Fabric choice is amazingly fun. I absolutely love my fabric, even though I’ve been told by several people it makes their eyes hurt. It’s simple printed cotton. Likewise, the lining is also printed cotton. It was a simple, somewhat understated pattern that gives the period effect, but of course when you get up close you realize it’s not period at all, but I love the owls! I also added an accent lining which is linen. I found this in the clearance section. It was originally an electrically hot pink. I over-dyed it with purple Jacquard dye, and it is now a fantastic magenta color. It provides a nice contrast and will pop nicely when the caftan is tucked up.
I discovered a couple different points when making this garment. First, patterns are a pain. Trying to match them is enough to drive one insane. Normally, I’m a huge proponent of don’t bother matching patterns since they didn’t, at least in the 14th – 15th century. For that matter, they didn’t worry about directionality either. However, in looking at some extant Ottoman pieces, they did seem to care about pattern if it was highly structured, such as the one I choose for coat. So, yea for matching patterns!
Even without matching patterns, using a 44” wide fabric as opposed to my customary 55”-60” resulted in the need for a ton more fabric. I thought I properly accounted for this when I bought it and my lining. I was wrong. Then when I went to get more from my local store, I discovered that not only were they out of the lining, which I had already cut up, but there was none in the backroom, none in the warehouse, and it was not orderable. Now I was ready to panic.
Luckily, a store a half hour away had more in stock. I went and purchased it right away, which was good, since they didn’t have the quantity the first store told me they had and what they did have was cut into two pieces, the longest of which was just one of which was just slightly less (8 inches) than what I wanted to ensure I could finish the lining. It worked out fine with just a little left over, but after having a problem getting more once, it was a bit close for me.
I did add a gore in the back to allow the caftan to flow freely and not pull funny across my backside, as suggested. Overall, this is a very full garment. I was somewhat surprised by this fact. Because this is full, before adding the accent trim it is essential for sanity to ensure the lining and the outer portion are the same size. If they aren’t, figure out what you need to do to adjust. Doing this after you add the accent trim to the lining could result in the accent portions being uneven or the garment pulling or ballooning in ways you won’t be happy with.
After attaching the trim either have a friend help or use a mannequin and pin the bottom with it hanging, rather than just matching up the bottom. Let it hang for few minutes, an hour, or overnight then revist. Again, avoid having sections where it balloons or otherwise doesn’t lay perfectly straight because once you attach the pieces, it will only get worse. I found it helpful after it was pinned to flip it so the lining was out and check to see if the lining was ballooning or otherwise not laying straight.
I also learned on the buttons and loops from the Chirka. Here you can see I moved the loops in a bit to allow for the pull.
This was purposely made large for her and at ground for her current height so she could grow into it. It is also not as full. The surviving children’s caftans also show a scale down on the fullness. This is roughly period, but built for a child including some of her playfulness. After all, I do belong to the society for CREATIVE anachronism. This is part of the fun.