Handmade and Fabulous: The Silk Kaftan

One morning 11 months ago, as I trawled the Yongle Fabric Market in the heart of Taipei, I found this beautiful silk fabric with swirls of greens and purples and yellows that reminded me of the psychedelic 70s- the artistic part, mind, not the substance-induced frenzy. I bought a few yards right there and then, took it home, and basked in its beauty. It was so delicately beautiful that I dared not poke a needle through it, lest it unravels to the seams. Every so often, though, I would take it out of storage, unfold it, and hold it up against me, feeling its incredible texture. Everytime I do so, I have this vision of a gorgeous kaftan in all its silken glory; just as often, nightmares of this perfect fabric butchered beyond recognition flash before my eyes. And so it is that this silkworm masterpiece stayed in its cocoon, waiting for me to muster the courage to shred it to pieces and turn it into a moth- a very pretty moth. Eleven months later, I finally did.

 It took two days of sewing and tons of fittings before the vision materialised: a mid-length kaftan with an a-line silhouette, bell sleeves, a split neckline, and silk lining. Constructing the a-line body was a breeze and attaching the lining went smoothly with the help of this tutorial. When it came to the sleeves, however, I almost balked. Sleeves are the bane of my sewing existence and I try to avoid them like the plague. But a kaftan without sleeves is like a moth without wings so I resolved to make them even if I die trying- or at least, until my fabric runs out.

 Well, I’m still alive and the finished kaftan now hangs in my closet. Here it is, in all its silken glory.

As the fabric is very sheer, I decided to line it with flesh-coloured silk. Not only will the lining preserve the kaftan’s shape, it will also preserve my modesty.

Now, I’m just waiting for the perfect night to take it out dancing.

Thanks for visiting!


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