Caftans: Time Has Come Again

Today was the late spring day of anyone’s dreams — high seventies, sunny, dry, breezy. I  planted seeds  without breaking a sweat. We had cocktails on the patio checking out the tiny brilliant moth who joins us for drinks every night. Life is good. But I’m not gonna forget a couple of nights ago when the temp and the humidity almost had me lying on the tile floor with the cats, naked, too hot to eat, too hot to think.

I’d had the late night refreshing shower and all, but when I looked about for something to slip into, I was screwed. Terrycloth robe — har!  Jeans , no way. In fact anything — pants,   even an apron worn commando, would have been too tight and hot. I wanted something easy, long, floaty, cotton pull-over-the head-easy.

That would be a caftan. I haven’t thought about caftans since the seventies, when Elizabeth Taylor dressed them up with a couple pounds of emeralds, Michelle Phillips floated about, and Aretha nailed them down politically. But on that sweaty night, as I was standing on the bathmat and reviewing my wardrobe choices I yearned for a caftan.

Well, yeah, I sew, so I decided to get a step up on the sultry days to come, and find a caftan pattern. Off to Joanne Fabrics and a half hour with the pattern books. I felt sad. I made most of my clothes for a coupla decades and as an hereditary seamstress and fashionista  the current books  depressed me. Even Vogue Patterns. Lord, I used to sew jackets from YSL when I was in my thirties. Even Vogue doesn’t  have those rights anymore. God, I’m glad I saved the patterns for that Bill Blass shirtdress and that Ungaro suit.

A caftan pattern in 2010 hard to find. This is what I bought:

This is hardcore caftanhood, but I think I’m going to make the white caftan on the white dude, but not in white. If it’ s as easy sewing  as I  think it will be, I’m making a few for that stifling night step-out-of-the-shower moment. Or the drinks on the patio moment. Please send emeralds.



Filed under Body, How Cool is That?, Needlework

8 responses to “Caftans: Time Has Come Again

  1. AHHH, Yes. You describe them so lovingly and so admiringly, I’ll have to go see if I don’t have a couple stashed away somewhere.

    I swear, Maggie, you could make a muu-muu sound chic!

    My favorite was a wonderful Asian print, beiges and golds and blacks, but of a filmy poly-something which I wouldn’t touch today with a tent-pole. Which, as it happens, would have come in handy—that thing woulda covered at least one ring at Barnum&Bailey. It draped so enticingly, and felt so luxuriously silky as I swept grandly to parties and dances (my new Sarah Coventry gold herringbone choker setting it off JUST SO).

    You haven’t been blogging long, but you’ve been responsible for LOTS of flashbacks.

  2. absurdoldbird

    I don’t think I’ve ever worn a caftan, but as a teenager I used to think that when I became an old old woman (and I mean wayyyy older than I am now – maybe eighties, nineties? – I’d have long flowing white hair and be wearing a caftan and beads… I wonder if I shall?
    Good luck with your needlework – and the end result. Hope you’ll post a photo of yourself in it!

  3. Caro

    I remember the one Racheld is referring to. It was a black and golden field of butterflies. I thought it was lovely….. so much so that I had one made for my Jr./Sr. prom ( my Jr. year)… It was red with poppies ( theme of the prom being a night in the orient).
    Even in the 80’s ,I was already an old broad 😉

    Much like her’s, it was some sort of petroleum product fabric… I was so hot I’m surprised I didn’t spontaneously combust!

  4. Caro: Red with poppies! How glamorous. And that petroleum based fabric sure draped a treat, didn’t it?

  5. I like your idea! But please shorten that caftan to just below or above the knee or else you’ll look like a cult leader.

    Wish I had the sewing and needlework gene. I’m hopeless.

  6. Freaky: What cult on earth would recruit me as a leader? Cults are smarter than that. I’m doing the full length this time, but you’re right: shorter is cooler. And cheaper!

  7. Pingback: Catching Up at C &C « Cheap and Cheerful

  8. Kim Shook

    Yes, a caftan! Maggie, you are a genius. I usually just put on a soft cotton nightgown, but then I just want to crawl between the cool sheets. Can they be made with shorter sleeves, or would that look peculiar? I don’t do long sleeves.

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