Saman Amel hand-framed cricket sweater: Review

Wednesday, March 31st 2021
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Last week we discussed the fit of knitwear, using the example of a vintage-styled Stoffa knit to look at the current vogue for shorter, wider cuts. 

This week we have an interesting contrast: another made-to-measure piece, from Saman Amel, but in a more generous style. 

It is a heavy, four-ply cashmere V-neck, designed with a nod to old sportswear such as cricket jumpers.

It feels wonderfully luxurious, with a rich drape that comes from its weight, and supple hand that comes from being hand-framed - something Saman Amel have only just started offering. (And which, incidentally, the Stoffa piece was as well.)

But whereas Stoffa use a short, vintage-inspired cut for this type of knitwear, Saman Amel are tending towards the opposite, with a more relaxed cut. 

Indeed, while I had to have the Stoffa piece lengthened and slightly widened, I needed the opposite with the Saman Amel knitwear, with it being narrowed in the side seams.

I was measured for the knitwear last October, when I briefly visited Stockholm. The main purpose was to see the new Saman Amel trousers, outerwear and shop - of which there has been coverage here

But we also took the opportunity to measure for this new knitwear range, which is rather heavier than the normal two-ply MTM Saman Amel offers. (That range has also been reviewed in the past - here.)

Hand framing is knitting using a smaller than normal loom, operated by hand. It’s essentially the same machine as has been used since the 16th century, with the remaining ones kept on to do more delicate work that wouldn’t be suited to a modern power loom - such as lace work.

With knitwear, it allows a greater range of yarns to be used, particularly thick ones. It also makes decoration or particular types of fashioning easier (fashioning being the marks where the knit changes direction - as you can see around the neck of this Saman Amel piece, below).

Saman and Dag measured me using a grey V-neck as a sample - as shown above. But I liked the idea of going for cream instead, to recreate the feel of a cricket sweater. 

I’ve always liked the idea of cricket sweaters, but the ones I’ve bought in the past haven’t worked out. Partly I think that’s because they always had bold stripes around the V-neck; but partly it was the colour too - always a little too white, rather than cream. 

This piece corrects both those issues, and I like it much more as a result. It looks great with old jeans and a white polo shirt, as shown here; but also colour-wise with a white oxford and brown flannels, in a similar look to this Connolly outfit

Interestingly, I’ve found it hard to wear with any other colours of shirt. Even the palest blues seem to sit uneasily with it, and it’s the same with blue/white stripes. Pink works OK, but really only white shirts seem to do it justice. 

Returning to the fit. I received the sweater in December, and while it was great in every other respect, it did feel big in the waist. 

When I was measured, Dag had said that they were using a new cut for this type of knitwear, but I didn’t ask for details. The grey knit was also a different size, so that wasn’t a good gauge of the style. 

I showed Dag some pictures, and he said it looked as they would expect, but they were happy to make changes. It was a question of personal preference as well as style. 

I asked for 1.5cm to be taken off the waist on both sides. So that meant 3cm in total from the width, or 6cm off the circumference.

(As you can see below, they have left the excess cloth as inlay on the seam, enabling it to be taken back out again if needed. This does make the sides of the sweater a little bulkier, but only a little.)

The result is what you can see here. And while I do like it a lot, and I think it suits these more casual clothes, I am interested by how different to the fit is - both to other knitwear and to the Stoffa example. 

Unlike the Stoffa piece we looked at last week, the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater does not sit close on the waistband of the trousers, but is a little loose and drops below it. There is also more excess material just above the waist (again, refer back to last week’s piece for an explanation of the impact of these differences).

The cricket sweater is actually not that much longer than the Stoffa: it’s back length is 64cm, compared to the Stoffa’s 62cm. (And as noted last week, a RTW brand like Luca Faloni is 67cm.)

But the looseness in the waist means the knit drops lower, making it look longer. The measurement just above the ribbing on the Saman Amel is 49cm, the Stoffa 40cm, and Luca Faloni 42cm. 

To emphasise again: there is nothing wrong with this, it’s just different. It’s a style, like the choice of ribbing or collar. And it creates a different look. 

I just find it particularly interesting to compare the pieces and their measurements, after years of doing so with tailoring. Particularly when they were both made for me.

If you like the style, I can highly recommend the Saman Amel knitwear. It’s certainly not cheap, at €900 (€500 for merino), but as with the other luxurious things they do, it is the absolute highest quality and decent value compared to designer brands. 

