As soon as I returned from my trip to Denmark last month, I’d focused my sewing queue on my next trip to Hawaii next month. Going on trips and sewing for them is kind of the best cycle of activity, right? When I’m in Hawaii I like to dress in light loose layers with lots of coverage to protect from the sun. A caftan fulfills all of those requirements. For this caftan I modified my Lou Box Dress 1 pattern. This is actually a variation of the design that I initially considered including in the pattern but thought it would be a little challenging to sew in knit fabric.
For this caftan, I used a lovely duck egg blue linen from The Fabric Store. I was gifted this linen by the LA store which has sadly just closed this last weekend. I'm going to miss the store so much. They have an amazing selection of linen fabric which are fortunately still available online. Mostly I will miss visiting the store and the delightful employees. Every visit was such a delight. I still have lots of fabric from the shop so expect to lots of it over the coming months and years! This linen is a great weight for a dress and was just a dream to work with.
This caftan features a V-neckline (with facing), center front seam and center front slit. I didn’t take process photos (sorry! I got too excited and sewed this late at night when photos would have come out poorly). But these modifications are pretty simple and I'm sure you can take it on. I've added some links to helpful tutorials in the steps.
Here are the pattern modifications:
1. Lengthen the dress by 15”
If I were to do this again, I may go even longer. But keep in mind I’m 5’11”.
2. Redraw the Center Front neckline to be a V shape.
To estimate the depth of V, I wanted, I took a tape measure and held one end at my shoulder and measured down to where on my center front I wanted the V to stop. I used that measurement to draw the V.
Sometimes when I modify a neckline I will cut the neck high (like a crewneck) and then after sewing the shoulders together, I’ll it try on and use chalk to draw where I want the neckline to be. Then I'll fold the garment on the center fold and cut out the new neckline. The only drawback to that method is you'll have to make your front bodice and neck facing pattern pieces after you've already started sewing. And it may be a less accurate pattern piece if your fabric is shifty.
3. Add a seam allowance to the Center Front
For this hack, don’t cut the front on the fold. You’ll cut two front pieces. Angle the seam allowance so that when the seam is pressed open, it will be flush with the neckline. This article can help with adding a seam allowance.
4. Add a seam allowance to the center front of the Hem Facing
Because we are going to add a slit to the front, we’ll cut two front hem facing pieces (meaning, don’t cut the front hem facing on the fold).
5. Draft a facing for the V-neckline.
Draft a facing for both the front and back neckline. Here’s a tutorial on how to draft a facing. You can also use bias binding but I like the look of a facing for this dress.
6. Cut the Back on the fold.
How to Construct the Lou Box Dress 1 Caftan Hack
1. Sew the Center Front seam stopping about 12 inches from the hem. Press seam open and topstitch from neckline to hem, if desired. In retrospect, I'd like to the front slit to be a little shorter.
2. Stitch pockets and attach to front of dress following pattern instructions. For this dress I cut my pockets with the top edge along the selvage and then folded it to the right side for a decorative detail.
3. Sew shoulder seams.
4. Adhere interfacing to neckline facing. Stitch front and back facings together. Stitch facing to neckline. Under stitch and topstitch the facing. Here are some great tips for sewing a V-neck.
5. Sew side seams and cuffs following pattern instructions.
6. Stitch the side seams of the hem facings. Attach hem facing following pattern instructions, except that at the center front, you'll need to turn in the edge .5 inch to create a clean finish (see above).
And that's it! I really love this version of the Lou Box Dress 1. The Lou Box Top and Dresses are really simple designs but so easy to modify and hack. I have another caftan that I’ve made for the trip (I will share it soon and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some sneak peeks). I expect I’ll be wearing these caftans almost nonstop.
But wait there's MOOOOORE! If you head over to Instagram today (June 25, 2018) I’m hosting a giveaway as part of 30 Days of Sundresses, hosted by Melly Sews. I'll be giving away the Lou Box Dress 1 and 2 pdf patterns. It's really simple to enter:
1. Share a picture of your handmade sundress with the hashtag #30Daysofsundresses
2. Tag me and @mellysews in your picture caption
3. Comment on the Instagram post when you're done. (Commenting on this blog post does not enter you to win.)
Giveaway not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram, must be 18 to win, void where prohibited by law. One winner will be drawn on July 2 and notified via Instagram DM.