Sunday, 9 March 2014

D.I.Y- Home Made Kaftan

Asalam Waliykum, 

I was inspired to start sewing again over the summer months by a sister on you tube called Chelsey Hijab Love. She gave some tutorials for easy Kaftan style/Batwing tops, that really got me inspired. I have always owned a sewing machine and mine was sat under the stairs, only ever being used when something needs to be repaired. And I come from a family of sewers, I have two aunts who used to make Moroccan dresses/Takshitas, so it is in my blood. I picked up the skills quickly and always been familiar with a sewing machine and techniques.  

I have been looking for modest baggy tops and dresses forever, and why not make it myself. Every time I find a nice top in a shop it is either a nice design, long but too tight fitting, or has long sleeves that are clingy. Also, 1 it is cheaper to make and 2 it is useful skill to have and 3 you can make the garment to fit you. I used to sew all the time before I attended university, mainly cushion covers and I have made a Moroccan dress before. But, had forgot about it for a while.

Alhamdulillah I came across a lovely site called Tissu the link is Here! selling some good quality fabrics at a very affordable price. I have found the fabrics to be generally all good. On a couple of occasions I have been let down, as it is online you don't get to feel the fabric so you are going on the photo and the description. As the fabrics are cheap, and they have a huge sale section it is not a total waste of money, I have found some real bargains on there.

The first item I made was a Kaftan in a batwing style. I made this for my mum as she also finds it hard to find modest dresses to wear in the summer.
The fabric is viscose cotton stretch, 2 meters for £5.99 which I feel is a real steal especially for beginners who don't want to pay a lot for fabric they may end up ruining. They often do free shipping on orders over £30. In Sha Allah, I will do a sort of step by step with photos, so this is going to be a long post. 


- Sewing Machine 
- Pins
- Generic sewing needle (+Ball point needle)
- Tape measure
- A top/dress that fits well
- Scissors 
- Thread

To make a full length bat wing kaftan, I used 2 meters, fold your fabric in half from the salvage and then in half again. So you will end up with 4 layers as above. I found a Dejellaba that fitted had a good fit, and used that as a guide for the Kaftan. You can use tailors chalk, but I am used to cutting fabric so I just went by eye. You can also pin the fabric down to stop it moving around. 

After cutting out the main body, I wanted to have a block of colour for the sleeves, as the viscose is not as stretchy as I would like, I used a viscose cotton stretch Lycra, that has stretch in all 4 directions. This is great for sleeves as you can pull up comfortably, great for when you want to make wudu and when your cooking or washing etc. I followed the line from the main body and cut the black fabric to match it.

I then roughly cut the sleeves to a more fitted shape, and made sure where it joins to the main body is the right size and shape. 

I got a top that I know the fit of the neckline is perfect and not low. I used this as a guide for the neckline. The best way to do this is fold the top in half and measure from the center to the edge. 

I measured the neck line and marked out the area top to bottom and then to the side. I left the back of the neck and just cut the front. The best way to cut the neckline is to keep it folded and then pull down the neck line at the back and then you wont cut through all the layers. 

This is how my neck line looked after, and I remeasured to be sure it was the right size. 

Turn the fabric right side to right side, and pin along the edge and create the seam allowance, I left 2cm around the edge and if you are a beginner you need a large seam allowance to allow for error. 

This is my machine, Nothing fancy a very basic Brother, with the usual settings. No serger/over-locker stitch which is the best one to use for sewing every type of fabric. On a scrap piece of fabric test out the stitch and have a play with the settings until you are happy with the outcome. 

As this fabric has 2 way stretch, not a jersey but wanted to use a zig zag stitch for the majority of the kaftan. I don't have a walking foot, so the fabric did bunch a little. In Sha Allah I will have a Walking foot in the next few days. If you do have one, they be sure to use it for a perfect professional finish. 

The Zig Zag stitch is the best for stretch fabrics, or areas you know will have a lot of stretch such as the sleeves and neck line. Never use a straight stitch on these areas, especially if they are fitted. 

