I’ll admit, when Cashmerette came out with the Montrose Top, I skipped it. It’s a fairly simple silhouette, and I tend to reach for more complex style lines when picking out things to add to my pattern library. Recently, though, I had need for a basic woven top pattern and, faced with the prospect of hacking it from other patterns or being able to, potentially, make something straight from an envelope, I didn’t hesitate to pick up the Montrose.
The Montrose top is a body-skimming woven top with two options: View A with short sleeves, a scoop neck, and a back yolk, and View B with three-quarter-length sleeves, a jewel neckline, and a keyhole back fastened with a button. It comes in sizes 12-28 with three cup size options, C/D, E/F, and G/H. Most excitingly for me, it also introduces Cashmerette’s multiple sleeve size options, offering a standard or full bicep with between 1.25-2.25” difference between the width, depending on size.
My measurements are 43” high bust, 47.5” full bust, 37” waist, and 53” hips. I’m slightly above average height at 5’7” and I consider my body type to be a full-hipped hourglass. Cashmerette suggests starting from your full bust measurement in choosing a size, and mine puts me right between the 18 E/F and 18 G/H on top. In the past, I’ve made size 18 G/H in the Cashmerette Harrison and Webster, which was perfect in the Harrison and just a tad too loose on top in the Webster. Thus, I decided to cut an 18 E/F in the Montrose top.
My bicep is about 17.5” around, which has always meant doing full bicep adjustments. The size 18 full bicep pattern piece option has a 19” finished measurement. Honestly, I was a little bit overcome by opening up a pattern knowing I wouldn’t have to do a full bicep adjustment, which is one of my least favorite parts of preparing my patterns. Cashmerette has already shown, again and again, that they care about making products that include common pattern alterations for plus-sized bodies, and this is a very exciting addition to that mission.
The construction of the Montrose top is pretty straightforward. For View B, the version I made, there are four main body pattern pieces and two facing pieces. As the facings are simply bias-cut strips, I used some silk bias strips I already had cut. They were narrower than the pattern pieces, though, which made things a little more complicated for me and means that my neckline is about 1/8” higher than the pattern intends.
The one piece of construction I didn’t like was the method for facing the keyhole back. In the pattern piece, the keyhole is simply a slit cut at the fold, which you then stitch around in a rectangle and clip the corners, attaching the facing similarly to a continuous bound placket on a sleeve. I would have preferred a keyhole cut with a rounded bottom that you then simply stitched the bias facing around on a curve.
Additionally, in the pattern instructions, you finish the keyhole after constructing the rest of the body of the shirt. I think it would be easier to stitch while the piece is flat, and thus would suggest finishing the keyhole facing only before attaching the front and back at the shoulders.
The fit is good on me straight out of the envelope. I’ve worn my top a couple of times and feel comfortable and able to move without any binding. The main fit issue on me is the shoulder seam falling back a little, which pulls the neckline back and brings the bust darts up. This will be easily fixable with a forward shoulder adjustment of about an inch, a common fit adjustment I make.
The Montrose Top is basic, but having a very well-fitting basic in your library is useful! The construction is suitable for beginners, and the options available make it a useful pattern for a wide variety of bodies. I like that it’s intended for lighter weight wovens, and that the Cashmerette blog offers tutorials for working with mesh, lace, and other sheer fabrics. I’ll be making more!
Size Range (1-5) 5 – The multiple cup option in sizes 12-28 means a very good selection already, and the two sleeve widths makes the range even better
Instructions (1-5) 5 – Clear with good illustrations
Construction Process 4.5 – I’m being picky, but I don’t like the keyhole construction very much. The rest of the construction is very easy.
Final Fit (1-5) 5 – Cashmerette’s drafting is both thoughtful and consistent. The precise finished garment measurements given on the back of the envelope help assure me in choosing the right sizes.
Overall Rating (1-5) 4.875 If woven tops are part of your wardrobe, pick this pattern up!