A (Short) Cambria Duster with Flat Felled Seams

At the end of last year, I was a new convert to the wardrobe sewing craze and looking for new projects to sew like A MAD WOMAN. I knew that I needed to get more focused and pick items that were not only fun to sew, but also beautiful staple wardrobe pieces. Enter: The Cambria Duster by Friday Pattern Company.

I saw this project pop up several times on Instagram and loved the elegant and easy style of it. I’d also been searching for a shawl collar wrap jacket pattern and really liked the wide lapel detail on the Cambria. The only thing was…as much as I loved the drama of a long duster style, I wondered if I would get much use out of it because it’s it’s not something I would feel comfortable wearing without feeling overdone on a normal day (and I want to wear it a lot!).

So I decided to shorten it! I can’t take full credit for this idea—I also saw this on Instagram from a few posters.

By shortening it, the style transforms into a chic spring wrap jacket. And I love it!

FABRIC

I chose a creamy off-white Linen-Rayon fabric from Joann (I had trouble finding a link to it on their site, but they had many colors to choose from in the store!), and it was so nice to work with. It pressed like a friggin’ dream and my sewing machine sailed right through it.

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SIZING

My measurements (Bust: 38”, Waist: 30”, Hips: 44”) put me in the Large size up top and Extra Large in the hips. So I graded between sizes and the fit works well…EXCEPT that I probably should have done a broad back adjustment, and possibly a sway back adjustment. I kind of feared that might be the case before I started, but I was too lazy to do a muslin (the Jasika wore me out!).

Also, it’s possible that I cut something wrong (although I did double check), because when it was time to set in the sleeves, my notches were about an inch off. And the sleeve top just fit into the armscye. It had practically no ease, which made me nervous, but it fit! And I think it makes the sleeve feel a little more constricted at the back (but that could also be attributed to the broad back issue).

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MODIFICATIONS

As mentioned, I shortened the length. I used a measuring tape to measure from the top of my shoulder, over the largest part of my bust and straight down to figure out how long to make it and matched that measurement on the pattern piece, measuring from the shoulder seam and factoring in the hem (about an inch for a narrow hem).

I also lengthened the sleeves. The pattern has the sleeves at a 3/4 length, but I have a thing about my forearms feeling bare. So I added 5” to the sleeve length (I normally add at least 1” to all my sleeves, so if you have standard-length human arms, you might add 4”), and I did a wide hem on the sleeves. Funny enough, when taking photos, I rolled up the sleeve and think it looks great with a shorter sleeve! But now I have options, amiright!

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FLAT FELLED SEAMS

The pattern instructions didn’t go into a lot of detail on seam finishing (however, there was a link to a blog post on seam finishes). I’d seen a few people on Instagram finish the seams with bias tape, but I wanted something simpler. I decided to use a flat felled seam for all the seams (except the sleeves—I serged them for a more comfy fit since the armscye was feeling a little constricted).

The flat felled details are SO LOVELY and give this jacket a higher end feel. I did each seam as I went along, carefully folding them down by hand. It took a little time, but I was still able to finish this entire garment in half a day! Here’s how I did it:

1. After sewing each seam, trim one side of the raw edge down to approx. 3/16”

1. After sewing each seam, trim one side of the raw edge down to approx. 3/16”

2. Fold the raw edge of the opposite side in half and over the edge you just trimmed

2. Fold the raw edge of the opposite side in half and over the edge you just trimmed

3. Lay the fold down, concealing the raw edges and exposing the original seam line

3. Lay the fold down, concealing the raw edges and exposing the original seam line

4. Press the fold down to keep it in place (you may need to pin tricky seams that won’t stay down)

4. Press the fold down to keep it in place (you may need to pin tricky seams that won’t stay down)

5. Topstitch the fold down to the fabric, very close to the edge of the fold (I’m stitching about 1/16” from the edge here)

5. Topstitch the fold down to the fabric, very close to the edge of the fold (I’m stitching about 1/16” from the edge here)

6. Admire your beautiful seams!

6. Admire your beautiful seams!

Here’s the seam from the exterior of the garment with the topstitching exposed on the exterior. I chose to have the folded side of the seam on the interior/wrong side of the garment, but I think it would also look really nice exposed!

Here’s the seam from the exterior of the garment with the topstitching exposed on the exterior. I chose to have the folded side of the seam on the interior/wrong side of the garment, but I think it would also look really nice exposed!

PROJECT COSTS:

  • Linen-Rayon blend fabric (on sale), 3.5 yards: $21.81

  • Cambria Duster PDF Pattern: $14.00

  • TOTAL: $35.81

FINAL REVIEW:

Overall, I am really pleased with this project. The fit is just fine for a first time sewing it without a muslin, and the style is pretty stunning. It’s a simple garment with big impact that can be worn for multiple occasions. I love that about it.

As a side note: I may eventually dye this a pale, dusty blue-grey. It took me FOREVER (like, an hour) to pick a color from the wide array of options at Joann. And I ended up choosing this creamy off-white! Again, I want something that is versatile and can be worn a lot. The white will go with anything, so I plan to wear it around a bit until I decide to dye it a new color!