The other clothes pictured here are my vintage Levi’s, a white Armoury polo shirt, and Alden LHS loafers

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

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Robin

Really nice .
Great fit and beautiful style . I particularly like the v neck .

In terms of price it’s what we’ve come to expect from Saman Amel.
Although there is lots of MTM on shirts , jackets , suits at varying price points there is none (I’ve seen) for pullovers / jumpers.

There must be a really good business model for someone to replicate this as a MTM but at a more affordable price.

Tamaki

I think 40 Colori is also made to measure and much more affordable. Simon reviewed a pullover from them some time ago

SO

A lovely piece and great outfit. A few thoughts.
– To my eye the waist does not look big, but is in proportion to the rest, which is fairly relaxed fitting overall. The shoulders seams are slightly off the shoulders too; there is balance and drape. The overall piece seems in keeping with your ambition to try more generous shapes.
– You don’t comment much on the v neck jumper dispensation! V necks seem to have fallen from favour a little in recent years. A shame. They frame the face really well. This is a fantastic example with a deep V and prominent ribbing. Drake’s have issued some in recent seasons, albeit in a lighter fabric. To me they have an appealingly home-knit quality. They look distinctively ‘different’ to most current knitwear and with knowing nods to classic elegant menswear.
In some ways you have to wait a while before you know if you’re going to bond with knitwear. It will be interesting to see what you think of the shape in six months or a year – if you are still uneasy with the amount of fabric at the bottom or it’s grown on you. It looks great to me.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Interesting article and very nice casual colour/texture combination. May I ask you what makes you (or Saman Amel) call it a cricket sweater though? It seems to me that apart from being V-neck a chunkier you removed all the details which makes it a cricket sweater.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Thank you, Simon. Deep V is something I missed, I supposed it was originally designed to be worn with a tie, unlike most of V-neck sweaters today.

Kenny

I agree that not all cricket sweaters have coloured bands but, in my experience, they all have a cable knit design. When coloured bands are present, they are often on the cuffs and across the bottom of the body too. I like your jumper very much but would wear it for golf or tennis.

My woollen cricket sweater is from Rochford Sports who specialise in making them in Somerset for clubs and college teams. The firm may have supplied Smart Turnout which disappeared a couple of years ago. Rochford’s current prices (from £65 to £81) are very reasonable and the quality is excellent – highly recommended!

Peter Hall

Really nice. I’ve always liked the cricket sweater, but am always discouraged by the wide ribs and,as you mention,the broad stripes.
Very much my personal taste, but I’ve always preferred the cricket sweater to be sleeveless-picking up a touch of colour from an Oxford underneath.

The hang is fabulous with a sensible vee.

Oscar

Lovely sweater!
Simon, What do you think about grey shirt underneath or even black/dark brown polo shirt? Not sure if could work as a cold color palette.

Ferdinand

How do you call these little “knots” right below the collar and where the arms hit the body of the sweater (i.e., where the knitting changes direction)? I’ve seen them on both expensive and (very) cheap knitwear, and really hate the look, to me it destroys the clean lines of the sweater.

Other than that, this is a fabulous sweater, and it doesn’t at all look as tacky/aspirational as “real” (cable knit and stripey) Cricket sweaters tend to do. My only point is that for a casual sweater, my tolerance for fit is quite large and I see no problem with it being a little loose, so I would never see a reason to pay 900 GBP for it to be mtm. Then again, if you would only recommend buying basics I guess you could have closed this blog 4 years ago 🙂 Also, 900 GBP isn’t that far away from a good 4 ply cashmere sweater anyways, right?

Stephen

A very stylish sweater. Is the stitch around the neck and the arm seams the fashioning you refer to in the article? Always useful to increase ones knowledge.
I really like the understated way that you have styled the sweater a great look.

Ben Smith

Simon, thanks for another interesting and informative post as usual! I was just wondering how Rubato knitwear compares both in terms of dimensions and the shorter and wider style to the Saman Amel jumper (above) and the Stoffa jumper you reviewed the other week. I am particularly interested as Rubato is RTW and a bit more affordable than SA or Stoffa. Many thanks, Ben

Julius

Great read as always, thank you. Can you please comment on why you dislike bold stripes in cricket sweaters? Is it purely a stylistic point?

