Open front Leslie

It was a joy to test the newest sweatshirt pattern from 5 out of 4 patterns. Jessica really knows her sweatshirts, and we are at the beginning of cold weather here, so the timing could not have been better. This my version of Leslie. I have a preference for a cardigan style, so I can put on or remove my outer layer without messing up my hair. It also works for when you just want to cool off a little bit, and open the cardigan without completely removing it. Folks with limited mobility, or nursing mommas might appreciate it as well.

To begin, I altered two pattern pieces. Both the front, and the shawl collar. For the front, I simply folded back the few inches of the center front. I marked where the seam lines of the bottom of the placket and the top of the shirt would normally meet, and created a new “notch” or marking both there and on the other side of my shawl.

For the shawl collar, I just extended the shawl side B to almost match the full length of the front piece. I left the front piece to be about 3/4 inch longer. I opted to use the fuller shawl piece. Cut four shawl pieces (mirror images), and two fronts (not on the fold).

Optional pocket. Cut a strip as wide as the lower edge of this front piece and about 2 inches deeper than your desired pocket. I cut this from scraps.

Note my sharpie curve of the point of the shawl collar. I did not cut this here, but will stitch this later, and trim it off.

First things first, pockets. One simply needs a pocket in everything, and this Leslie Cardigan is no exception. I finished the top of my pocket strip, then placed my front right side down on my table, then the pocket also right side down on top of that and stitched across the bottom with a slight zig zag. 1 wide 3 long.

Under stitch. In my book, under stitching is like permanent ironing. With the seam towards the body of your front piece, stitch 1/4 inch from the seam line with the seam securing the main fabric and seam allowance. This will roll the seam to the back of your garment and make the next steps easier. It also reinforces the bottom seam of your pocket.

Flip and staystitch. Flip the pocket back round to the front, make sure the bottom seams are where you want them and stay stitch either side. Repeat for the other side of your front. *Note for the adventurous here. Ignore the adventurous tips for your first version please.

Shawl collar, Sew the center seams as directed, then place the two shawl collars right sides together. Stitch all the way round the outside edges only. In the photo below, your can see where I curved the point a tad. Do this for both sides and trim the seam allowance. Speaking of trimming the seam allowance. If you are sewing especially thick fleece, or do not want your collar to roll out, trim 1/4 inch off the outer edge of this curve from point to point on the collar that will be your under collar before sewing them together. **Adventurous sewist tip here.

Sew the bottom hem of your shawl collar. Each side please.

Turn your shawl right side out, and top stitch the outer edge and hem. I am a top stitching fan for the same reason I like under stitching. It is optional. What is not optional in my sewing teacher’s opinion is basting. Please take the few minutes to baste the inner curve of your shawl pieces together. It will save you more than a few minutes of ripping later.

In the photo below, I added a pin to my “outer ” collar. It is just a smidgen bigger than the inner one and gives just a hint of puffiness.

Inside collar view.

Pin the collar to the body. With the inner collar facing the right side of the body of the garment, pin along the edges, matching the front bottom edges, notches, center back, then add more pins in between as needed. Stitch all the way round. I used a 4 length with a slight .5-1 zig zag for stretch. After you decide you like it, you may clean finish the edge if desired. I used the overcast stitch on my sewing machine for two reasons. Matching thread, and it can handle the multiple layers of fleece more happily than my serger can. ***Adventurous tip here.

Top stitch this seam towards the body of the garment. Go slowly over the pocket area since it has many layers. Take care when you start and end, and use an awl or other tool to squish the seam allowances into the underneath part, so the stitches catch them and hold them securely out of sight.

Clip your threads, so that they don’t show up on a super close up. Then go ahead and serge the hem edges of your back pieces and sleeves. If you flat sew your sleeves, now is the time, otherwise you will be sewing them later, in the round.

Pin and sew your side seams. If the universe is happy with you, your back piece will be about an inch longer than your front pieces. Use this to roll round the edge of your nicely finished front piece. Snug is key here. Make your side seam. Repeat for the other side.

Notice the tidy stitching. Now you can serge if you would like to.

Flip the seam open, and surprise! Ready to hem the back side.

Hem the back. I used a wider zig zag 2 wide 4 long to account for the horizontal stretch. Add and hem your sleeves if you haven’t already, and you are done!

This would make a lovely long robe.

A note about shawl collars. This one could be cut on the fold. Just fold back the seam allowance and go for it. I did that for another version where I had a lot of fleece in that particular color. This one was cut side by side, so I have enough fabric to make a pair of Susie pants to coordinate.

This post contains affiliate links, wherein I may receive a small commission from the pattern designer if you use my link to purchase their pattern. It is no additional cost to you and I really appreciate the support.

Happy sewing! Joan

For adventurous sewists only. You will need a separating zipper that is the length of the spot where the seam allowance at the tip of the shawl collar starts, down to your hem. It can be shorter if you want to leave a few inches at the bottom of yours without a zip. It is up to you to choose on this adventure. This will vary per size, and per length option chosen.

