My Walmart Collection: CAFTAN

On the way to the hot tub.

I know lots of people have negative feelings towards Walmart.  I know a few who refuse to step foot in the store or even stop in the parking lot.  They have their own good reasons but for lots of America, Walmart has provided a less expensive purchase venue or in my case a venue to purchase a cheap, perhaps-disposable item for short-term use. I was working for the Govt after Katrina and sent to Louisiana for computer support. At night I stayed in a fairly nice hotel.  I had two complaints

  1. Other guests did not understand that ‘commercial grade’ laundry equipment was not the same as ‘handles 5 loads at once’.  They were always marking the hotel laundry machines as broke when the truth was they needed fewer clothes in any given load.
  2. My room was freezing cold.  I’m sure the staff had at one time been berated because a guest insisted he didn’t leave the heat up and was forced to endure a stifling hot room until it cooled because of staff incompetency.  Myself, I like the warmth.  I set the temperature at 65.  The staff turned it down to 50. They absolutely were not going to be beat up over a hot room. Consequently,  I froze.  It took a while to warm up the room that was hovering near meat-preservation levels.

I did ask the management to let Housekeeping know that I was a bit cold-blooded and would appreciate it if they wouldn’t turn the A/C so low.  That worked for a day or too and then I was back to freezing and hunting for extra quilts to cuddle in during the month of August.

The best solution presented it during one of my quick trips to Wally World picking up a few incidentals i.e. toothpaste stuff like that.  I rounded the corner and saw this caftan.


I knew immediately I wanted it. At a price of $9.99 I couldn’t afford to leave it there. It was a 100% polyester satin. Soft and smooth on the face. Not quite so smooth on the interior. But I didn’t care. I was so happy to be able to get off work; go to the hotel; take a shower and slip this on.  It worked well during my stay and was in good condition so I took it home instead of throwing it away.

Over the years, I’ve found this Caftan to be superior for travel. It packs down into a little space. Serves as a bathrobe, extra layer in the hotel and a decent cover up between spa and room.  (What fat, elderly lady wants to wander through the lobby in a near naked condition?)  I’ve had it for what, about 10 years? But it hasn’t looked really good the last 3-4.  It was a cheap fabric and snaged easily. But it is the most useful and comfortable caftan I’ve ever owned. Partly that’s the travel friendly status, but also the proportions are just right for me. It’s not so long that I trip walking up or down stairs; but covers me completely.  Not so wide that I find it in the chips and dip, but again if I’m cold I can pull my arms inside and be completely warmed. The neckline is not too low but both wide and deep enough to easily slip on and off. I examined the construction carefully and made my own.

My fabric is again a polyester satin but it has been permanently crinkled.  The crinkles are almost a half-inch deep. I considered several fabrics and decided upon poly again because of the fade factor. Hot tubs are always chlorine baths. I lose more swimsuits to fading and rot than actual wear.  Since the first poly caftan survived so well, I decided to repeat the fabric.  I had 3 yards to start with and about 4″ left over.  Two pieces  41″ wide and 50″ long are cut. The shoulder is sloped 1.5″ from the neck.    Armscyes 9″ deep neckline about 7″.  Necklines can be changed to suit yourself.  The original was a self fabric strip along the V-neck with a big back neckline facing.  I’ve used a cotton/poly knit band 2-3/4 wide which finishes at 1″ (I used 3/8″ SA).  The two pieces are serged along the long shoulder seam then the neckline is finished.  The long outer edge is finished next.  I used a 3-thread rolled hem with plain old serger thread.

Fold the garment wrong sides together at the shoulder and pin carefully so that the hems are even. Then measure 9″ down from the shoulder and 4″ in from the rolled hem. Start at the armscye  and straight-stitch  to about 4″ before the hem which would be over your feet.  This forms the Flange shown above, the armscye and the hem vents.  The original was back stitched at the beginning and end of that seam. Me, I prefer to play with my decorative stitches and used the triangle from Menu 9:

I mirrored the triangle at the bottom so that they seemed to point at each other kind of like this


Well I like it.

