Hello all! 

For this months Minerva Crafts project I wanted to make something to combat this crazy heat that we've been having. The Charlie Caftan is as light and breezy as you can possibly get before stripping down to a bikini so this was what I decided to make! 

I knew that the fabric I chose was going to make or break this dress. I didn't want a see-through beach cover up. I wanted a dress to throw on in the heat and go out to dinner in. So the fabric had to be dense enough to not be see through but it still needed to be as lightweight as possible to work well in the hot weather. Eventually I settled on this cream Silk Noile Fabric. It's unlike any silk I've worked with before. If I hadn't known any better I would have called it linen, because it has quite a rough texture to it as it's made from the short waste fibres of silk. The fabric is just the weight that I wanted. Substantial enough to be a dress, but light enough to not be very warm to wear. 

As the fabric has texture to it, it's quite easy to work with despite the fact that it is silk. In terms of sewing up the caftan I didn't make any changes to the pattern itself, but I wish that I had deviated from the instructions slightly. The neckline facing caused me a few issues because it was just too bulky. The fact that I French seamed the shoulder seams contributed to this, and really this fabric is too heavy for French seams (I should have finished each side of the seam allowance separately.) I regretted top-stitching the facing down because it distorted the fabric a bit and now it doesn't lay quite as flat as I would like it to. Next time I would finish the neckline with bias binding and hand stitch it into place. The insertion of the centre panel took 2 tries to get decent, and it's not perfect. I could have done with stabilising the corners of the front piece with interfacing to prevent it from stretching out. 

The pockets are a perfect size for chucking everything in without needing a handbag. I just need to find a way to finish all the edges off nicely without using an overlocker. 

After not being a fan of how the topstitching was going I decided to spend a pleasant hour in bed slipstitching the hem and armholes and they look beautiful. 

All in all, it's exactly what I wanted to it to be. A light dress to throw on for any occasion in hot weather. My only reservation currently is the cream colour. I don't know if with the rough texture it gives off a bit of a Jesus Christ Superstar vibe, and there's also the issue of the inevitable staining. I'm debating dyeing it. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and to Minerva Crafts for providing the supplies for this project!

Lauren xx