Changing up with Montrose…


I’m laughing in the face of a cold , can you tell? Between Mr D putting his back out & my almost-but-not-quite Manflu it’s been a symphony of sniffling & shuffling at Plum Towers this week. Sewing has taken a back seat to sitting on the couch with Netflix , a box of tissues & a LemSip. I don’t often get colds, which is good , I’m a moaning Minnie when I do (apparently…!)

I cut a couple of Cashmerette Montrose tops out a few weeks ago, and finally got around to finishing them over the weekend. I’ve made the pattern several times before, this time I had a couple of pieces of precious fabric to use, always good to start with a tried & tested pattern adding a couple of details to change it up.

Love me a cute frill…and animal print. And gold!

First up some Atelier Brunette dreamy double gauze from  Miss Maude, this fabric is just so lovely to sew and to wear. It’s soft, light yet warm and the gold dots add a gorgeous detail on the rich chestnut colour, perfect for a grey Auckland day. It isn’t cheap, so I wanted make something I could wear with jeans on the weekend, but also for work.

I cut my usual Size 16 C/D bust, grading to an 18 at the waist & a 20 at the hip. So what changes did I make to the basic Montrose pattern?

First up, a frill all around the hem. I cut two rectangles of fabric on the fold, each one 29 x 54 cm (8″ x 21″) . I ran two rows of gathering stitches along one long edge of each piece, stopping 2-3 cm from the edge to allow for joining together (you don’t want to sew over your gathering stitches ) Join the two pieces together at the short edge to form a large circle, finish your seams, then begin gathering until the loop fits the lower hem of your bodice. It doesn’t actually take as long as you would think, trust me, the double gauze is quite stable, so the gathers tend to stay in place as you work. I trimmed about 10 cm/4 ” off my bodice, you might want to pin/baste the frill in place while you decide where you want it to sit on your body. Hem to finish (ok it’s a VERY long hem, won’t lie.)


I used the large bicep sleeve piece (worth the price of the pattern alone, seriously) , and added a small amount of gathering around the sleeve to make it sit closer in to my elbow, before using binding to finish the hem. I almost always forget I only need one piece of binding when cutting out pattern that uses it around a neckline, and usually end up cutting two on the folded fabric,  so I often finish my sleeves with it also.

Yeah, it is gonna rain again…

All up I’m really happy with this top, next time I would gather the sleeves in a little more, and use visible binding around the neckline . Perfect with jeans & some subtle animal print/gold espadrilles, roll on Summer!

So from the ease of wonderful stable double gauze to the slinky headache that is viscose.


Yep, this is what I intended all along…

Ok how gorgeous is this fabric! Thanks to birthday vouchers, I treated myself, the colour combination is very me ( I’ve made my feelings on mustard very clear) , I rarely wear plain white. I’m not sure if it’s some kind of disturbance in the Force or what but as soon as I put on a white top whatever I happen to be eating has an immediate gravitational pull right down my front, a bowl of spaghetti & I look like an extra from CSI. But print, oh it hides a multitude of sins!

So back to me on my sickbed. What shouldn’t you do with a stinking cold? Ok besides going into work and coughing all over everyone while moaning about how bad you feel? DON’T BIND ANYTHING. EVER. IT WILL LOOK LIKE THIS.

Oh dear…

More ripples than a bag of chips. Also what is going on with those clumsy pin tucks you may ask. Indeed. I had an idea, the execution left much to be desired, lets leave it at that shall we?

So my bright idea was to add cute little pin tucks at the front of my Montrose, visible binding around the neckline, with small tucks at the sleeve hem, also bound. I thought the light viscose would lend itself to the tucks, while still allowing the lovely print to shine.

A face that says yes I have a cold…but look at my new top hey!

To achieve my modifications on this one I wanted three tucks ether side of the center front. I ended up adding 10 cm/4″ to the middle of the front bodice, to allow for this. I also cut the extra piece of binding to use on my sleeves. So as you can see, I have an inverted pleat on my fabulous fabric, what happened? Well those pin tucks were not easy , or successful, the fabric is soft with a wee bit of bounce , it really didn’t want to hold those pleats at all. Trying to sew them maxed out on Panadol & Robitussin probably didn’t help to be fair… I then compounded the situation by adding my neckline binding. No, I don’t know what I was thinking except that clearly I wasn’t thinking.

