any occasion.

2 large scarves (mine are 42"X 42"or 106.5 cm square)
measuring tape
sewing machine (or needle if you'd prefer to do this by hand...which you can, it's that easy!)

1) Cut off any tags from your scarves

2) Measure from the centre of your neckline towards your shoulder and decide how wide you want your neckline to be.

3) Fold your scarf in half along one side to determine the centre and mark it with a pin.

 4) Next, you need to decide how long you want your top to be.  Because my scarves were extra big I was able to fold them almost in half.  This way I got the length I wanted and they were then lined so I wouldn't have to wear a tank top underneath.  I could've left them long and made a dress instead.  You decide what works best for your body.

You can see here that it's folded.
This is just the front so far.
5) Remember earlier we decided how wide the neckline would be?  Now you can mark that along the top edge of your scarf with two pins.  Do the same with the scarf for the back and pin the two scarves together at your neckline markings.

Leave your sides unattached and open for now.

 6) Here's a spot where you can add a personal touch.  Because I said this was the easiest caftan ever, I'm making mine with just a few stitches at the neckline and leaving the tops of my sleeves open (to flutter).  If you want a closed sleeve you can stitch along the top of your scarves up to your neckline mark.  Just make sure to put right sides together and use a narrow stitch.

DIY Caftan top, Easy Caftan top, How to make a caftan top, Free Caftan top pattern, scarf to caftan top, how to sew a caftan, scarf recycle

7) I'm going the easy route and just stitching about a half inch on either side of mark with a 1/4"seam.


Don't forget to stitch it with right sides together.  Once it's stitched just flip it back to right sides out and give it a quick press along the top seam.

8) Now you just need to make a side seam so that people can't see right through your top.  The best way to determine this is to measure across the front of your hips and add a few inches.  That way you know it will lie nicely along the bottom edge.  I measured 12 inches (30.5cm) in from each side and sewed a line straight up from the bottom, 12 inches long.

 For this seam you can leave wrong sides together and stitch on the outside.

My stitching is really much straighter than it looks here.
The scarf is just not laying straight...really!
And guess what....that's it!
Wear it off the shoulder for evening

Wear it centered for something a little more conservative

This project took me about 30 minutes to complete.  And I think the only reason it even took that long was because I had to stop and take photos of each step.

I bought my scarves at the dollar store, and even though they're polyester and of very questionable quality, I think they were still a pretty good deal.  If you use a proper silk scarf or even just cut some fabric into the right size square and then hem the sides this would hang much more beautifully.  Check out your local 2nd hand shop for great deals on scarves!

If you want to make this your own, just try playing with your seams or add a beaded embellishment or fringe along the bottom.  Or how about some cute buttons at the top neckline corners.  The caftan silhouette has to be the most simplest out there, so all you need to do is dress it up with the right accessories and away you go.  Style and comfort, all in one!

Hope you give it a try.  Comment land has been very quiet lately but I'd sure love to hear your thoughts.
Have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding: The Hats

Well, I worked on a great tutorial for you all last night and it came together quite well...until the very end.  Then I made an error that goofed the whole thing up.  So, instead of a tutorial today I thought I'd take a look at the Royal Wedding, which is what everyone is interested in anyways, so why fight it?

I didn't start watching until just after the Abbey but I did catch the whole scene at Buckingham Palace and the big kiss that everyone was waiting for.

Of course, we all know by now, Kate's gown was by Sarah Burton at McQueen.  She looked absolutely beautiful (and amazingly at ease).
Kate triumphs in 'fairytale' wedding dress
As did the rest of the wedding party and family.

But what caught my eye were all those crazy hats!  The best has to be these two:

Royal Wedding Crazy Hats
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie
At first I misread the caption on this photo and thought this was the Deputy Prime Minister of Britain.  She's actually his wife.  Somehow it makes this ensemble a little less outrageous to me.

Royal Wedding Crazy Hats
Remember when Victoria Beckham wore a UFO style hat to another famous Kate's wedding (Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise) and got loads of backlash for it?  I think she was just ahead of her time...

Royal Wedding Crazy Hats
Sophie Winkleman

Royal Wedding Crazy Hats
Zara Phillips

 I'm not sure who designed the other hats but this blue piece is a Phillip Treacy creation.  I know we're all supposed to bow down to Phillip Treacy and his artistry but I really do think I'd go cross-eyed if I was wearing this. 
Royal Wedding Crazy Hats

 If you had attended the Royal Wedding what would you have worn?