After sewing all the edges, from one arm hole to the bottom and again on the same side and the shoulders, I created a neat hemline at the bottom of the dress. I am never able to do this without pins, so I had to pin before hand and then wear the dress to make sure all sides are equal. You can also use a measuring tape from the shoulders to the bottom and then hold and pin as you go. Then removing the pins as you sew along the hem line. Again I used a zig zag stitch as on this fabric as it is heavily patterned it does not show at all. 

This is a ball point needle, 90/14 which is used for medium/light weight jersey fabrics. I changed my needle as I have completed the main body, apart from the neck line and moved onto the sleeves. 

I pinned the fabric at the top to stop it from moving around, you can also iron the fabric which will help it stay put as you sew. Again use a scrap piece of fabric to test out the stitch and what settings you need.

I used the Zig Zag stitch again, and made the stitch narrower so looks more like a over-lock stitch which has a lot of stability. 

I hemmed the sleeve at the ends with a hidden hem line, just double fold the sleeve inwards, once or twice. But I did mine two times and used a zigzag stitch along the edge to neaten, you can also use a double stitch with a twin needle for a more professional finish. 

I ended up making the wrist area a lot narrower so it hugs the wrist and has a more fitted feel. But still has enough stretch to roll up to the elbow. 

To attach the sleeves to the main body, you need to place the sleeves inside, you want the right side to right side. So the inside is facing outwards as shown above. You then pin along the edge starting from the bottom/top working to the opposite end. 

Sew along the edge, and unpin as you go. I used the zig zag stitch again, as the area needs extra support. 

This is how it will look when you finish, a nice neat edge, no gaps or holes. Be sure to back stitch 3/4 times to secure the stitch. 

Sorry I forgot to take a photo of the prep for the neck line. It is rather easy all you need is a stretchy fabric, I used the jersey. If you are using a normal fabric cut along the bias which is the stretchy part of the fabric and measure the neck line and add a little in case of error. Better to cut extra. Make the strip of fabric around 2/3 inches, it depends how thick you want the neck line to be. I made mine 1.5 inches and so cut a 3 inch strip. Iron the fabric in half, and then pin along the edge of the neckline. Again right side to right side with the edge at the top facing upwards. Stretch the bias and not the neckline, and pin as you stretch. 

Sew very close to the edge a zigzag stitch, or your chosen stitch. And keep the tension on the cut bias neckline as you sew along. 

The finished neckline will look like this, a nice fitting neckline with a neat finish. The tension you applied before will keep the neckline firm and stiff and wont be floppy. 

You may have two ends, long or short. Mine are long as I originally cut a long strip. You want to sew from top to bottom to close the gag using a straight stitch/ zigzag and then trim the excess. 

This is the finished neck line and sleeve. As i don't have a walking foot it was difficult to keep the stitch straight on the sleeve so was a little wonky in some places. But not too bad for a first try. Not really noticeable in normal light so I wont re do that area.

This is the finished garment, a wide, modest bat-wing style kaftan. I really loved the finish, it is extremely comfy and roomy and modest and practical. The sleeves worked out wonderfully and the length is perfect. My mum certainly approved. In Sha Allah will be making myself one soon when I get some new fabric in. 

Closer look at the sleeves, bat-wing style that is modest and loose fitting. I am really happy how it turned out. Hope you guys like it too, and also give it a go. I think this is perfect for warmer weather and is perfect for entertaining guests or just to wear around the house. You can also pray in this, it is extremely modest. I have no photos modeling it, but hope these photos do it justice. I also got great feedback from my mum, who is a honest critic and not afraid to tell me whats wrong.

Jazaka Allah khier for reading. I do hope you enjoyed this kind of blog post. If you want me to do more like this, then please let me know. Or if you want more detail or explanation then do comment or email me. Sorry if it may of been a little hard to follow by photos. I don't have a decent camera to record. But In Sha Allah hope one day I can record my tutorials and DIYs and post on my blog. 
Do share, comment and follow if you are not already.

Wasalam -x- 


  1. assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu!!

    love sewing posts! please post more!!

    1. Insha Allah I hope to do more when I get my new Sewing Machine. Please stay tuned. Jazaka Allah khier sis x

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