First, let me state that I worked on this dress while watching The September Issue on Netflix. What is The September Issue? It’s a documentary about creating Vogue’s September Issue for 2009. Basically, it’s the real story of The Devil Wears Prada. Yes, Meryl Streep’s character is a real person (the slightly kinder, but equally scary Anna Wintour). Let’s just say that fashion is soooooo not my life. I live in comfortable clothes, and I am happy that way. I found it very funny that here I was watching something about high fashion, while I am trying to create something that was probably considered “high fashion” during ancient Mesopotamia. Yes, I looked that fun fact up here.
So, my inspiration for this caftan was from Simple Simon & Co.’s 3 Seam Caftan. I initially had found another tutorial for this maxi dress, but I liked how simple the 3 Seam one was to understand. After all, isn’t that what I am trying to accomplish with my blog?
I started by laying out the fabric on my craft room floor. Although Simple Simon said to measure from elbow to elbow (mine is 33″) and that is the width of the fabric, that just seemed a bit too wide for me. I thought the dress would be nothing but fabric if I did that. So, I just went with the width of the fabric, but just in half. Get what I did? I set out the whole piece of fabric and folded it in half (hot dog way).
Then, I put lots of safety pins on it. I mean, they went all the way around that fabric. I have learned from working with jersey that it moves on you. Fast. I wanted to stop it from moving right away. I like working with safety pins, because I am sooooo clumsy, and I don’t like getting pricked with pins or needles.
Next, I decided how long I wanted my dress to be. I could have kept the whole 2 yards of material, but it would have been on the floor. Again, I’m clumsy, and as beautiful as those ground-draping dresses can be, it is definitely not practical. So, knee-length it was. While the dress was still on the floor, I cut the bottom part of it off. By keeping it on the floor, I was able to maintain good, even cuts.
(I kept the part that I cut off, still safety-pinned together. You never know when I might want to make another jersey knit skirt, after all!)
Now, came time to sew. This was, I thought, the easiest part! All I needed to do was to take my rectangle (because that is all the shape that it was), and sew the top and the 2 sides. Well, for some reason my machine didn’t like sewing on this particular jersey. I guess it was just a bit too stretchy. This is what happened:
So, I pulled out the sewing machine manual to the list of the stitches and when to use them, and I decided to try a stretch stitch.
So, I changed the foot and settings, and I was ready to go. My stretch stitch worked like a champ.It wasn’t the most beautiful of stitches, but it worked.
I sewed up both sides of the fabric, leaving about a 7 inch gap at the top, so I would have a place for my arms to come out of the dress.
Next, I sewed the top of the dress, and I did not leave room for the head. I would come back and finish that later. Because of the fabric, it was puckering really horribly at the top, but I just let it go. It wouldn’t matter once the dress was turned around. No wonder the fabric was just $3 a yard!
Now on to the arm holes. I just cut a very thin slit out of the fabric, about 8 inches long. Once you try the dress on, you can alter these a bit, or you can leave them long. You will see how I altered them in just a bit.
Then, for the head hole I folded the top section in half (I didn’t want a lopsided neck opening), and again I cut a very slim section (we are talking just about a centimeter deep) of about 5 inches long (total it will be 10 inches). You can always take off more, but you can’t add anything back.
Now, since I could put my arms and head through the dress, I tried it on with the belt. Ick. I didn’t like it. That’s okay, as we can always make changes!
I took my handy dandy safety pins and made a pin where I wanted the bottom of the neck to be. Then, I put additional pins on about my collar bones so that I could know where else to cut.
Once I put the dress back on, I wasn’t quite happy with how the arms fit on me. It just felt a bit frumpy with my body shape. So, I took strips of my fabric that I had trimmed off earlier, and I tied up the sleeves so that it would be a bit more sleeve-less. I definitely felt like this was a bit more me.
I still think that I will make the neck a little lower, but it works for now. It was rather easy, and I love my bright pink clothes! This will be great to take to the beach or wear on one of those hot Richmond summer days!
Lucy wanted to be a part of the picture too: