A short walk down memory lane:
I’ve just read Heather Lou’s latest post on Closet Case Files, where she absolutely rocks a vintage kaftan.
Heather Lou- doesn’t she look amazing?
Anyway, it reminded me that I made a kaftan or two in my day, way back in the 70s, when they were pretty ubiquitous.
Demis Roussos and Nana Mouskouri showing how it’s done [actually Nana is wearing a very nice sparkly maxi, the video I wanted to share wouldn’t embed]
Moment of trivia #1: my dad was a big Nana fan, and used to try to quell my teenage misery over being a glasses-wearer by raving about how beautiful she was. It didn’t work.
And there was Penelope Keith as Margot in ‘The Good Life’ of course [although I preferred Felicity Kendall, grrrr]
And Alison Steadman’s dress in ‘Abigail’s Party’ is rather caftan-ish too
So what did I make? No pics survive of course, but I first made a rather odd brown denim zip-up thing from this pattern from Butterick 5150. Why brown denim? I was very much a fabric-buying novice, I’d recently moved to Wembley Park and there was only one fabric shop. I bought it sort of by elimination, as it was the only fabric I didn’t hate.
Trivia #2: I made it at high speed and wore it the same day to the charity premiere of Star Wars in Leicester Square. I don’t know why, it was most out of place, but I was young and odd, and it was the 70s.
Anyhew, I then got this gorgeous pattern, SIMPLICITY 7194. Yum.
I made the left-hand view, in a deep blue cotton. I misjudged the size [skinny, but still a novice sewer], so it was always rather snug through the armscye-but it got worn for as long as I managed to get in. [I sometime had trouble getting out again]. The front yoke and pleats make for a really beautiful shape, the low neck is lovely, AND HOOD!!!!! I embroidered the front panels in black and silver, and I bloody loved it. In fact, I need to find this pattern and make one TOMORROW.
My dad thought this kaftan was really cool too, [it was the 70s people] and wanted me to make him one. So I did. I used this pattern,
Now my dad is…quirky shall we say, and he continued to wear his kaftan [I think it was in a similar deep blue cotton as well] for MANY years. Soon after, I made a rather nice burgundy velvet one for my ex-husband too.
Trivia #3: dad is a mad cat
lady gent, and at the time I left home, he had about 12 cats around the place. Feeding time was..well, visiting friends would often panic. Dad would lay newspaper all over the living room floor [we all just ignored this, pulled our feet up onto our chairs, and carried on watching TV or reading, strange archaic pastimes]. He would then stride about dolloping out catfood from huge tins, or chopping up vile lumps of stinky roasted offal [lungs I think]. Cats would swarm everywhere, chomping and chowing, and ten minutes later, all the layers of paper would be bunged in the bin.
Anyway, when all this was going on, the kaftan would get in the way, so dad folded up the flaps, front and back, and secured them at the sides with clothes pegs. Yes. We never batted an eye…until he answered the front door to our friends dressed like that. You can imagine the teenage chorus of wails and humiliated complaint…
So there you go: Demis, Nana, Margot…and my dad with his milk-bottle legs. Aren’t you happy I shared all that?