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From the 1,000th Hill No. 09 Kaftans long and short



Durban must be one of the most multicultural, vibrant places in the world to live.

People have gravitated here from every continent, bringing their cultures with them.

Birds of a feather flock together, and you will find pockets of like cultured people everywhere as well as those who choose to mix and mingle.

The language of South Africa has evolved with this potpourri to adopt words from each facet of the spoken words.

Sometimes a conversation can include colloquialisms from two or more languages.

“Good morning.”

“What’s your best price.”

“Ag, nee, man.”

“Hamba kahle.”

The same applies to fashion.

Although you may see many Hindu ladies in their traditional saris,and African people choosing vibrant Dashiki and animal prints, most have adopted “Western” fashions with a South African flavour.

Two of the most crossover garments are the Dashiki and the Kaftan.

The Dashiki, with its brightly printed shirt and drawstringed trousers is the standard male garment for many North African countries.



Frank Graham wore this Scottish Dashiki that I designed for our 2020 Burns Night.




Further north, in the Arabic regions the Kaftan is longer and more flowing.

Nowadays both garments come in many different fabrics, from the original Dashiki colourful designs to flowing chiffons and silks.

I love making kaftans out of saris !




They are also the easiest garments to make, so let’s go.

Because I am tall, I always use the waist to floor length of the sari as my width. Most saris are 6 metres long, and I usually make the kaftan from the more decorated ‘over the arm’ section.

I made 2 kaftans from the turquoise and orange sari, as you can see.

One for Bev’s performance, and one for me !!




Measure the width you would like – hold your arms out and measure elbow to elbow, or halfway down upper arm.

Remember – to be comfy when you sit, the Kaftan ‘seam’ must always be wider than your hip measurement.

Measure the length you would like … anything from waist to ankle.

Double that, and fold in half, or cut two pieces and sew together at the shoulder.




I shall give you a tip here. Make sure you do not cut the neck too wide, or it will keep slipping off one shoulder.

You can either edge the neck with a very fine zig zag, overlock or bias binding.

Leave plain, or decorate with beads/sequins or a flower or ruffle of the same fabric.




Because I use sari fabric, I always have a mountain of pins handy to hold the fabric, and always tack before I sew.

After you have sewn the side seams – remember to keep the garment the right side out !! – you can edge the hems with a very fine zig zag, overlock, or fold over hem.

I love wearing my kaftans, round the house, out to lunch, or for a performance.



Beverley MacGregor wore one of my long kaftans for her Winning Performances this year.

I shall be making more…… I have a drawer full of saris !

Love, always,