The Swanky Sweaters of Dapper

If you want to hear me gush about how excited I am about the new Dapper collection (KNITTED FLATCAP *), then you should definitely check out the podcast episode. Rather than blather on further about how much I like the patterns, I thought we could all benefit from a touch more objectivity and dive a little into the more technical aspects of the collection. Between all of the Henleys and cardigans and pullovers, there are 8 sweaters in Dapper. While there are plenty of useful and appealing accessories for accenting your ravishing raiment, these sharp sweaters are the meat of the book. Whether you’re looking for something with the insouciant charm to rehabilitate your leisure dishabille or dashing dress-wear to add style to your semi-formal sartoriality, Dapper has something for you. So let’s take a good look at the differences between your many sweatery choices.

Henleys

Although only the Georgetown is explicitly called out as a Henley, the Breckin Pullover also features the distinctive abbreviated placket and casual collarless neckline. Both sweaters are knit from the bottom, but the Breckin is knit entirely flat and seamed, including the traditional single seam that stitches up the side and sleeve from hem to cuff. Take care to align your sleeve cap properly when attaching the set-in sleeves. The Georgetown, on the other hand, is knit in the round, joining the sleeves as you go to work a shallow raglan sleeve. The continuous round allows for the two-color seed stitch, which also gives it a touch more structure than a plaint stockinette, but it will still have a drapier, more casual look than the seamed Breckin. With its sportswear origin, it might be a fool’s errand to dress up a Henley, but the Breckin’s subtle texture might be understated enough for a layered look. You’ll most likely want to keep these in the closet for low key looks.

Cardigans

Between the two cardigans, you’re likely to have an easier time with the Matinee Cardigan. Even with the stranding, it’s the only sweater in the collection knit from the top, it features a simple and generous raglan sleeve, and the only seams are for the inset pockets. Be extra vigilant with your tension for the Fair Isle motif for the body, since you’ll be working flat (also: swatch!), but it’s a traditional motif with just two colors and the extra style of the colorwork combines with the homey feel of the construction to really make this a perfect switch-hitter in your wardrobe and will dress up or down quite easily. The Danny Boy Cardigan is a little more complicated, but is actually a good introduction to the uncommon saddle shoulder construction. Since the sleeves are seamed onto the body, it avoids the knitting on or picking up stitches of a seamless saddle shoulder and gives you the chance to really figure out how the sleeve and saddle relate to the body of the sweater. Saddle shoulders are interesting sweater specimens; it’s an unusual construction that tends to draw the eye and illicit comments and compliments, but also creates a very top-down drape that makes the sweater extra relaxed. They’re incredibly comfortable to wear and always seem to skew to a casual look.

Pullovers

Of the 4 pullovers, both the Esquire Sweater and Riverfolk Pullover are knit entirely flat in pieces, and not even the sleeves are knit in the round. Since both are knit in soft and drapey tweeds, the Esquire in City Tweed and the Riverfolk in Provincial Tweed, the seams will help structure the sweater while still enjoying the luxurious textures of those yarns. The surplice collar adds a bit of class to the Esquire (try it with a tie, you won’t be disappointed), while the funnel collar, extra ease, and kangaroo pouch make the Riverfolk a great outdoor look, but definitely casual only.

The Rockland and Soren are both rather smart pullovers with wide crew necks perfect for a collared shirt and a nicely finished look. Both are knit in the round from the bottom with set-in sleeves, though the Soren uses a seamless faux set-in construction that keeps the Fair Isle colorwork going around the shoulders. The simple construction is perfect for getting a customized fit. If you have a sweater that fits you particularly well, try taking measurements to compare to the sweater schematics. If you can’t add or remove whole colorwork motifs, you can adjust the number of stitches one by one at the side directly under the arm for minimal impact; or adjust the number of rows between colorwork to get just the right length. Both of these sweaters are classics in their own way, though instead of traditional colorwork the Rockland uses textured stitches at sides, shoulders, and elbows for a lightly martial flair that still preserves it’s clean lines. Choose the right color and you’ll have a look that will fit almost any occasion.

For all the sweater details at a glance, here’s a handy chart for reference:

Construction Shoulder Direction Seaming Collar
Georgetown Henley Henley Raglan Bottom Up Seamless Crew
Breckin Pullover Henley Set-in Bottom Up Fully Seamed Crew
Matinee Cardigan Cardigan Raglan Top Down Seamless Shawl
Danny Boy Cardigan Cardigan Saddle Bottom Up Shoulder Seams Shawl
Esquire Sweater Pullover Modified Drop Bottom Up Fully Seamed Surplice
Riverfolk Pullover Pullover Set-in Bottom Up Fully Seamed Funnel
Rockland Sweater Pullover Set-in Bottom Up Shoulder Seams Crew
Soren Pullover Pullover Faux Set-in Bottom Up Seamless Crew

 

I honestly could see buying this book even if it were just these sweater patterns. Add some on-point accessories like the Bailiff Scarf or the Rye’s Stranded Mitts with a few vests like the eye-drawing Makin’ Waves, and you have all you need to achieve an astonishing array of snappy styles all in a single book.

*A bit of added insight on the Offshore Flatcap: check your row gauge. It’s a wonderful pattern that requires very specific shaping and lots of short rows, so if you’re row gauge is off, you won’t get the proper size or shape. Do your future self a favor and swatch like there is a tomorrow; a tomorrow that will have required swatching.

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