Turtleneck tute – inspired by Rumi Neely

In 50 years’ time, when historians look back at the blogging boom, one of the people they’ll definitely have to interview is Rumi Neely of fashiontoast. Thanks to her gorgeous (half Japanese!) looks and fabulous fashion sense (and a boyfriend who’s handy with a camera), she is always on my watch list. The other day I fell in love with this jumper that she was wearing.

I love pieces that have a simple, yet extremely effective twist to them that can easily translate into a DIY project, so this loose jumper with plaits running through the sleeve and around the neckline was inspiring to say the least. And I had exactly the right jumper to try it out on, because a while ago I bought a huge turtleneck one from an op shop (but of course!) that looked like this.

Nothing really wrong with it (ignore the wrinkles, I’d just brought it out from my winter storage when I took this shot), and I sometimes love the Audrey Hepburn-ness of a simple black turtleneck, but I’m rarely anywhere that’s cold enough to really require something up around my neck the whole time and it was itchy too. Plus, I had bought this bulky black cord trimming at a market haberdashery stall earlier this year and was dying to use it for something (it’s really meant for use in trimming sofas or other interior furnishings, but what care I about such things when I can find a way to wear it!).

I had thought about copying Rumi’s jumper but sort of wussed out of cutting all those holes in the sleeves (although the holes and plaits idea is still on my mind for a later project!). Instead, I just cut off the turtleneck part of the jumper to make a round neckline and then pinned and stitched the cord around it. The cord has bias binding attached so I was actually stitching through that, not the cord, which is mega-thick. I didn’t bother finishing off the raw edges of the jumper because I machine-stitched about 75mm away from the edge, and then went over the machine stitching by hand using big blanket stitches. Thanks to the jumper being black, everything just blends in and you can’t see how rough my work is!

I still had quite a bit of cord after going around the neckline once, so went round a second time, although this time had to fold the bias binding under the cord and stitch it to the jumper by hand. Here’s how it turned out!

Fastening the ends of the cord at the back of the jumper was a bit of a challenge but I decided to wrap them in some non-fray leather-look material. I stitched this in place by hand, so that the cord ends were wrapped very tightly.

I’m pretty happy with my Neely-new jumper (apologies for that if you’re reading, Rumi, but with posts that attract over 400 comments, I doubt you would even have time to groan at this little blogger’s puns!)!

This remake project is not really that tricky, and of course if you’re not into the big chunky look like I am, you could always use much finer cord, and a more fitted jumper. It doesn’t have to be a turtleneck either, of course. It could be a good way to update a cowl neck jumper though, or any jumper with a neckline that you don’t like. Let me know if I’ve managed to inspire you to have a go at it!