The Charlie Caftan Pattern: Inspiration & Styling

Charlie Caftan Pattern / Kaftan Pattern // Caftan sewing pattern // Closet Core Patterns

Hello caftan lovers! I never knew there were so many of you out there, but judging  by the smash success of our recent Charlie Caftan pattern, my dream of an international caftan cult is well on its way to reality.

In many ways Charlie is one of our simplest patterns. For that reason, it seemed superfluous to do a sewalong – how many of you really need posts on hemming and sewing straight seams? That said, the center panel can be a bit of a challenge to sew if you’ve never inset anything with a sharp corner before. In addition to a few posts on styling, fabric choices, and pattern modifications, we have a full post planned on how to sew a perfect inset panel, with lots of tips and tricks to get great results; that post will be coming later next week.

Today I want to talk about inspiration & styling! I had a pretty strong caftan Pinterest board going long before I decided to design a pattern for one. In the last few years the style has become increasingly popular, and I love how many directions you can take this relatively simple silhouette. Here are some of my favourite ideas.


one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine. ten. eleven.

One of the biggest trends I’m seeing in fashion right now is very simple, minimalist shapes in noble fabrics like silk and linen. The great thing about this trend is that it will basically always be stylish; what’s not to love about a billowy linen dress? To make a minimalist Charlie, choose natural fibers in solid neutrals like white, oatmeal, black and grey. Wear it with one or two pieces of clean, modern jewelry and simple flat sandals, slip-ons or espadrilles to complete this calm, confidant look.


one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine.

Equally chic but with a sightly bolder approach: make your Charlie Caftan in a solid colour. Experiment with deep, vibrant tones, or soft, subtle shades depending on the mood you’re going for.


one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine. ten. eleven.

If you really want to  let your caftan flag fly, why not make one in a graphic print or stripe? I would suggest larger, overscale prints for maximum impact. A bold print can also elevate this pattern from comfy summer loungewear to something more elegant and evening ready; just throw on some comfortable heels and a little lipstick and you’re ready to party all night long.

How are you planning on styling your Charlie?


Core Fabrics


Closet Core Patterns

Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

Access Library

Access our members-only resource library filled with free patterns and downloadable resources!

Become a Member

Get Sew Inspired

Featured Patterns

Featured Classes

EN / FR >>