DIY Loungewear Tutorial: How to Make a Caftan From a Bedsheet
A month ago, Cora asked what you wanted to read about on The Lingerie Addict during the time of COVID-19. The most popular suggestion was loungewear, with a few people asking for tips on how to refashion things into said loungewear. So why not tackle both?
Time to dust off your sewing machine and look through your linen closet. Today, I'm going to show you how to make a caftan out of a flat bedsheet.
Caftans are my favorite thing to flounce around the house in. I think it's their duality that draws me in. Both comfortable and glamorous, these beautifully effortless garments turn you into a gilded goddess sweeping dramatically across her chambers, despite being little more than a sack with a head hole. The nature of this flowing, draped garment makes it innately luxurious...even if that fabric is a simple cotton percale.
Best of all, this thing is the easiest garment you could sew! The nature of the garment means it will fit many people with very little adjustment, too. If you know how to use a sewing machine or hand-sew fabrics together, you can make this great piece of loungewear.
And let's be real...who doesn't want to wear a bedsheet all day?
For your caftan, you’ll really only need one twin-sized sheet, plus sewing materials. This isn't a highly technical tutorial, but some very basic sewing skills will apply.
Gather Your Caftan Materials
Here's a detailed list of materials for this project:
- One twin-sized sheet (You can also cut a larger sheet down, or use around 3 yards of fabric.)
- A ribbon or belt, if you'd like to belt your kaftan
- Something to sew with (Either a sewing machine, or a needle and thread.)
- A ruler
- Something to mark your fabric with, like a disappearing fabric marker, or even a pencil or pins
- An iron
Prep the Sheet
Cut 12" off the width of the sheet on both sides, so your full sheet measures about 45" across by about 100" long.
Fold the sheet in half, so the top and bottom of the sheet are together. Cut along the fold so you have two pieces.
Put the right sides of the sheet together, lining up the folded edge you just cut. Find the center of the top edge, and measure out 6” from that point on each side. This 12” space will be the opening for the neckline, and the top of the sheet will be the shoulders.
Then, from the top right corners, measure down about 10” on both sides. These openings will be your arm holes.
Pin the raw edges together, making sure not to pin together the neckline or the arm holes. Keep the bottom edge of the sheets open as well.
Sew the Caftan
Sew the top raw edges together with a ½” seam, leaving the 12" space open in the center. This will leave an opening for your head. Do the same for the side seams, leaving open the 10" measurement at the top
Try on the caftan and make sure the arm and neck holes are the right size. Adjust the stitching if necessary. If you like, you can round the neckline here, or even make a v-neck or square facing if that’s within your skill set. I’m keeping it simple and straight for this example.
Once the armholes and neckline feel good, press all of the seams open. Then fold the neckline under 5/8", press it, and stitch it down 1/2" away from the edge to create a clean edge. Do the same for the armholes.
Mark Your Belt Holes
Technically, your caftan is ready to wear! You can wear a belt over it to cinch it around your waist, or just let it flow dreamily off your shoulders.
However, I like to put holes in the front for a belt to go through, so it gives a nice silhouette in the front, and hangs freely down my back. You can use a length of ribbon or a belt you already own. Or, you can use the scrap fabric from Step 1 to create a matching belt. (Here's an easy tutorial!)
To put your buttonholes in, try your caftan on and measure where your waist is. My waist is about 17” from my shoulder seam.
Lay the caftan flat and mark this distance. Your belt holes can go anywhere along this length, from far out near to the side seams, to close together, depending on how much fabric you want gathered at your waist, and how much of your belt you want showing. I prefer to use a measurement that's about half my waist, minus a couple of inches.
For this example, let's say you have a 27" waist. Half of that is 13.5". So this diagram will have a 12" distance between the two belt holes. From the center of your garment, measure out 6” to the left, and 6” to the right. These spots are where your belt holes will go.
To make the belt holes, make vertical marks at these points that are as tall as your belt is wide, with the center of the line at the waistline. You can stitch your buttonholes by hand, use your sewing machine’s buttonhole setting like I did, create some bound buttonholes (I like to skip the welt for this application), or just finish the opening with some Fray Check. You can add belt holes on the back as well, if you’d like a different silhouette.
Slip your ribbon or belt through the holes you made, pull the caftan on over your head, and attach the belt around your waist inside the garment.
If it’s too long, you can cut it shorter and hem it as needed, but I'm 5'5" and didn't have to make any adjustments. Add any embellishments you like (check the cute double ribbon bows at the shoulders) and that's it! You’re done!
You can apply the same technique to fancier fabrics, as well. Here's one I made out of 3 yards of 45" wide silk, with a deep V neckline. Exact same technique, just a different fabric and neck!
I hope this tutorial gives you a positive, productive thing to do in isolation, while while giving you something comforting and pretty to wear.
If you have any trouble or need some simple advice, comment below and I'm happy to help out! Otherwise, if you want to show off your new kaftan, tag me @itsquinne and The Lingerie Addict @lingerie_addict on Instagram, or share your creation on the Lingerie Addicts Facebook group. We'd love to see it!