The Kaftan Dress by Eleanor from Nel, Nan and Nora

admin Doughtys Fabric, Pattern Review, Tips & Tricks 3 Comments

After two pairs of linen trousers, it’s time for a change! Cotton lawn is a perfect warmer weather fabric – even here in the UK, where for once we seem to be having a ‘proper’ summer – and we’ve got a holiday planned where I might get to lounge a little around a swimming pool. The kaftan dress seemed, therefore, a good pattern to try out for July.


There are just four pattern pieces and no fiddly details. The pattern doesn’t have pockets but an inseam pattern piece from another dress could be used if they’re essential for you. It is quite a fabric-hungry pattern – especially if you attempt pattern matching or placement – which is probably its only downside. This printed cotton lawn, generously provided by Doughty’s, is a good width (and very well priced too), so works particularly well here. I also love print no. 16, which I haven’t seen anywhere since I made a summer dress in it 3 years ago!

I couldn’t match up the pattern completely due to the very large repeat, so cut the back bodice and skirt panels on the fold, and then opened out the remaining fabric to cut the front bodice pieces separately, matching across the centre front seam and in line with the pattern on the front skirt.

The construction is relatively straightforward, starting with the shoulder seams and neckline binding. The centre front is then sewn, followed by the bodice side seams (tip: use a smaller seam allowance around the curve so that you can avoid snipping into the fabric). I hemmed the sleeves rather than binding them as the edges are straight.


The skirt side seams come next, then the bodice is joined to the skirt and the casing is created.

The only challenge I encountered was with the buttonhole placement and the casing. The instructions show buttonholes on the bodice, whereas they are marked on the skirt pattern pieces. I decided to stick with the pattern and adapted the method accordingly. Having done so, I discovered that the buttonholes weren’t actually within the casing so I cut small slots into it, allowing the cord to pass through. It’s not ideal but it works!


I’ll be floating happily around the house in this and it might make a handy cover up when we go camping (if this weather holds a little longer). It will definitely be packed for our late summer holiday too.


Comments 3

  1. Thanks for this, I encountered the same problem with the button hole. I managed to match the stripes down the back but just couldn’t get the front right. Never thought to open the fabric out for the front. I found it quite low cut so I’ve adapted the pattern for my modesty!

  2. Pingback: Travelling wardrobe | nelnanandnora

  3. Hi Gosh I can not work out the casing!,,, button holes appear to be in the wrong location. I put mine in the skirt section but when you follow the directions the button holes are hidden! Wonder if the pattern designer could help?

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