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Tropical Leaf Print Charlie Caftan by Emma

It will come as no surprise to anyone that reads my blog that I have immediately jumped on the new Closet Case Patterns release, the glorious Charlie Caftan Sewing Pattern. And what better fabric could there have been than this fantastically tropical leaf print Viscose Fabric kindly provided by Minerva Crafts!
The fabric comes in four different colour ways, including a rather striking lime green. This particular fabric is the ‘green’ version. For £2.99 a meter this fabric really is the business. The print is vibrant and the fabric so soft to handle and drapes beautifully as viscose does. Very impressive indeed. To top it off it is a massive 56” wide meaning a metre goes a long way!
I had put off making this dress for a couple of reasons – firstly I’d scared myself off with reading too many reviews about how tricky the centre panel was, and secondly, I wasn’t convinced the shape of the dress would be particularly flattering. But oh! The panel was fine and the dress so comfortable I want to wear it every day…Let’s look at that pesky panel. Firstly, View A required pleating – and I’m going to level with you here, I just bodged it a bit. There are pleats in this dress but not where the pattern indicated by any means. I just pleated where I could to form the little rectangle in the centre. Once the rectangle is in place, give it a stitch all the way around the perimeter to hold it in place and create an outline. I found this made it far easier to place the panel and see where all 4 corners were.
As you can see in the picture above the first side of the panel is attached right sides facing, along one edge. Its then flipped inside where the remaining three edges are sewn in.
See it doesn’t look so pretty now does it… Once you’re all sewn in, you have to give it all a press inward so all the raw edges face the centre.
Now this is where I started to relax a bit as it now looked something resembling a centre panel. The hard part was over! This is how it looks close up from the right side:
Now to hide those innards. This was a really satisfying steps as this piece is just handstitched on! Full control of where it lays. Simply fold the edges in and hand sew in place! After a final press, it all looks so neat and tidy. 
The centre panel was the single most time-consuming part of this entire project. Being a caftan there’s very little else to it after that is finished. The neckline is faced and the hems just folded over.
Just for a bit of fun and as it met with a project seal of approval – I added a little label ????
In true Closet Case Patterns style, this little number is cut very well – the neckline lies flat with just the right amount of skin on show, the dress skims the body being loose and comfortable without looking like a sack and the kimono sleeves drape beautifully – especially with this fabulous fabric! And let’s not forget...pockets!!!! Big, massive, deep pockets. You know you love a dress with a pocket.All in all, it took about a day to complete, including cutting the pdf, with a few tea breaks thrown in along the way and time to take a photo at the end. So, to wrap up, another winner from Closet Case Patterns and a massive winner from Minerva Crafts for this fabric! I would definitely buy more of this as the quality is phenomenal. Time to grab the sunnies and cocktail and head out in a Caftan! Oh wait… is that a rain cloud I see??
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

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