After much faffing and unpicking (my Superpower remember!) I removed the binding, and unpicked all the tucks. In the end an inverted pleat seemed the best way to gather the fabric while still providing an interesting visual detail. I did the same on the sleeves, which I actually really like.

A little obsessed with sleeve details…

The neckline binding isn’t ideal, but I’d given the binding and neckline such a hard time already I’m thankful it’s at least wearable. Next time perhaps a visible but smooth binding, inserted with a clear head , yes?



Its still a lovely top , perfect for work with my mustard cardi.

If anything , besides not sewing with a cold, this exercise has taught me I need to be more considerate of the properties of my fabric before I just go for it with a cunning plan. I’ve sewn pin tucks before, on linen, which is a whole different ball game. Actually a linen pin tuck Montrose would be very cute…

Stop & think before you bind people!

I hope you have had a fabulous week, it stopped raining long enough this morning for Mr D to get out in the garden weeding. No doubt he will be complaining of a sore back later, sadly drowned out by the sound of me coughing…

Take your Vitamin C kids!

Kristina x



  1. Marlene says:

    Poor you! I can’t believe you kept on sewing, even dealing with the flu. I love both of your Montrose creations, but especially the pleated one. The sleeves are wonderful, but as far as the binding goes, I stay as far away as I can from that – even when I don’t have a cold I find it almost impossible not to get the waves in it! Keep up the good work – I’m loving it, and your witty ramblings!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks Marlene, yes not sure what I was thinking trying to bind with a cold, thankfully at least I could rescue it! Hope its nice & warm where you are & not a cold in sight! x


      1. Marlene says:

        So I’m going against all common sense and making a blouse that has a neckline with a binding – slinky, slidey fabric too! What am I thinking?!?. And after I just swore that I never did binding – at least not willingly. I can only hope for no waves in it, as I also have an aversion to ‘unpicking’, especially a slinky, slidey, fraying fabric. If you ever read another comment from me on your blog, you’ll know I made it through without going bonkers!!! Happy sewing – Marlene
        And, although it’s the middle of summer here in Canada, we’re having some very unseasonable cold weather so please send some heat. Your winter is probably warmer than our summer.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Margaret says:

    I love the floaty summery inverted pleat top. It makes me long for summer here in the Wairarapa on a -1 degree morning. Your comment about the properties of the fabric needing to be considered is so important. Everytime I have tried to make fabric conform to my will it hasn’t ended well! Sometimes the fabric needs to shine and in your top with the inverted pleat it does. Well done – I’ve struggled to sew some similar fabric but absolutely love wearing the finished top and I’m sure you will too. Hope you feel better now. It’s been an awful flu season here hasn’t it.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Hi Margaret, sorry, not sure how I missed your comment, technology gah, thanks for your lovely feedback! Hope its warmed up a bit by now for you, it def getting warmer here, I am getting a bit overexcited planning my Spring/Summer wardrobe, how many new tops & linen dresses does one girl need…??? 🙂


  3. plumkitchen says:

    Yay, all power to you Marlene, you can do it (I definitely want to hear all about the finished blouse!) Remember, unpicking is a Superpower! xxx


  4. Pingback: Emelia for Spring
  5. Nicole Wilkins says:

    I just love your posts. I found your blog via Curvey page while trawling for ideas to sew while on holiday in England at moment from Hamilton in Waikato. I quilt mostly but returned to dressmaking after disappointing forays in ready-to-wear for plus size clothes. You are about my shape though I’m 4 inches shorter so your very inspirational. Your references to fabric places are very helpful as we only really have two stores. Your sewing tips are great too…especially on not sewing while feeling off colour.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Hi Nicole, thank you so much, glad you enjoy the blog & its helpful! I find it really useful to look at people a similar shape to me when trying to decide how something is going to work:) I hope you are having a wonderful holiday, (and maybe visiting a few sneaky fabric shops??) Im very envious. Its raining here at the moment, boo ! Kristina x


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