I chose to model my Chirka after the illumination below. I liked the idea of it being nearly sleeveless in order to remain cooler and to be less bulky under the Caftan. I used some leftover light weight wool and left it unlined. As the closures at this time were buttons with loops (no buttonholes), I found some great buttons at JoAnn’s for 50% off. While they are not 100% period because they are octagonal and flat, at the sale price of $1.00 a pack for 4 buttons, they were good enough for me. The shape would also help reduce bulk under the Caftan which will also button at the same spot, and since I’m using this as a support garment, the idea of leaving it open or without closure as some would suggest, was not an option.
Admittingly, the closures pulling out under the stress since the buttons being placed right along the edge, along with the loops, as indicated in the documentation I found, was of some concern. This was especially true with the light weight wool I was using.
To provide strength and drastically reduce the chances that a button or loop would pull through and tear my fabric (which only occurs at the most in opportune moment, I assure you) I bought a small amount of soft leather from JoAnn’s, cut it into ½ inch strips and used it to back the buttons and the loops. I found it best to mark the center, determine the placement/spacing of the buttons, and then using a small Exacto knife cut into the leather on either side of the mark to make a hole that I could sew through, making the loop or attaching the button. The leather was then placed roughly a ¼ inch from the edge and the loop or button attached directly through the leather and fabric. When I finished the garment, I folded the edge over the leather and then folded the leather in half, carefully hand stitching the edge closed.
Overall this worked fantastic, and I have little fear of a wardrobe malfunction. The only issue is I didn’t fully think the loop portion through. When buttoned, the garment has roughly a 1/4 space down the center. It is fully supportive, it just doesn’t meet, which it should.
So, I went back and added a 1/2 inch strip of the wool to act as a “modesty panel” for the gap. I would recommend a little smarter loop placement, but this is a perfectly acceptable method. There is even an extant caftan that has the loops sewn into a seam, thus creating a similar effect of a modesty panel after the loops.