Pattern adjustments for the Charlie Caftan // Closet Case Patterns
Closet Case Patterns, Fitting

Pattern Adjustments for the Charlie Caftan

Generally we would have written a post on pattern adjustments a little earlier, but since we bumped up the tutorial for sewing the center panel for our Charlie Caftan, you can now enjoy this post slightly out of sync.

Being a loosely fitting dress, Charlie is pretty easy to fit. The most likely adjustment you’ll have to make is a full bust adjustment. If you have a larger bust and don’t adjust the pattern, the center panel will sit higher on your chest than intended. You can either make a similar FBA to the one I explained for our Kalle shirtdress (it is exactly the same process), or you can cheat and move the panel down a little. One of my testers did that with good results, but I wouldn’t suggest this if you have a very large bust since you might get some gaping along the arm opening.

Since this isn’t a pattern that requires too much fitting, I thought it might be fun to talk about adjustments you can make for aesthetic rather than fitting reasons.

MOVING CENTER PANEL UP OR DOWN

Pattern adjustments for the Charlie Caftan // Closet Case Patterns

If you’d like to tweak the location of the center panel (either for the cheating FBA I mentioned above, or for more of an empire waisted look like this glorious Charlie), all you’ll need to do is trace the panel opening and its associated circle markings and then shift up or down as desired (the pink lines show the traced lines, the black lines are the original).

RAISING SLEEVE OPENING

Pattern adjustments for the Charlie Caftan // Closet Case Patterns

We’ve provided you with two arm openings on the pattern, but if you’d like to create an even smaller opening, simply trace the curve of the sleeve and shift up to your desired location.

ADD LONGER SLEEVES

Pattern adjustments for the Charlie Caftan // Closet Case Patterns

In some of the earlier iterations of this pattern, we experimented with adding longer sleeves. In the end we went with the shorter kimono style included in the pattern, but if you’d like to add fabric here for modestly or sun protection, it’s fairly simple. Extend the the shoulder seam the desired amount, and draw a parallel line at or just below the existing opening. Join those two lines at ninety degrees at your desired length, and use a gentle curve to connect your newly drafted sleeve to the bodice.

ELIMINATE CENTER PANEL

Pattern adjustments for the Charlie Caftan // Closet Case Patterns

If you want a super clean and minimal caftan, you might consider eliminating the center panel and gathers entirely. Simply extend the center front line at the bust down to the hem, cutting off the excess. Fill in the center panel with a bit of paper and you’re good to go!

I’ll be back next week with a post on sewing the V neckline, but in the meantime, are there any other pattern modifications you’d like to see?

  • randi

    How about a long version of View A? I like the maxi length, but the gathering on View C creates too much flare at the hips (not a place I need more width). Thanks!

    • Hi Randi. I think this would be fairly simple to do. You would just extend the CF line to the same length it is on the maxi, and then trace the rest of the longer skirt length using that as a guideline.

      • randi

        That was my first instinct, but was second reaction was “it can’t be that easy”! Still learning to trust my gut. I think with the straighter cut it might need front or side slits. You had some good examples in your inspiration gallery that I will refer to. Thanks!

  • kellicousins

    I didn’t even consider doing a full bust and was SO CONFUSED as to why the center panel wasn’t hitting me at the natural waist. Thank you for putting into words what I should have figured out on my own. =)

  • Susan

    I’m just getting back into sewing and Charlie is the first dress I’ve made in a LONG time. I love this pattern! I have a question about the fit. I made the size that most closely matched my measurements–just about spot on. I’m a bit smaller on top/bigger on the bottom but didn’t think I needed to make any adjustments because of the loose style. I was right about the hips, the bottom fits fine, but I’m swimming in the top. Oops. I should have adjusted for my narrow shoulders.
    I’m eager to start another one. What’s the best way to adjust? Go one size smaller and grade up for the hips? Any other tips?

    • I think that’s probably your best bet Susan! You could also try googling narrow shoulder adjustment for kimono sleeves. I don’t think it would be too complicated….

  • Christine How

    What fabric did you use for the main photo? The white with black dashes??

    • Sorry this took me a while to replay Christine! It’s an ikat I got at Stone Mountain & Daughter.