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Kaftan Top Project

Floaty kaftan top

This project has been designed by Julia Claridge of Bobbins and Buttons. She offers a range of fun relaxed sewing classes, which always include homemade bakes. She also designs a range of clothing for ladies and children some of which are made to order and all can be made in classes. 

The fabric for this project was kindly supplied by Fabric Godmother.

This floaty kaftan top is made without having to use a pattern and is designed to fit you. Please note that the quantity of fabric may vary depending on fabric width, size and required length. 

It would make a super top to cover up on the beach in the Summer.


You will need…

Light to medium weight silky woven fabric  (1.5m wide) – you will need approximately 1.5m depending on the required length

Our fabric was a soft peachskin kindly supplied by Fabric Godmother 


To Sew

Sew a floaty top

1. Fold the fabric in half lengthways selvedge to selvedge. Fold the fabric again bringing the raw edge down to the length you would like the top to finish. In this example the length is 75cm. From the centre folded edge mark a line 60cm (make wider for longer sleeves or narrower for shorter sleeves). Mark a horizontal line 75cm down (longer or shorter as required).

Sewing with peachskin fabric

2. Pin the layers together to prevent the fabric moving about. Cut these lines. At the corner of the fold, mark a point 9cm from centre along upper folded edge. Measure another point from the corner down to 7cm. Draw a curved line between these points to make a quarter neckline. Pin around this line to prevent it moving. Cut the line.

Construct a neckband piece

3. Make a neckband. You can use bias binding to edge the neck or use the remaining fabric to make a matching band. If using the remaining fabric cut a bias strip 4cm wide by 28cm (you will need to check the measurement of the neck edge, as this may vary depending on the depth of your curve).  Angle the ends of the neck band to 45 degrees.

Make a kimono style top

 4. Join the band and press in half lengthways.


Dressmaking tips and tricks

5. Mark the quarters of the neckband by folding in half and putting a pin at the folds. Bring these marks together to find the quarters. Do the same with the neck edge.


Kaftan style top

6. Matching the quarter markings pin the neckband raw edges together to the neck edge. Stitch using a 1cm seam allowance.

Apply a neckband to a top

7. Trim raw edges to approx 0.5cm, press and turn to inside, pin the folded edge to inside and stitch close to the edge.

Turn a narrow hem

8. Prepare the hem edges. Stitch approx. 0.5cm away from raw edges on all four sides. This will help with turning a narrow hem.

Double fold hem

9. Turn and press a double folded 0.5cm hem around all edges and pin in place.

Mitring corners

10. It makes a nice neat finish to mitre the corners, although this is a bit fiddly. Fold the hem right sides together and stitch a triangle across the corner. Trim close to seam and turn to right side. Stitch hem on all four sides.


Free dressmaking projects
No pattern sewing for clothing

11. Lay the top out completely flat, matching edges. Find the centre front and pin. Measure the widest point of your torso. Add 8cm to this measurement. Divide in half – for example with a bust measurement of 98cm add 8cm = 106cm. Divided by two = 53cm. Measure half again – in this case 26.5cm (half of 53cm) from the centre line towards the edge and mark.

12. Do the same with the other side so that you have two marks and the central measurement is 53cm. Draw a line up at right angles from the hem 38cm high on each side. These are the side seams. Stitch these lines to complete the top.

Floaty top project