Sometimes My Neck Gets Sore

Here we have a quality Christmas (and other cold times of year) sweater.

It’s the Talvikki sweater from Named Patterns and I think it’s great. But it’s the sweater that almost wasn’t.

Because only when I finished pressing the turtleneck collar facing down inside the sweater and try it on did I realize that the opening wasn’t big enough for my massive head.

It was some slapstick comedic gold, with my hands inside the armholes and the neck just sitting at the top of my head. No one around to see, so no photos.

Let’s back up. The latest Named collection is pretty awesome, and I may have bought one or two or too many of the patterns. I’d been loving on this sweater fabric on the Emma One Sock site (still available, actually) for a while. I kept myself from buying either for a bit and can’t remember what broke me in the end, but the combination was burning a hole in my stash.

Straight out of the package I traced off a size small (38/40 Euro size).

Because Named is made for 5’8” ladies and I’m 5’3”, I folded out an inch at the bust line, and another inch immediately above the waist line.


These are big billowy sleeves that attach below the bust line, so the arc of the arm hole needed to be shortened as well (one inch below the back and front notches, since the bust line is below the notches on the bodice pieces). Make sense? Like so:


I also did a 3” (1.5” each side) full bust adjustment to the front to try to avoid too much tenting at the shorter hem. I feel like it was worth the minimal effort required by this simple method.

Anyway, I followed the instructions from there, everything went together well. I assembled everything on my serger, except for the hems. It’s so roomy and the fabric doesn’t ravel, so I felt comfortable using a straight stitch for that part.

So this was a very simple make. Until I tried to put the thing on and couldn’t get it over my head, of course.

In the end, my solution was to increase the seam allowance where the collar facing meets the top of the collar. The neck is slightly funneled, so it’s wider at the base than the top. By increasing the seam allowance, I was getting to a point at which the circumference was wider and I could shove my big head through. It means the collar isn’t quite as tall, but it also means I can wear it, so I’ll take it.



I’ve had this problem before, with the Style Arc Esme top, and that was the solution there as well.

And then I wore that thing to Christmas.


Here’s a parting shot to demonstrate that it does look cuter with the sleeves rolled up rather than rolled down.


Two observations:

1. If you like the aesthetic but wanted to tone down the drama of this top, you could extend the front piece an inch or so to bring it just a bit more in line with the bottom portion. I like the length in the back, but if I were to make it again, I would lower the front hem about 1”, and then I’d continue the side seams about two inches lower than where these stop. But that’s just me.

2. The wool is much itchier on my skin than I had been expecting. Is there anything you can do to wool to soften it? I steam shrunk this in in the dryer a few times to pre-treat, but any other advice? Euclan? Something else, preferably a bit on the crunchy side?

ALSO. A VERY EXCITING THING happened the other week when one of my handmade garments — specifically, this Schnittchen Coco Jacket — made it into the New York Times.

Sort of.

I mean, there is a photo of it in the Times, but only because I was standing in someone’s wide shot. This is a story about Rex Tillerson and not sewing. I’m sideways to the camera and you can see nothing of the rad floral stretch silk charmeuse lining, but I’m going to count it.


  1. The color of your wool is amazing, and it looks fantastic on you. I also love the pants you’re wearing–they’re perfect with this sweater. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience with the neck opening; I’ve been curious about using non-stretch fabrics for this pattern but clearly that would require some extra work to make it wearable! I’m hoping my intended scuba/neoprene knit and my knit interfacing will have enough stretch to not require fussing with the neckline–definitely going to test that first!

    And that is so cool that you and your Coco jacket ended up in the NYT!!

    1. Thanks! Yes, that color is really something. I’m not a huge purple purple fan, but when it has just a tiny bit of this fuchsia tone, I love it.

      I guess the options for the neck are to insert a back neck zipper — or hell a size neck zipper; add width at the side/shoulder seams; or just to shorten it like I’ve done here.

      On your scuba, I wonder if you would need a facing to get the funnel to stand up, or if it could manage on its own? Then maybe you could catch-stitch the edge down. I’ve found a hand catch-stitch to be really forgiving in terms of preserving stretch.

      Let me know if you make it — would love to see!

  2. I love that Named sweater pattern and am thinking about making it. the color is gorgeous. and good to know about the neckline. Your sewing in the NY Times – how exciting! And the guy you are speaking with – interesting shoe choice he made :). Happy New Year!

    1. Oh poor him! He got a bit of shit for that. Men have a lot of advantages in life, but sartorial flexibility is not really one of them.

      I do like that shot cause you can see how nicely the shoulder goes in on the Coco though– no wrinkles!

      Have you looked at the Toaster sweater from Sew House Seven? It wasn’t on my radar, but it’s a funnel neck as well. PDF patterns generally get a massive eyeroll from me, though, so I wouldn’t blame you if not appealing. It also lacks the interesting details in the sweater portion that Talvikki has.

    1. Hope you have a small head!!

      But yes, it’s got lots of cool things going for it and you can make modifications to deal with the narrow neck hold. The color is really a favorite for me, and it stands out in my mostly black and navy wardrobe.

  3. Love the neck darts on this. Good save on the neckline. I almost bought this pattern but already have the Esme (love it), the Wilma (a Japanese pattern, also love it), the Karl dress, and the toasters 1 & 2…. how many funnel necks does a girl need?

    1. Yeah, the neck darts are great! Unfortunately, I think that’s what makes the problem for big-headed people. Because the bodice darts in to make the neckline (cut on to the bodice), you can’t really have a fold-over funnel neck and neck facing all in one, the way the Esme does. Then, the narrowest part doesn’t have a stitch line that inhibits the fabric from stretching.

      ANYWAY. Agreed, I’m the same on funnel necks. But, you know, if this were the only funnel neck I had, I might only have one funnel neck sweater.


      I love the Karl dress, btw, I just think it’s not right for my shape.

  4. I made this out of boiled wool jersey, and found the same problem with the neck line, but discovered it was due to the knit interfacing I used – it just didn’t have enough stretch! I left it out, and ended up using a scrap of matching pontes for the facing, which has overcome any itch issues beautifully!

  5. I’ve had this pattern on my mind (as well as the Toaster sweater), and if I happen across the right fabric I’ll definitely snatch one of them up. Love the color of your fabric! It looks so good on you. And how cool about the NYT photo! Ooh, that guy’s shoes though… ha!

    1. Thanks so much! Let me know if you make it up!
      As for the NYT photo… He and I are both reporters and our dress code is a little scruffier than the rest of the folks in the city. A lot of the men don’t even bother with a suit! I just wore heels because I’m short, and I don’t like to tiptoe when I’m a press scrum. 😉

  6. Such a great make! This is my fav pattern from the latest Named collection. Given Inari was my most made pattern of 2016, I think it will end up being a wise investment. Thanks for bringing it to life so nicely!

  7. This is a year late, but possibly still helpful? Soak your sweater in 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Then wash as you normally would. It should soften the wool fibers and make it more comfortable. It works on linen and other natural fibers as well!

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