Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

A/W ’17 O Collection Add-ons


It’s all very well having a few well sewn and well fitting trousers as part of my O collection (check out the last few blog posts for an update) but they are quite useless without tops. I am in Hemlock T-shirt overload…..


Enough…….. Blue, grey, mustard, brown, forest green, dark green and I have some burgundy jersey in the waiting room but I don’t think I can face another one just yet.

I can sew up one of these tops in under one hour so please don’t think I’m mega prolific – it’s much quicker than going to the shops or trawling the Internet for a long sleeve T-shirt –  but I got a little bored and sometimes I added a centre front seam, sleeve cuffs, hem band, added little seam details etc etc etc. anything to ring the changes.


Each one has a complementary scarf (a signature look of Oska) made from leftovers. Some are dip-dyed and some are bleached and some are as they are. Keeping the scarves relatively narrow ( 8-9″) means I can twist two together to create different look.


Sometimes I cut the Hemlocks large and sometimes I cut them close to get different drapes, fit and looks. It also means I can wear one over another so that the neckline, hem and sleeves show below the top layer. Fabric properties also contributed to the finished look and fit. I’ve used organic cotton jersey, poly knits, poly jersey and practically any other fibre that has been transformed into a knit fabric.

I made a little cropped cardigan (middle pic) with more leftovers just in case I need another top over a top.

However, I do have to say that while I have made a plethora of Hemlocks and ennui is setting, these are the best ever, easiest and most versatile tops I’ve ever sewn.

Out the other side of sewing – I have really and truly completed another knitting job and this time it’s for me.


Using Knitting Without Tears ; an Elizabeth Zimmerman yoke jumper in moss green with bright green highlights and the blame lies fairly and squarely at the feet of Kate. Drops Angora yarn which is soft and stable.

The sleeves are unshaped because I started with the recommended finished number of stitches and hence I avoided having to think about increasing every 4th row and all that stuff: they sort of resemble a gentle bell-shaped sleeve and one, I personally like.

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a cowl/high neck or a low/round one so somehow I managed to get both!

The jumper is finished with a simple round neck in the bright green wool. Afterwards, I fired up the round needles again with twin yarns of the dark and bright green and knitted a 2 X 2 rib cowly sort of thing. I started with the number of stitches that the neckline finished with (top view), ribbed a few inches, increased a few stitches to create a flare (bottom view), ribbed a few more inches and cast off.


I can wear the jumper in its natural state


I can fold the addition in half and add a Polo neck


I can add a cowl neck, wearing the looser edge on the outside.


And when every other bit of my body is warm enough except my ears I can have a head band


With a little bit of green wool leftover (sorry, I can’t help it) I’m now attempting socks! Honestly though, there are times when buying RTW makes a lot of sense……

In other news, please check out my long distance sewing friend’s brand new website –

Wendy takes custom orders for outfits and clothes, makes all her own, of course and develops her own designs. She is now ready to sell some of these unique creations to a very select few lucky people.

I met Wendy in real life last September when she visited her sister who lives in Donegal. We had a very enjoyable afternoon wandering around L’Derry. We had the same lipstick, both shade and make, we ordered the same thing for lunch and we liked the same clothes, styles, colours and everything else. How wonderful to meet someone so like me!

33 thoughts on “A/W ’17 O Collection Add-ons

  1. Wow that looks like a great deal of work to me and I am a bit jealous, must pull my finger out. I have though just emailed Jan at Grainline Studio, as although I have signed up for the blog, I don’t remember getting the Hemlock PDF, so I hope to get going soon. I do love your choice of colour and style.

  2. Genius. Wow.

  3. I like everything! especially the sweater! I used to knit some, but not so much now. I get to impatient!

  4. Oh my. I LOVE the jumper Ruth. You are very clever. The shaping is perfect and I think the wider sleeves are just perfect. I would never have thought of that. The dark green with a little bit of contrast is such a great look with your white jeans. I am glad you are enjoying Zimmermann. I have just made a cardigan, which I must write up. I always enjoy your blog Ruth but I can’t believe how many outfits you manage to make each year, and how creative you are with your mix and match wardrobes.

  5. Nope! I don’t buy it. You’re STILL triplets or…

    • LOL Peggy. Remember, I’m a teacher and I might finish early on a Tuesday but mark and prepare on Sunday night – there’s always time for sewing though.

  6. Oh, I forgot to add that I LOVE that sweater (jumper).

  7. I really love your collection of pieces. The colors are really quite lovely. And then…for the icing on the cake, your fabulous sweater. How wonderful!

    • Thank you Rhonda. Unfortunately my school uniform was green and brown and I get flashbacks every time I see these colours together!!! How funny that we associate colours with memories..

  8. Love your new look! How long and how wide are your scarves?

    Which I absolutely adore the look of, so I intend to shamelessly copy you and make a scarf for every t-shirt from now on. It is a brilliant idea, and thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks Elle. the scarves are all different, just depending on what was leftover. There are mostly made from the strips of selvedge which is why they’re narrow. If one length wasn’t long enough to wrap around my neck with a little overhang, then two pieces were sewn together – I don’t care about the seam finish or neatening – a design feature! I do think it finishes and embellishes an otherwise plain top.

  9. What a versatile collection. I particularly like the sweater, it looks fabulous.

    • Thank you Cejay. I’m pretty pleased myself with the jumper – mostly because it’s finished! Knitting is definitely not my favourite pastime and my least capable.

  10. …. love it all . I am another one who is going to shamelessly copy your idea of dyeing narrow scarves to match tops.

    • My pleasure Janice – let’s make it ‘a thing’.
      I remember buying a shirt once a long time ago and I had to buy the matching scarf too – the scarf was almost as dear as the shirt!
      Oska sell their scarves for £99 – just in case you’re interested…..but think of the metres of fabric you buy instead.
      Thank you.

  11. You are prolific, to state the obvious. And look great in all your new creations, to state the obvious again. Love what you’ve done.

    • Thank you Barbara but an unfitted T-shirt is hardly prolific sewing – cut out 3 or 4 at a time (very roughly I may add) and sew them up factory-like.
      Thanks again.

  12. Ooo, I love the jumper, it’s gorgeous, and the cowl neck is genius!

  13. That is the best Collection ever!

  14. I love how you plan your sewing to make such coordinated outfits. The O collection could easily hang alongside it’s inspiration. Your jumper looks fab, and the shape of the sleeves was a great idea.

    • Thank you Chris. Thornberry showed me that making outfits instead of orphans was a much better use of time and I’ve kinda stuck with that idea. I do, of course, make random pieces but I always get so much joy when I subsequently discover that it coordinates with something that already exists in my wardrobe.
      Knitting is a chore for me, so I’m very happy if any modification makes it simpler.

  15. That jumper is great, very professional-looking and the sleeves are elegant. What a clever idea with the cowl!

    • Thanks so much Su. Not too sure about the ‘professional’ look but it works for me and what’s absolutely the best – it’s finished! That’s a major achievement in my world.

  16. Pingback: A/W ’17 O4 | corecouture

  17. Your O collection is absolutely THE BEST! I am feeling the need to revamp my winter wardrobe – luckily I have a few months before we get near that time of year. I’ll definitely be referring to what you’ve sewn for your collection as inspiration!

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