On the hunt in Montrose


“I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti…”

Oh Toto, I do love you! No, not the dog (although I do adore small spunky dogs,  so in Kansas with time on my hands, I would surely give the wee guy a cuddle…). Toto the band, surely winners of the “three most implausible yet brilliant words in one line of a song ever” award?

I’m celebrating my affection in the best way I know. That’s right, animal print baby! * Difficult to photograph, easy to wear. Well, I think so anyway. I love brown in all its glorious shades (IMHO a better neutral than black any day), so if I want to wear something bold in print, this is the way I go…


I’m counting the seconds until photo shoot finish & I can go & buy some eye cream…

Inspired by the sleeves on my Celia top, but wanting a higher neckline, I have made alterations to the Montrose top by Cashmerette.

Yes, you read that correctly, Standard AND Full Bicep Sleeves!!!

Now friends, I was a tester for this pattern, and I would LOVE to show you my tester version, which, despite it being my first attempt sewing silk, I was pretty happy with. Right up to the point my other half (and boy, that was tenuous for an hour or two after kids…) bunged it in the washing machine with his manky cycling kit & power washed it to death. Stern words were exchanged. And please don’t tell me I should be grateful he knows how to use the washing machine. Please.

This is a deceptively simple pattern. The one you go “hmm, do I really need that?”. Then buy & proceed to make four million variations. Yes, that one.

Strike a pose.

I made view B, which has the higher neckline, and elbow length sleeves. I used the hem frill pattern piece from my Celia pattern for my sleeve frill. Basically a piece of fabric approx 10-12 cm in width, gathered and hemmed, then attached to the bottom of the sleeve. I decided not to add a frill at the bottom in case it was a bit much . Says the woamn wearing silk leopard print…

I omitted the keyhole at the back. I also decided not to bind my neckline. The thought of binding bouncy silk made me feel slightly queasy, instead I made a simple neckline facing, using a technique from this great addition to your sewing Library.

If you only get one sewing book…

The bust darts give a nice shape, but the feel is still relaxed. The choice of sleeve length variations, and a standard or full bicep sleeve option make for a much easier life. To be honest I can’t understand why more pattern designers don’t offer this option, bingo wings are a nemesis for many of us, fact.

My sloping shoulders were fashionable once…about 400 years ago. #lateagain

I have narrow & rounded shoulders (thanks genes & years hunched over a computer !) , so I made both a narrow & forward shoulder adjustment. I used techniques from the Cashmerette Fitting for Curves online class. I’m sounding a bit fan girl today, but learning techniques from someone who has to make similar adjustments just makes sense. It took all of ten minutes & I now have a top that doesn’t slip back on my neck or flash my bra strap. Result.

Because I’m “curvy” I assume I’m going to be adjusting patterns from the off. I figure my bust and biceps are going to be problematic , and am pleasantly amazed surprised if I don’t have to make adjustments. My BFF is a good three inches taller than I, and about a standard 12-14. She has very broad shoulders , a small bust, and a very long torso with comparably short legs (I gave her some jeans that no longer fit me and no shortening was required) Despite a much more “standard” shape, she also needs to make adjustments , at least an inch or two in length on any bodice just for starters. Thank crunchie for sewing eh!?

I used a fabulous silk from The Fabric Store for this , oh my this place to a joy, a cornucopia of fabric bliss & lovely staff to boot. Silk is a joy to wear, maybe not quite so easy to sew, this puppy frayed like a …..fraying thing. In fact Mr D asked me if I was sewing my top, or wandering around the house just peeling off bits of thread and throwing them around…?

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently, here’s why.

An Easter visit to see my sister in Harrington, NSW. If you are in the area, stay here, its fab!

Crowdy Head beach, near my sister in NSW, Australia.


A busy weekend making a first birthday cake, is there anything cuter than a first birthday cake for a little girl 🙂



If you celebrate it, I hope you had a lovely Easter, I have lots more sewing lined up, will be nice to have a quite few days soon holed up in my sewing room, apparently its raining this weekend so not like I could be in the garden anyway…


Kristina x


* Obviously NO animals were harmed in the making of this top!





  1. Patty says:

    Come to Kansas anytime. We have dogs to cuddle!😉


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Ha Ha, love to!😍


  2. Jan Brandt says:

    Your top is lovely. I have been debating about this pattern, I am now going to order it. On the laundry subject, my husband once ruined a $100 sweater (35 years ago) and after that we agreed on the following rule: he is allowed to wash his clothes, towels and sheets. NOTHING else. Its worked so far!


  3. StitchNSew says:

    Rocking the animal print! Your top is amazing. I’m now thinking I need to put this pattern on my list to purchase


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks Cassiy 😊 Go for it, it’s a really versatile pattern, I can see more versions coming up!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the silk fabric! I’ve bought the Montrose and new fabric but not as quick as you to make it up.


  5. Hey from Wellington! I saw your post on Facebook’s Curvy SC group and I’ve been reading backwards. I love meeting NZers among the others. Suddenly, fabrics and things are from places I’ve heard of! Anyway, I feel your pain re your silk top and want to let you know that if you can get to Wellington for 16th March I am teaching Mad Skills at my shop, and I teach a lot of silk wrangling stuff to people who know heaps about sewing already. 🙂
    But really, I just wanted to say HI!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Hello back at you! 🥂 Oh that would be fun, and I always love a trip to Wellington, will see if I can make it work (& I love the name, get me some
      Mad Skills in 2019!) 🤩


      1. Yay! It’s such a silly name for a class but a couple of younger ones used to say I had Mad Skills and then suggested I called it that. 🙂


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