Instead of the disastrous ribbed version I decided to make up some cotton knit fabric into a burgundy roll neck top.
This fabric is smooth and seems to have 2 right sides, it was relatively hard to pin into and looks like it will be very hardwearing. I don't know what the fabric would be called.
Using exactly the same pattern pieces I also made the same top in a variegated lightweight knit. This shed all over me and needed a lot of cleaning up with a lint roller, hopefully since all the edges are overlocked or coverhemmed it'll be ok in wear.