You tell me.
Why is it that caftan sounds so much better than muumuu? What is the difference between the two? A caftan is something a movie star swans around in while sipping martinis. A muumuu is something little old ladies wear outside to pick up their newspaper in the morning. I say that because I see a little old lady that does exactly that almost every morning as I'm driving to work. We both must be creatures of habit and I just happen to drive by at the exact time she goes out to get her paper- always in a muumuu and curlers. Anyway...
I wanted to make a cover up to wear over my swimsuit while I was in St. John. And I wanted it to be an elegant, flowy, bohemian looking caftan. I wanted to swan about and sip on drinks with little umbrellas. So I flipped through all my old Burdas and settled on this pattern- number 134 in the 05/2011 issue. It's actually a plus size pattern. But I altered the width of the pattern through several different changes. When I was sewing it up, all I could think of was little old ladies in muumuus.
The smallest size was a 44, which is not really that far off from what I usually use in Burda. I normally trace a 40. And the shorts I made recently were actually a 42. So I figured I didn't have far to go to make it less shapeless, though the pattern is meant to be somewhat shapeless anyway. I skipped the underskirt. Not necessary for a cover up. I traced the pattern pieces exactly as is and did not add seam allowances. I also ended up having to piece the front together, which took another 1 1/4" of width (you can see the seam in the photo below). And since I was looking for a quick and simple sew, I left off the facings and omitted the center front and back seam. Instead of facings, I scooped out the neckline and bound the edge with bias. I'm not super happy with the binding job. It sort of flips out, but it was definitely easier than adding facings. And who wants facings on a beach cover up anyway? And since I no longer had a v-neck, I cut the front and back on the fold.
I was facing a really strong wind in the photos above. The right one makes me think of a Michael Jackson video for some reason. I look like I could fly away. J giggled a bit at my cover up but I was pleased with it. All the other photos were taken after spending the day on Hawksnest beach. I could seriously hang out on the beaches in St. John all day long. Geez, these photos make me want to go back!
With all the changes I made that affected the width, I should have realized that the straight underarm and side seam stitching would not have worked as is. I sewed the original stitching line as marked, but couldn't fit it over my hips. So I changed the stitching line so it stopped at the waist and moved towards the side seam at an angle around the hips. See my incredibly dodgy attempt at showing the new stitching line below.
I think it worked pretty well, imo. It was a perfect cover up and I wore it several times in St. John. I used a very pink cotton lawn (or is it voile?) from my stash. The fabric made the caftan/muumuu cool and breathable while also keeping most of me out of the sun when I needed it. The only other change I made to the pattern was to shorten it considerably. The original length hit just above my knee. I chopped off about five inches in length, leaving the back about an inch longer than the front. It was a quick project, especially after making it just two pieces. The only part that took time was hemming the curved side edges.
So what do you think? Would you call this a caftan or a muumuu? I'm not really sure. I think maybe those little old ladies are on to something.
On a side note, I am having so much trouble getting back in to a routine now that I'm back at work. We got back from our vacation and I had about 24 hours to rest before I went to work at my new school. And it's been craziness around here ever since. I know I've missed lots of awesome blog posts by you fantastic folks out there, but I'm catching up. And I haven't picked up a needle or thread since I've been back. Yeesh. Not to be too whiny, but you know. I feel whiny. Hopefully I'll be back to reading and commenting like my old self soon.