Cashmere for less cash

Once upon a time cashmere was a luxury, but these days you can hardly walk into a chain store without stumbling over it for ridiculously low prices (if you’re interested in knowing why it’s much cheaper than previously, and whether you should buy it new, this article could be helpful). No matter how cheap it gets though, I doubt it can get lower than 100 yen (the equivalent of shelling out AUD$1), which is what I paid for this black mock-turtleneck jumper that I found in a mountain of clothing at a flea market in Tokyo last year.


It should be noted that when I bought it I was practically wringing sweat from my dress every five minutes from the crazy humidity of the Japanese summer (and from excitement at all the secondhand clothing!), but the true bargain hunter doesn’t let shop by season! I knew I’d wear it on the plane home and then throughout the cooler weather back in Melbourne so out came my wallet!

Having said I’d wear it, I didn’t want to wear it as-is. The mock-turtleneck just looks too ’90s or .. somehow grandma-ish. Plus, you know me, I can’t resist a chance to McGyver things that just aren’t quite right.


As it happens, a bit of the neckline was coming loose anyway, and when I looked closer I realised that the neck is actually not part of the jumper but sewn on separately. Not that you can really see this unless you are looking very closely!


Curious about whether the whole jumper would unravel if I unpicked the neck, I decided to give it a go (having been travelling for a few months by that stage, I was itching for a DIY project!). Here’s what happened when I removed all the stitches.


It turns out that the neckline is made from a doubled-over band of ribbing, the edges of which are overlocked or otherwise secured so that it doesn’t unravel, as is the neckline of the jumper.blk9

I still haven’t worked out how to edge the neckline of the jumper to make it look a bit more “finished” but it’s probably only me that notices it’s a bit “raw” looking. (I could crochet a neckband I suppose, but – for a change! – I want this to be a very basic item in my wardrobe so don’t really want to add any details. Hmm. Advice please!)

What I was getting around to saying was that having removed the neckband makes the jumper a bit more versatile. I can wear it by itself, or with the neckband – with a bit of skin showing between the two separate sections.

cashmere sweater

The neckband can also be worn like this with other outfits, or it can be opened out to look even more like a turtleneck. Pretty versatile for 100 yen! I found two 100% merino wool cardigans at an opshop this weekend so stay tuned for some more DIY ideas for knitted items soon.