Category Archives: Workwear

WAK#9: Something Sleeveless

Back when I posted the Ballet Camisole in my work-appropriate knitting series there was a brief debate as to whether sleeveless – or more specifically shoulderless – tops were appropriate for the workplace.

I’m wondering whether it depends on the individual’s body as much as it does on the workplace. Sadie made the point in one of her posts (I forget which) that the same outfit can look perfectly smart on one body type and sloppily casual on another. It isn’t just a case of ‘the thinner the better’ either – I’m thinking of drapy tunic tops, for instance, which look fab on full figures but would be hopeless on me because I need waist definition.

Either way, this WAK is for those who are happy to wear sleeveless at work (or who are just too warm at the minute to care either way). It is also probably a garment for the small-busted, which alas rules me out. Don’t you just love the lines though? Roobeedoo, I can see you rocking this hard!

Petrie, by Beautia Dew:


Photo from Ravelry


WAK#8: Textured Tee

Textural interest? Tick.

Cap Sleeves for a flattering shape? Tick.

Easy to make fitting modifications? Tick.

Top-down? Tick.

Can you tell that I think that Eliada by Svetlana Volkova is awesomesauce? I particularly love the subtle hemline detailing!

Photo by tweedysheep on Ravelry

WAK #7: DROPS jacket

I do apologise to anyone who has been waiting for next installment of Work-Appropriate Knitting and getting impatient. Life seems to have taken over around here recently.

Anyway, here’s something for you all to chew on. A cardigan-jacket with the catchiest name ever (I lie): DROPS 123-6 Fitted jacket in stocking st with cables in ”Alpaca”. I’m not sure why “Alpaca” needs its own quotation marks – I mean, I know that DROPS produce a yarn entitled such, but you wouldn’t misunderstand the title if they just said alpaca. I digress.

Photo courtesy of DROPS

I really like the subtle collar, the relatively structured fit, and the simple interest of the matching cables. If I were to make this, I would customise it to mimic an actual suit jacket as much as possible: neutral colour, three buttonholes with large-ish matching buttons, and hip length rather than the standard cardigan length that DROPS have chosen. As such I’m choosing “Yes, with modifications” on the poll below.

Will I make this? Well, it’s an entire jacket in 4-ply…

WAK #6: Structured Shrug

I hear it’s summer out there in the rest of the northern hemisphere. It’s hailing outside as I type, but one can but hope that the UK’s weathermen will get the right idea soon.

So looking ahead to the summer which is surely just around the corner*, I have been pondering summer clothing and how to make it look smart. Alex commented on WAK#4 that she’s not that big on wearing sleeveless garments at work, at while I’m sure that there aren’t that many people who are actively offended by a flash of shoulder these days, I do see what she means. It’s all about looking professional.

I have found something of a solution to this in my own work wardrobe. I have a floaty, lightweight, short-sleeved white blouse that I can wear over camis when I’m in the office, buttoned or unbuttoned according to my mood – a rather excellent charity shop find, although I don’t know where it originally came from as the previous owner cut the labels out.

An alternative solution could be a knitted shrug. I really like Short Sleeved Bacall from Rowan 44 magazine. The structure of the collar and the set-in sleeves make it a bit more business-like than your classic slouchy bolero, and it would be a great garment for showcasing a brooch or pin if you were so inclined.

Photo by DutchJacky on Ravelry

The pattern is written for an aran-weight wool, but I would have thought that a DK weight with a bit of maths would work fine, as would a cotton for coolness.

Rowan 44 is now long out-of-print, alas, but all is not lost. I have personal experience of emailing Rowan via their website contact form to see if they had any hidden away back copies of another magazine. Have you seen how much people ask on eBay? I wanted to knit Freya, but not at that price! Anyway, they very kindly sent me a copy of the pattern for free via email. So you too might be lucky if a structured shrug is just what you need for summer.

*Please, oh please?

WAK #5: Worsted Gables

You know there are those patterns that are everywhere on Ravelry? Everywhere you look somebody’s knitting a Color Affection or a Holden Shawlette – and that’s before you start on the stuff in Knitty! There are the patterns that deserve way more attention than their mere handful of projects belies. And then there are the patterns that just seem to be quietly successful.

Green Gable was published at the start of January 2013, according to its Ravelry page, and it’s already garnered well over 1000 projects.

Photo by knitlulu on Ravelry

Quite frankly, I can see why. It’s a classic shape, with plenty of fitting opportunities. The raglan seams are nicely shaped and the lace provides interest without overwhelming. It’s worsted, so it’ll knit up quickly, and top-down and seamless. In worsted weight I’d wear it as a jumper, but you could probably knit it in DK for a top.

I’d only have one concern if I were making this for workwear, and it isn’t bra strap coverage – multiple project photos suggest that this isn’t an issue. No, I’d just change the long sleeves a bit to be less exaggeratingly bell-like. But other than that, I can definitely see this pattern making its way into my queue as a quick project before too long.

Don’t forget that if there’s a pattern you’d like to featured in the work-appropriate knitwear series, you can email me at sewingslowly [at] gm ail [dot] com

WAK #4: A Gathered Cami

Quick post today. Things to do, worksheets to write, people to see.

Alexandra Virgiel’s Ballet Camisole is one of the first patterns that I favourited on Ravelry. Unlike many of those early favourites (before I started to view things with more of a knitter’s eye), I still love it.

It’s a simple style with a girly twist. The front gathers are optional – you can just knit it as a scoop neck. I like the fact that although it’s a sleeveless cami, it still has that bit of shaping to lift it, and the straps are wide enough to provide plenty of bra coverage. (I have a colleague whose bra straps are constantly falling out, and it’s really not a good look for work).

Photo by ayumuinblue on Ravelry

Again this is something that I can see working well under a suit jacket. The pattern is written for sport-weight yarn, but I have some silk/linen fingering weight reserved in my name from a Ravelry destash that I’m hoping would work just beautifully.

Oh, and best of all? It’s freeee!

WAK #3: Wellwood

How do you all feel about Wellwood? It’s a pattern by Michele Wang, and looks as though it was released as part of the Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2012 collection, although you can buy it separately online.


For me, this pattern is all about those gorgeous sculptural lines that travel down from the shoulder to form the edge of the long, wide placket, lifting the jumper into something that bit different. I also think that unusually long placket is an elegant touch, helping to balance out the proportions of an outfit as a whole.

This photo from kokopaivaneuloja’s project on Ravelry, show the stitch pattern of the placket beautifully:


Other project photos do indicate a bit of show-through on the lacy section, meaning that you would need to make sure you had a decent number of co-ordinating tops to go underneath. It’d work well under a jacket though, with that central interest.

Yarn-wise, it’s knitted in a 4ply – light enough to look smart, although it would take a while to knit. My personal opinion is that it looks best in muted or neutral colours, allowing the texture and design lines to shine through.

What do you think?