Big and bold?

Princess Beatrice at a previous engagement
or sweet and demure?


Sweet and demure (and doesn't block everyone's view from behind you) :

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inspiration Shot: Living on the Edge

Usually I don't show pictures of myself for the inspiration shot, I just show you pictures of beautiful places I've been or interesting things I've seen.  But lately I've gotten into a bit of a routine.  I feel like I don't have much adventure in my life these days.  When I get like this I usually like to flip through my travel photos to remind myself of some of the incredible experiences I've been so lucky to have and need to have more of.  This reminds me that I do live life on the edge...sometimes~

I hung out with a wild lion in Zimbabwe

I've stood far too close to a wild rhino!

I've sat on the knee of an elephant (who wasn't part of a circus)

I swam with sharks!!!  (OK, I have to admit, they were behind a glass wall and I was diving in a lagoon but I was still pretty freaked out)

And I've sat on what literally felt like the edge of the world (twice)

So, now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do right here at home to add some adventure to the everyday.  What do you do to live your life to the fullest?  How do you break your routines?  Leave a comment and give me some ideas~

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Show and Tell: Pattern Review- V8436

As I mentioned on Monday, I took last weekend to make something that I've sort of been putting off.  I don't know why because I actually love making coats and jackets.  It's the one garment that I actually take my time with and really try to do things properly on.

This is the pattern I used:

Unfortunately, this pattern is no longer in print, but if you have it in your stock and haven't tried it yet I definitely recommend that you give it a go. 

I love this pattern for three reasons:
-it fits me like a glove
-it's fairly easy and comes together quickly
-I can't resist a good bishops sleeve

bishop sleeve

I think a bishops sleeve is the prettiest, most elegant, most feminine sleeve you can use.

I went with view B because I liked the collar too.  It's warming up here, but my walk to work in the mornings is still pretty chilly so I didn't think an open neck would be very comfortable.

Vogue patterns can be a little intimidating for some home sewers but this one really is very easy.  The collar goes on with no tricks or special cutting, the lining closes everything in quickly (even the bottom hem), and unless you want to add embellishments, there are no tricky zippers or button holes to worry about.

with unfinished sleeves

You know it's  time to stop sewing and go to bed when you
snip your finger instead of the thread!

Even after everything I just said about Bishops sleeves I was actually very tempted to leave the cuff off of the sleeves and just do a bell type sleeve.  After alot of back and forth though I decided to save that for another time.

I used a beautiful mustard yellow wool for the outer jacket and a pretty tone on tone deep purple pinstripe lining for inside.  I love to do contrasting linings.  I think it adds something special, even if I'm the only that see's it.


I think it looks great dressed up or down.  I can't really do my hippy dippy chick thing at work so I tend to go for a more classic style, especially when I have meetings out of the office.

I had made this jacket a couple of seasons ago in a very supple tweedy fabric.

I even made the skirt to match.  I don't think I've ever worn the two together but now that I see it as a suit it really doesn't look all that bad.

The linings:

You can do so many things to this to make this jacket your own.  You could add a button or large brooch to close it, add a military flare with buttons down the front edge, use a super wide matching ribbon for the belt, the sky's the limit.  I think I'll make this one more time with some heavy weight Jersey for a more relaxed look and maybe convert the bishops to bells.  We'll see.

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  (Do you think Angelina Jolie would've worn this in The Tourist ???)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hidden Treasures: My Favourite Shops

If you're not part of the Etsy community (yet), you're missing out on an incredible place that is totally committed to the art of the handmade.  It's a wonderful place to find everything you need, or just want, while supporting fellow crafters and artists.  It's also just a treasure trove of  great ideas and inspiration.

I'm posting a treasury of various Etsy sellers each week.  Click on the thumbnail to visit the shops and see what else you can find.  And while you're hanging out at Etsy you can feel free to visit me at the Etcetorize etsy shop~

'Fav Shops' by Etcetorize

Items from some of my favourite Etsy shops~

chefs choice surprise h...

Crocheted lace cotton b...

Aqua Naturally dyed han...

Butterfly Push Pins - ...

Metaphor - 7 3/4

Shrug au natural cowl b...

Adriana - Vintage-Inspi...

Cami Dress. Knee Lengt...

SALE Vintage Japanese F...

Golden wings 8x12 Fine ...

Accent Color Vintage La...

Spring Old World Charm ...

Transcendental Meditati...

La Gitana Bohemian gyps...

Belle epoque earrings i...

Best Quality Hand- wove...



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