I created a paper pattern because I know I’ll want to make others in the future. Total time is about 3 hours and I have a pattern for future use!

I love this garment so much, I have to add one more jpg



7 thoughts on “My Walmart Collection: CAFTAN

  1. Hi.
    I have been reading your blog for some time now. As a pear shaped 60 year old I have benefitted greatly from your entries especially on fitting. Thank you!!
    I am considering purchasing an embroidery machine and was wondering if you had any favorites or things to look out for. I have tried to read up as much as I can on the various boards but would really appreciate any wisdom you would like to add. In addition to your comments on the boards. It’s a huge investment for me likely a one time only purchase but I think the embroidery on a garment can add something to it and avoid the eye going to the hips etc.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. I’ve owned Bernina, Janome, Viking and Brother embroidery machines. They are all pretty good and a lot alike. I’ve not owned a multi-needle machine and don’t think I need one. For many years the 4″ hoop was more than enough for me. Eventually I discovered I was splitting a lot of designs that could have been hooped once if I had the 5×7 hoop. Even though my Viking has a 8×14 and Brother Dream a 9.5×14 hoop 1 still use the 4″ and 5×7 hoops the most. Because that’s the kind of embroidery I like the most. What embroidery do you like? I prefer to edit on my big monitor and transfer the design by thumb drive to the SM. Will you edit significantly? What size screen will be acceptable for your use? Since I do my editing at my PC, the amber screen of the Brother PE70 did not bother me in the least. Will you need a color screen? I’m not impressed with WIFI or storing my designs in the cloud. I think those features are overpriced when added to our machines. But if all you’ve got is an android tablet, having those features would be valuable. If your editing is minor you might not need software.Most machings can rotate, mirror and position designs. Additionally parts of a design can be left unstitched by skipping forward or deleting a color. My interest was such that I learned to digitize. I started with PE Design but changed to Embird later. When shopping for my last two machines, I eliminated any that weren’t compatible with Embird. Although all software does the same things, the terms and organization are vastly different and annoying when I want to do something quick. Most of my editing are color changes, combining and rotating designs. I refused to buy and learn a new software for such simple functions.

      People usually ask me about buying computers. My answer is figure out how much you want to spend and buy the machine with the most features for that price. I can guarantee whatever machine is purchased, within 6 months something new and upgraded will be available. A good time to buy an embroidery machine is usually right around the time new models are announced. I also consider dealer and maintenance. These machines accumulate dust and thread bits. Takes a professional to open and clean them.

      Good luck. You almost cant make a bad decision

      I hope any of my thoughts help you. For most of us buying a embroidery machine is a significant investment and justifies careful consideration.


    2. Thank you so much!!!
      I have a Bernina and a Janome and did have a Pfaff so these are the brands i am most familiar with. Right now there are sales and chance to buy older BL model which has been well cared for. I am leaning towards an embroidery only machine as I am not going to trade in and why duplicate the sewing features… Not multi needle but if tjere is a compelling argiment i am open to a combo machine..I am thinking I need the greatest flexibility possible along with reputable dealer…I would rather wait and save more if a higher priced unit affords me the quality and flexibility. I will be working on garmentsand a little home Dec. My head is spinning and words of wisdom such as WiFi which I don’t have at home. I would download elsewhere instead. The price jump where I am is around 2000 vs 5000+ …so I don’t want to under buy and I am OK with growing into the features if there is a reason able chance I will use them. ..I.e.good bye Disney but not necessarily good bye to brother.

      Thank you for your input.

  2. Bev, i just adore the WM caftan. It is really a lovely garment and so versatile as you explained. I copied down your directions.


    1. Karendee

      The proportions are so good for me that I made a pattern for future use. Hope it’s as successful for you too.

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