Walmart Caftan #2

Normally, the basement is comfortable needing only a space heater in the winter and a fan during the summer.  But a few weeks ago when I was thoroughly cleaning the Stash Room, I wanted full-blown arctic air conditioning. I did not give in to the urge.  Instead, dripping sweat, I went upstairs and showered; looked around for something cool and unrestricting to wear.  Surprisingly, my first Walmart Caftan didn’t do the job.  Oh it was freedom; and I felt so much better after a shower. But this was one of the very rare times when polyester was too hot for me to wear.  Also dealing with the mental drudgery of cleaning, I decided a side project of a rayon caftan would be a good idea.

I had created my pattern with the first caftan (link above) by measuring the purchased garment and plotting points on tissue. I chose an interesting woven, rayon fabric.  It has blue, purple and white threads. From a distance I see periwinkle.  Up close, distinctive coloration and a plaid effect.


I really wanted to concentrate on  finishing the Stash Room, plus this big expanse of fabric needs to be broken up or I look like a theater curtain coming at you!  I used this Iman

blouse for inspiration. (Hurry if you like it.  HSN has it on sale.)  I didn’t copy it stitch by stitch but rather the color combination of blue with large white embellishments and white trims/touches.  For me, the embellishments had to be machine embroidered. I mean it was the only way I would feel like I was sewing when I was really deep into cleaning.  I chose a neckline embroidery from a now defunct vendor (so not available).


Because this a caftan is a really big piece of fabric, I repeated the center motif twice directly below the first


My Viking Ruby happily stitched away for 2 days.  I needed 2 hooping for the 30,843 stitches.  It might have been possible to stitch this out in less time but not fewer hoopings (with my machine). I generally set the speed to medium or slow.  Just don’t like the way the highest speed can sling things about; and I stopped one days embroidery when one hoop was finished.  Began the next day’s embroidery with the next hooping.  It’s only a 2 color design.  I don’t think an embroidery needs 10 color changes to be effective and attractive. But I do like BIG.

I finished the caftan just a few days ago and took pictures with the ever accommodating Mimie modeling:


I finished the V-neckline with white, french binding which I turned to the inside and top stitched with white thread. This is a very loosely woven rayon. V-e-r-y.  I had cut the fabric and then serge finished the front’s edges — because I knew the front would experience some handling during hooping and embroidery.  Two things surprised me .

(1) My serger did not like this fabric.  It skipped stitches. My HV S21 never skips stitches. It might curl the edges but not refuse to form stitches. I even changed the needles.

(2)  The serging fell out of the fabric! After serge finishing, I embroidered. Then carefully folded the fabric and placed on a hanger until I could get back to sewing the garment.  When I started pinning the front and back together, I noticed that the serge finishing had absolutely fallen out of the fabric in places. Some long places. Well, the longest was a 6″ chain.  No I didn’t just miss that edge somehow because when falling out, the serging took some warp with it.

This directly affected  my finishing choice for the long side edges and bottom hems.  I serge finished the back as well. Serged the shoulders; pressed them to one side and top stitched. I turned the side-and-bottom-hem, serged edges up once stitched. Turned up a 2nd time and stitched. To me that’s a twice-turned, narrow hem.

Currently, this baby is in the wash–  I need to melt away the rest of the water-soluble stabilizer– and although I didn’t have it when needed last (cleaning the Stash Room), I now have a nice, loose, cooling caftan for the next time.