Esme Kaftan

Esme kaftan / made by rae

Today’s post is dedicated to those of you who, like me, still wish it were summer. I can’t be the only person who saw the amazing Nani Iro kaftan on the front of Lotta Jansdotter’s book, Everyday Style, and immediately hit the “BUY NOW” button a few years ago when it was published. This cotton lawn version of the kaftan pattern was meant to be my muslin. I started it shortly after I bought the book, but somehow the project got hung up in the hemming phase (as many of my projects sadly do) and got tossed in the “to hem” pile for over a year at least.

Esme kaftan / made by rae

This summer, in anticipation of our yearly cottage trip, I pulled it out of the pile again, hoping to hem it before we left. I ended up hand-hemming and tacking down the facings last week while were at the cottage, which made for a great project to relax with on the mornings where the kids were getting in a little screen time so we could have a bit of quiet first thing in the morning. Hand-hemming is an underrated activity, amiright?

Esme kaftan / made by rae

On our last full day at the cottage, we headed to Good Harbor Bay on Lake Michigan and I had Elliot and Mr Rae snap some pics of it on the beach. It was cloudy but the air was warm and the water was cool but calm. It’s decided: cloudy days are the best beach days.

Esme kaftan / made by rae

The fabric is a lightweight woven I picked up at IndieSew a couple years ago, and it really is the perfect fabric for a coverup if you can accept some wrinkles (and I can) as part of the happy evidence of a well-loved and worn garment. While it certainly doesn’t have the visual WHAM of the Nani Iro kaftan on the front cover of the book, I don’t happen to have four yards of Nani Iro just sitting around, so I think I’ll just use this one for a summer at least.

Esme kaftan / made by rae

One thing to note is that the front slit did go down to the bust dart for my size, meaning that if you planned on wearing this to sashay your way through the grocery store or farmer’s market, you might wear something underneath or want to add a button to the middle of the slit (or not? You be you). I contemplated this for a time, but ended up leaving it; I rather like the low slit over a bathing suit, and if I decide to wear this around town, I’ll put a tank top underneath.

This book has other great patterns besides the kaftan. I haven’t made any others, but the pants and the coat, among others, are still on my to -sew list. As they were drafted by Alexia Abegg, they are sure to be quality sewing patterns and not the (?) that you sometimes get with book sewing patterns. Lotta’s laid the book out in the most ingenious way — the way she adds swatches and sketches, styles the patterns in multiple fabrics, and adds her lovely narrative writing on top makes for a book worth having in your sewing library. 

Esme kaftan / made by rae

PS. If you want you can check out the #everydaystylebook tag on Instagram for more great things other people have made from this book.

7 thoughts on “Esme Kaftan

  1. So good lady!! I did a hand hem on my Cleo because it was just too pretty for a machine sewn hem. I do love a bit of handwork now and then. I laughed over your slit comment!! My Felix dress had a very low V which I raised an inch because I want to be able to wear it to work.

    • Megan:
      Oh yay!! Yes, love the hand-hem. There’s something calming about the process and lovely about the result. I haven’t hand-gemmed a Cleo yet but I totally should.

  2. Love it Rae—your caftan is beautiful (as are you)! This is one of my favorite books and I’ve made the Esme dress a bunch, just not the caftan. You are inspiring me to sew one up, summer or not.

  3. I got this book a few years ago, too! I want everything in it 😉 I’ve made the Esme in the shift length, and it has worked well for me. Yours is lovely! Thanks for hemming this up and sharing!

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