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Cambria Duster

Pattern review for the Cambria Duster by Friday Pattern Company by Ann Siegle of Sew Paradise

I picked up the Cambria Duster and some camel windowpane linen fabric to make a chic duster / trench style coat with a dramatic collar last spring. But I sewed it in the fall and it promptly got cold, so I haven’t had much chance to wear it.

I always make a muslin, in this case, from some friend-gifted fabric, a few scraps of navy cotton and a textured chambray colored poly/cotton. The first one was a fit success except for sleeve length, so I added length to the sleeves for my windowpane linen.

I’ve included helpful tips below.

Bias binding tips:
If you’re finishing this with bound edges, bind them as per the instructions (largely bound before sewing the seams) If you’re serging them, just have at it! It’s an easy sew. The pattern has instructions for what to bind in what order, so just follow those. Consider using your own bias or straight binding. But use purchased if that’s a big help. No judgement here!

The sleeves should be measured before you cut – they’re long so they roll up, but not super long for people with long arms like me (see the blue one, and then the camel one).

Be careful of bathrobe-like colors! Anything in a pastel color probably would not be good. Stick to classics like cream, camel, navy, charcoal gray or go with muted neutrals like sage, fog, slate, pear. Or go deep with teal, aubergine, harvest red. My LFS owner says this is a ‘socially acceptable bathrobe’ and I’m all there for that with some wide leg linen pants and a cozy sweater under it, but if you walk around your neighborhood and a college student says “I like your robe, er, coat” you know it’s probably bathrobe-like. I said thanks. Its a pandemic and she was wearing flannel pajama pants when she gave me the compliment as I walked my dog by her house. I figured robe was a compliment.

Sew lined pockets EVERY TIME
Seriously. Lined pockets, wonderful. I lined mine in Ankara print cotton. It’s vastly easier to sew around curves and turn right side out, than it is to press and hem around them. Plus, they’re fun!

Make three of them!
I am going to make a lightweight boiled wool version in cream, for a beautiful fall/early spring coat, inspired by Meghan Markle’s coat here. There were, at one count, 3,000 people waiting for that coat and 1 zillion knockoffs since then. Sew your own!

I always make three of anything, see my reasoning here.

Use this to finish off your capsule wardrobe:
I build capsule wardrobes one or two garments at a time. Pieces in this capsule include my camel cord Pietra skinny pants, and black and navy Toaster sweaters. I will also wear this with my cotton voile and silk noil Scout tees and my mint sueded tencel rayon Luna Jogger pants.

Having a third piece, particularly a coat/duster, is a great way to finish off an outfit, and you could wear this two or three seasons (depending on your climate and fabric choices.)

By paradise

I'm Ann. I've been sewing since I was 9. My first project was a denim wrap skirt. Thrifting is a way of life for me - both eco-chic and financially savvy.