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.

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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!


Patricia said...

Wonderful lesson and inspiration. I hope this gets to you, as I tried before and my email would not go.

Jamie said...

Gorgeous! I actually have a pattern for a top like this, but I haven't found any fabric I really like...

~JamieS@ Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

WobiSobi said...

How did I miss This!!!! OMG This is beautiful. And it looks so awesome on you.. I love the sleeves. I might have to copy this.. too cool for words!!!

WobiSobi said...

Oh yeah, and You look beautiful!!! LOVE !!!!

Unknown said...

That's an easy idea... I wouldn't have ever thought of that... but I love it!!!
I'm following you from the Sugar Bee Craft linking party. Please follow me at:

~Beth D. said...

Thanks for the inspiration. I love the scarves. Would NOT have guessed where you got them. I keep meaning to try this!

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

this is so pretty! i love the fabric! so fun :)

Hope you'll be linking up again this week you fashionable lady you!!

the cape on the corner said...

that is amazing! it looks fantastic, and what a great tutorial, too.

Pam Emerson said...

Pretty! And you made it look pretty easy. I might just have to try this ;)

Kara said...

That looks great...what a creative way to use scarves too! Great job!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

I think this is gorgeous!! I saw someone wearing something similar recently and loved it!

In the Hammock Vintage

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

Great makeover...I remember making these in the 70's and I agree that they can be in style all the time!

Alison Agnew said...

this turned out great! doesn't look at all like you crafted it from scarves...thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!

stuff and nonsense

Unknown said...

Wow! You might have actually inspired this non-sewer to get out the old needle and thread. Thanks for linking to ShabbyNest.

Libby said...

I like it A LOT! Actually, I would totally do it, but I can't sew a stitch...don't even mess with buttons :) Love the style though!

Anonymous said...

Wow! great tutorial, thank you. Great job. Angela

nicolette {momnivores dilemma} said...

I so need a dress form. Ideas, Ms. Tamara, on where to order one on the cheap?

Love that you channeled Mrs. Roeper!

Thanks for linking to Creative Juice. Hope to see you back again this week...

Etcetorize said...

Hi Nicolette,

Ah yes, Mrs. Roeper, so misunderstood. I got my dress form from Fabricland for a little under $200 I think. I had some coupons and got a deal. I've always wanted to try making one, there are some great tutorials on the web. I'll see if I can find you a few links in case you're interested.

Hope you're having a great week, I just linked up to your new party~


ElisabethAndrée said...

Thank you for this great tutorial! Your caftan top looks really good, love the fabric design too.

Crazycatwoman said...

Tamara, I am so glad I saw your tutorial (through I love caftans (actually made a full length one from a thrifted shower curtain!), but never thought about a blouse-length one. And I have some material that I've been trying (forever)to find a wearable use for. It's a satiny texture, and I didn't want to do a lot of stitching for fear I'd have a problem on my machine. It will be ideal for this, and I thank you endlessly!

Bina said...

I love this! I have a ton of Indian sari fabric this would be great for but first I have some Jersey fabric I'm going to try it out on since that doesn't need hemming, thanks for the great tutorial!

LonelyWanderer said...

it's really cute. I love the way you make it looks easy. I'm just starting to sew, so this kind of project is perfect. Thanks.

LoveFabric said...

Thank you for the lesson. I have just the fabric to try it with. And thought, too, that it might even be possible, for a varied look, to do a triangular fold to the scarves (points center front and back) -- could be interesting, but I'll have to think some more on it. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I just got back from shoping for tops and the store full of these from 15$ and making them would be a great savings

komal kp said...

Its a wonderful lesson and am gonna soon stitch one taking guidance from this..greetings from India,Komal

LAB said...

I just found this! AWESOME!!!! I love it, and have made two already. I had a party to go to, used two Versace vintage scarves I have that I have never used, or turned out great! Oh, think of the possiblities! Thank You!

Unknown said...

Hi... just find out your blog, and love it already. Its very simple caftan and seem look good on anyone. Can't wait to make it with my own fabric.

Argan Oil Bulk said...

amazing tips and thank you for share with us like this idea

Koffeesam said...

I found two pieces of awesome fabric to square-up and make caftan tops out of. Now all I need is ambition and cooperation from my 3 dogs. They seem to think they should be included in sewing projects, which is not productive. Thank you for this pattern. What's next?

Tammi Jo said...

Love it! I want to learn to sew and this was just the inspiration I needed!
Thank you!!!!

Jessica said...

Super simple. I think I can even do this with my brain still messed up from having surgery on it! So glad because I need a new cute too for date night with the hubby!


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