Polo shirt in cotton-linen in alabaster

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Polo shirt, hand-framed with cotton and linen yarn in the south-west of the British Isles — and with horn buttons from the West Midlands.

More of this sort of thing

There's not many of these left, by the looks of it. Still, don't despair. Email info@sehkelly.com and perhaps something can be done about it.


The polo fits true to size, and thus the mannequin — the most standard 38 in all the world — is wearing S. It is a slim fit, so it may be worn easily beneath a jacket in lieu of a shirt. If you prefer a relaxed fit, go a size up.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 19 20 21 22 23
Shoulder 17½ 18 18½ 19 19½
Sleeve 9 10 109½
Back length 23 23½ 24 24½ 25
The polo is made from cotton and linen yarn. It is mostly two-ply, thus light and airy enough to be worn under a jacket, and breathable even on the hottest days. It is hand-framed — i.e. made by a single skilled knitter working on a hand-operated contraption, How things should be, but very seldom are.
The polo has in-set sleeves, but with shoulder seam pushed forward for a smoother line over the ... well — over the shoulder. This is a tell-tale sign of fully-fashioned knitwear, which is an approach to knitting where each piece of the garment is individually shaped and engineered for the best shape and fit.
The sleeves of the polo shirt are noticeably thinner than the body. They are one-ply vs. two. This frees up space for layering over, say, a jacket the top. With the very same rationale, the sleeves are also a flat plain-stitch, as opposed to the much more textured tuck-stitch seen elsewhere.
The polo is entirely hand-linked — meaning that, where the neck joins the body, or the sleeve joins the neck, there is no discernible seam or bump. Just a flat, smooth, every-tiny loop-of-yarn-looped-by-hand-and-knitting-needle-onto-the-next-one link (as time-consuming and skilful as it sounds).
There is ribbing here and there on the polo — at the end of the sleeve, the hem, and on the collar, to help keep the shape nice and neat. Being machine-washable — at sensible cycles and temperatures — means that the tension of these ribbed parts, which slacken with time, can be easily restored.
Two yarns in equal part: the darker cotton and the lighter linen. The former brings structure, strength, and smartness for daily wear. The latter, meanwhile, dials up the breathability of the polo, its lightness, and, with the odd slub and fleck, the intangible quality known as character.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", more or less 12 stone, and is as standard a 38 chest as you could hope to meet. Fairly broad of shoulder, though, so he's wearing a size M.

Makers of

The garment is hand-framed by a knitwear maker founded 100 years ago. They work with small, hand-operated machines overseen by one person, rather than automated machines, making them one of the last makers still to do so in Britain. It is slow going, but the results always bear out the work put in.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons here in Birmingham."