Caftans are free-flowing long tunics that originated centuries ago. They have re-emerged throughout fashion history many times, most notably in the late 60’s-early 70’s (think Mrs. Roper and Maude). I, myself, LOVE a modern day caftan for lounging, relaxing, or accessorizing and wearing out.

Project Steps

To make a caftan you’ll need about 3 yards of fabric. Lay your fabric out flat and iron it. Fold your fabric in half, with the good sides facing OUT. Fold the fabric in half again, doubling the folds. You should now have 4 layers with two folds together.

Using chalk, measure 4 inches out from the double-fold line, along the single-fold line, and make a mark. Measure down 2 inches and make another mark. Cut from mark to mark through all 4 pieces of fabric. You are cutting a triangular shaped piece. This will form the v-neck when the fabric is opened up.

Open the fabric along the second fold; you should have a v-neck cut in front and back. With a measuring tape locate the exact center of the neckline that you just cut and mark it with your chalk. Measure 3 inches down and make another mark. Connect the two with a straight edge and trace it. Cut along your line.

Cut a 1/2 inch slit at the shoulder line and fold in one side of the triangle and iron it down flat. Repeat for the second half of the v-neck.

Flip your fabric over, and make ½ inch slits ever 3 inches along the back of the neckline. Fold the slit fabric in and iron it down. Add pins to keep it all in place.

Now we are going to use double face sewing tape to finish our neckline, hems and connect our sides. Using utility scissors (NOT your fabric scissors) cut pieces of your sewing tape. Remove the pins from the folded v-neck, and add a cut piece of your tape to the inside of the folded flap. Press down, then remove the top strip of plastic to reveal the second side of adhesion. See how shiny and sticky that is! Fold the flap down and add pressure to help the tape adhere. Continue this all the way around your neckline.

Straighten and flatten your fabric out making sure it is folded exactly in half with selvedge edges aligned perfectly. Measure down 13 inches and mark with chalk. Measure up from the hem 14 inches and mark.

Starting at the first chalk mark, cut and place a piece of sewing tape right up against the selvedge edge of the bottom piece of fabric. Align the selvedge edge of the top piece of fabric with the bottom and add pressure. Continue until you reach your second chalk mark.

When you get to your hem, first fold your fabric IN towards itself to create a 1 inch hem, and iron along your fold line. Ironing shows you exactly where to put your tape to finish this hem. Cut and add pieces along the bottom of both the front and back of the caftan.

Play with fabrics to create different looks.


CARE: Most caftans (due to the fabric) are hand wash or spot clean. The trade off with the no-sew caftan is that the tape means a bit more time is necessary for care. I recommend spot cleaning with the no-sew option. Replace the tape with a straight stitch if you want to throw your caftan in the washing machine.