  • For a zip on the left side of your front, install one side of your zipper here from your hem line to about 5 inches above the notch we made in the second photo. *
  • It will later be enclosed in the seam where the shawl collar is attached here. ***
  • The other side of the zip will be installed here. ** You are responsible for determining which side of the shawl collar it goes on and which side faces up. On the version I made, this is where the zipper pull side of the zip was sewn. Perhaps a reversible separating zip might make the whole process easier, as it would be hard to get the zip in “backwards”.
  • The version I made for me with the full zip did not have pockets, although I installed invisible zips on the side seams where a pocket might go. I hope to install pocket bags at some time in the future. I wore it over a sweater that did have pockets, and was able to get to them , so it may be a while.
  • Happy Adventurous sewing! Joan

A different twist on an Ally Protohaven mask

Earlier this year, I popped over to my local hardware store to pick up some widgets.  It is walking distance and they have everything I really need from seeds to manure, to canning jars, and pvc parts.  Well they do not have fabric, but that is ok.  Some of the employees were wearing masks, others were not.  Many of they folks that work there sport beards.  From goatee to full on mountain man.  I had been mask making, and wondered how one masks up with a beard, and googled when I got home.  I actually made some for them.   The pattern has multiple sizes of regular masks as well as the beard option and has become one of my favorites.  It pops out from my mouth, so I can talk with it on, without mask climbing into my mouth.   Straight lines and simple, interesting construction?  Yes please!  

A dozen Ally Protohaven masks finished and waiting for ties or elastic!

I found the pattern here and printed it. Then I traced it on to some news print folding it at the seam line, so I could eliminate the long top seam, since I wanted to make these up quickly. The crease of the paper is where the seamline would be on the printed pattern. A friend liquidated her quilting stash, and these fit on fat halves I got from her quite nicely. I then stacked the fabrics, wrong side up, lightest color on top. I traced around the paper pattern with a yellow sharpie. There was enough fabric left to squeeze some pieces of this mask from Tie Dye Diva as well. It has smaller pieces, and I like to conserve fabric. Cut the outer edges with ruler and rotary and inner angles with scissors.

Fold each piece in half along the seam line, or fold line above, and make the first seam. I call this and L seam, as that is its shape. I do not see it often, but use it all the time. It really helps the opening from popping stitches when the mask is turned right side out. It is worth making that 90 degree turn and stitching into the seam allowance. Leave about an inch and a half open for turning later. In the past, I have sewn the long seam then turned just before the space for the opening, but you can see that I missed that step on the second one. In my most recent batch, I started with the short 1/4 inch seam an inch and a half from the folded edge, then turned to make the longer seam. It worked in helping me to remember.

“L” seam made in the first side.

The second side is simple and fast. Just chain piece from seam/fold line to the end. Chain piecing helps to save thread and keep tiny pieces from falling down the needle plate. The one on the bottom in this photo has the L seam.

Second seam sewn.

Next, open the mask and match up the seams you just made, so they nest against each other, and sew across them. I used pins to keep the seam allowances pointing away from each other in the photo.

Squash folded and sewn seam.

Next, to free up the seam that will eventually be at your chin, clip either side of the center, just about 1/2 inch from the center seam. Careful not to clip your stitches!

Clip about 75% into the seam allowance on either side of the crossed seams.

This part can be simple or tricky. The simplest next step is to sew the right and left remaining seams together. Just do that! Everything will be fine.

Brain teaser option: If you want to be complicated, like me, and save a fraction of a second of sewing, tuck the solid seam made into step one, inside the “L” seam made in step two, and align all four edges together like in the photo below. Stitch from folded edge on the top middle of the photo past the previously sewn seam. Simply folding them in half and sewing will not work. Just ask my seam ripper.

The resulting Polygon has five sides as shown above.

Once you have the mask turned right side out, it will look like the photo below. Press the edges of the opening under, press the mask, and top stitch all round, 1/8 inch from the edge. An edge stitching foot is helpful here.

Freshly turned mask.

We are getting there! Fold the corners of the mask in towards (but not all the way to) the center to form the casing. The pattern has you double fold this, but I like the triangles. I normally sew one, using a 5/8 inch guide from the edge to form the casing, then sew over previous top stitching to form the triangle. Fold the mask in half, and fold the other side so that they are symmetrical before stitching that triangle. Thread a single tie or elastic through the openings, strap on and go! I use about 50-60 inches of twill tape.

Finished mask.

If you want to get really fancy, make a reversible mask with this method. Below, I cut 5.5 inch wide strips, serged either side, and alternated the direction of the masks when cutting. This is a stack of six pairs of strips. “Mass Production” and “Reversible” are both vying to be my middle name. For your first time, you may want to try a single layer at a time.

Hope you have fun and stay safe with this. There might be an affiliate link in this post. This means that I may receive a small commission if your purchase a pattern using my link.

Happy Sewing! Joan