{DIY} Easy Four Seam Summer Caftan | Thriftanista in the City


{DIY} Easy Four Seam Summer Caftan

Caftans are the perfect cover up at the beach. They're also super cozy as loungewear or a casual maxi dress. I thank Ms. Roper on Three's Company for the trend. It seems to have made a resurgence lately. I'm seeing them everywhere or maybe I'm just looking for them everywhere.

easy summer caftan

This style is a bit more casual than the ankara caftan I made and easier to sew up. I used kanga african print fabric this time. Kangas are a multipurpose african garment that usually have a swahili phrase printed on it. Mine says "Parents are a treasure". Yes they are.

I've included a tutorial in case you want to join me in the caftan gang this summer.

african print caftan dress

Easy Summer Caftan

This is a one size fits most project. There's math involved. Otherwise, it's a pretty easy project for beginners or if you're looking to get your sewing groove back.

Supplies needed:

woven fabric
matching thread
bias tape
sewing machine


Cut a piece of fabric for the front and the back. You'll want them to be the length you want the caftan plus 1" for the bottom hem and .5" for the shoulder seams. I'm 5'4" and I wanted mine to be 53" long. Math Example: 53 + 1.5 = 54.5

Fold each piece in half, lining up selvedge to selvedge and cut the neckline on the fold.

dress made from african kanga print

Start at the top of the fabric about 5" from the fold and move towards the center fold. My neckline is extra wide by mistake because I started 6. 5" away from the fold.

Use the cut off piece as a template to cut a neckline for the back piece.

Make a mark on each side of front and back for the armholes 9" below the top raw edge.

Staystitch the neckline to avoid stretching when applying bias tape.

caftan with bias take neckline

Attach the front and back pieces by sewing a .5" seam along the top raw edge. Right sides together.

Sew the bias tape to the neckline. I'd google this technique if you've never worked with bias tape. It's not hard but it requires going a bit slow before you whizz along through the next steps.

Sew a 1" hem at the bottom.

four seam caftan

Whew, now that you've got that out of the way, here comes the math.

Measure your hips or largest part of your body. Divide by 2. Add 4" for ease.
Math Example: 39 / 2 + 4 = 23.5

Measure the width of your fabric from selvedge to selvedge. Most fabrics are either 44" or 54" wide. Measure for accuracy. Mine was actually 42" wide.

Take the hips (plus ease) measurement away from the width of your fabric. Divide by 2.
Math Example: 42 - 23. 5 / 2 = 9.25

Turn the fabric right side out.

Sew a side seam x (9.25 for me) inches away from the selvedge on each side. Stop when you reach the armhole marking.

All done!

diy caftan

By the time you read this, I'll be on my birthday (yep, that's today) thriftacular (nope, that's not a word) adventure with my homie. You can follow our shenanigans at #ThriftacularAdventure.

Do you have a caftan in your closet?


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