Daniel Schmergel

Lovely piece, Simon, and I really appreciate the way you styled it here. Do you know if they offer virtual fittings, or does it need to be in person? And how long did it take to receive the first iteration of the sweater from the time you placed your order and conducted your initial measurements?

Daniel Schmergel

Excellent; thank you! I may need to have something similar made for next fall.

Noel

Hi Simon,

Interesting design and I certainty agree they cricket sweaters could do without the stripe to increase their versatility.

The colour is very nice and it seems to avoid the shininess usually associated with pure cashmere. It looks almost like Shetland which tends to have a more matte finish and therefore look more casual. Is this because of the yarn, knitting or merely an illusion created by the photography?

Hannes

Love the strap on the watch. What watch is that? Looks like JLC Reverso, or Cartier Tank to my untrained eye

Fatih

Lovely sweater Simon. I agree with you that a white shirt might be the most tasteful choice to combine it with. However, I can see bolder guys pulling it off with polos that have a color usually chosen for the V of cricket sweaters, like bordeaux, green etc. Do you know how “reliable” and accurate the remote fitting is that they’re offering?

JB

Excellent sweater. I live by their mtm knitwear program and I recommend it to everyone. The cashmere is superb but I think the merino, especially in the new 4-ply could easily be mistaken for cashmere unless directly compared. It’s that good.

In terms of fit, I much prefer this to the Stòffa piece, I think that would really have benefited from a similar fit.

Question, you’re referring to a sample knit in grey, but there are no pictures of one?

Bryan

In regard to colour combinations, cream and white are the classics of natural sports outfitting.

Stephen Gordon

A very nice sweater indeed. However, I do not like the wider aspect of it in the torso. If one has a trim shape it is more flattering to show that off. The wider look just looks like there are love handles hiding in there somewhere. And with a sweater one cannot simply have a tailor add darts in the back to rectify the situation. Therefore one needs to think long and hard about buying this long term investment piece.

Justin

Simon- mind my asking if you take a Small or medium in the Armoury polo? Thanks.

Ollie

Hey Simon,

This colour is amazing. I’ve got a navy 4 ply zip on it’s way right now.
You mentioned that you needed the opposite with this in comparison to the Stoffa knit.

You mentioned taking in vs letting out: Is Saman able to shorten the length in the same way that Stoffa can lengthen?

Patrick

Thanks for your recent posts on knitwear and for discussing cut and fit. I’m wearing more knitwear while working from home and proper fit has been on my mind, so I really appreciate these posts. It brings to mind the A&S shawl-collar cardigan (four-button), cut short and slim, which you’ve mentioned in the past. How would a piece like that avoid having the bottom rise up when you lift your arms?

Stephen

Great looking sweater!

I am after some advice but realise you may not be able to help in this case.

Over the past eighteen months I have been lucky enough to lose a lot of weight. This is to the extent that my chest has moved from over 44 inches to be 39 inches and my waist from 39 inches to 34 inches. I am 6 feet 1 inch tall. It’s great!

Now for the problem. Extra Large sweater sizes generally used to fit me. In most sweaters I am now a Medium in body size though. But manufacturers seem to reduce sleeve length in proportion to the reduction in chest and waist size. Maybe my arms are out of proportion to my body but I find that Medium sleeves are just too short. Body lengths are also a challenge but nowhere near as noticeable.

Other than buying made to measure, which is an expensive option, are you aware of a brand that allows one to specify sleeve length? On shirts this is often possible but I have not seen it for sweaters. Otherwise, I guess I need either to accept silly looking sleeves or a baggy body!

Realise this is a first world problem, by the way.

Eric

Simon,

I do wonder what you thought of the difference between the yarns used in the Stoffa sweater you reviewed and the Samanamel sweater you reviewed?

Do you find one is warmer than the other? Does one seem to fit easier under your sport coat?

Richard

Hi Simon,

I’m a big fan of the shawl cardigan and would like to experiment with having one made in an open or double breasted style – would you recommend Saman Amel or 40 colori for such a request?

Thanks

Anonymous

Hypothetically is it possible to alter an already finished knit sweater, and to shorten the body length and arm length?

R Abbott

Slightly off topic, but I’ve noticed a boom in the popularity of silk-wool blend sweaters. These aren’t completely new (very little is genuinely new) but a number of retailers and company have introduced these in the past 1-2 years.

Have you purchased any yourself and do you have any thoughts on the pros / cons? Is this something you would recommend?