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Simplicity 8557 Duster Jacket Review

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

I have had the Simplicity 8557 pattern for a long time and it has been on my wishlist to make the duster jacket. I was delighted at the end of 2020 to finally get around to making it and can’t believe I waited so long.

Simplicity 8557 Easy to Sew Wardrobe Essentials

The pattern includes a collection of “easy-to-sew” stretch garments including ¾ length elasticated waist trousers, an a-line long sleeved dress, a tunic top with a hi-lo hem, a sleeveless tunic top and the duster jacket.

Digital sketch of my duster jacket with MyBodyModel croquis

When I created my MyBodyModel3x3 designs back in Autumn this was one of the patterns that I included in my garments as a layer and I wanted to use a gorgeous animal print jersey that I had bought from Sew Wardrobe.

The duster jacket is collarless and has inseam pockets and full length sleeves with a flare and split at the cuff. The pattern is sized for stretch knits only. The pattern envelope has a stretch guide that recommends 50% stretch but I think that is more geared towards the trousers and the dress. I don’t think you need to have much stretch for the duster jacket.

Full length sleeve with split at cuff

Size Range

Sizing goes from XXS to XXL. This covers

  • bust sizes from 29 1/2 inches ( cm) to 48 inches ( cm),

  • waist sizes from 22 inches ( cm) to 41 1/2 inches ( cm) and

  • hip sizes from 31 1/2 inches ( cm) to 50 inches ( cm).

Size I Made

Initially I made a Medium (M) based on my body measurements. After making the toile and some adjustments I ended up making the Small (S) at the bust and waist blended to Medium (M) at the hip.

I would say the sizing allows for quite generous fit although the finished garment measurements indicate there is only around 2 inches of ease included in the pattern.

Initial sketch and final garment

My Measurements and Body Type

Height: 5'2"

Bust: 36"

Waist: 30"

Hip: 40"

Bra: 32DD

Body type: I am an H shape from the front but I stick out a bit at the front at the boobs and at the back at the bum. I also have a bit of a rounded upper back (from too much time on a computer!)

Back view of animal print jersey duster jacket

Adjustments I Made

For this pattern I did make a rounded back adjustment of ½ inch about 2-3 inches down from the back neck.

I shortened the upper body section on the front and back pattern pieces at the petite shortening line but increased that from 1 inch to 1 ½ inches.

The shoulder length was a bit too long even on the Small pattern size so I shortened that at the armhole edge by 1”.

On the inside - inseam pockets and side splits
On the inside - inseam pockets and side splits

After I made the first version I wasn’t really happy with the fit in the upper body and because the jersey was quite drapey the in seam pockets didn’t really seem to stay in place and just added bulk at the hip.

I ended up taking 1 inch off the side seam on the front pieces just at the waist blended to 0 inches at the hip. I took out the inseam pockets and I plan to put patch pockets on but haven’t done that yet.

Fabric I Used

The pattern recommends stretch knits only: Double Knit, Jersey, Spandex Blends, Stretch Velvet.

I used a soft animal print cotton jersey from Sew Wardrobe with brown and peach design on a white background.

Construction Process and Instructions

The instructions are good and easy to follow. I had originally planned to make most of the garment on the overlocker but because the side seams contain a split I ended up sewing the garment on the sewing machine with a jersey needle and a zig zag stitch (width 1.0, length 2.0). I then finished the raw edges with the a 3 thread overlock.

If you are a beginner then the inseam pocket may need a bit of practice before you do your final version but the instructions are good. When I did sew that in I just used a straight stitch to understitch the pockets before sewing the side seam.

I used a non-stretch interfacing on the facing as I didn’t want the front edge of the jacket to stretch. This meant that it was a bit tricker to topstitch the facing in place but when I sewed it with the facing uppermost (with stitch length 3.0 on a straight stitch) I got a really neat result.

For the split, I overlocked the edge of the fabric and then used a straight stitch (length 3.0) to topstitch it in place as this area doesn’t need to stretch.

One thing to note is to check that your splits are the same length before you hem! I almost forgot so I wrote it on my project sheet as a reminder.

For the hem I overlocked the edge of the fabric then turned up the hem and used a twin needle to sew the hem.

My Thoughts About the Pattern

I am so glad that I finally got around to making this pattern. With the fitting adjustments I love the style and as the weather has been colder recently it has been a lovely extra layer to throw on.

The length is great and I feel quite glamorous wearing it. I am pleased with the adjustments I made and have already made a second version.

Finished jacket with Margo skirt hack and Crystal Cove Cami

Will I Make it Again?

Yes I will definitely make it again and have already made a red version in a jacquard knit which is super comfortable and becoming a wardrobe staple.

It is a relatively straightforward pattern to make and I love how it has turned out.

Final Assessment

  • Sizing - 4/5. It offers a reasonable range of sizes but I would say that it is generous on the measurements so you may need to size down. The size range isn't as big as some other patterns.

  • Instructions - 5/5. Detailed instructions of how to assemble the pattern, make adjustments and assemble.

  • Construction Process - 4/5. Easy to put together. Pattern pieces fit together well and markings are good.

  • Final Fit - 4/5. Needed some tweaking but I am pleased with the finished result

  • Overall Rating - 4/5! Love it!

Over to you!

So let me know in the comments what you think. Is this the kind of style you will wear especially as we move to more of a loungewear culture? Has it inspired you to make some of your own? Have you made these already? Do share as I am super inquisitive and love to know what you are up to!

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