Zipless Pullover modification

At a request for zoom friendly tops that feel like sweatshirts, and have pockets, I experimented with the Leslie from 5 out of 4 patterns. The pattern is fabulous as is. My husband found this textured fleece in my stash and suggested our daughter would love it. A lighter weight fleece is a great way to start with this pattern due to the square neckline, corners and lots of layers. I skipped the zip for two reasons. 1. She is a fiddler. The last thing she needs to be doing is fiddling with the zipper on her collar during a work meeting, and 2. Despite the massive amount of zippers I have in my stash, there were none this color. Turns out that made things even more simple to put together. This is a great way to try out the pattern for fit and style before attempting a zipper. A confidence builder.

  1. Print and cut your size. Read through the tutorial that comes with the pattern. There are some really nice videos that are super helpful.

Cut out the following:

Front, back, sleeves, pocket, hood center back, and most critically, two mirror image side A hood pieces. The side B was designed to use the additional width that the zipper supplies to fit within the neckline. Don’t use that one for this project. Mark the center back neckline, and center back of the hood piece to help align them when sewing.

2. Sew the three piece hood together. Topstitch if you like, makes the inside a bit cleaner. Finish the edge with binding. I used fold over elastic.

3. Sew shoulder seams.

4. Prep the neckline. Staystitch the lower square neckline of the front piece. Use matching thread and with a shorter stitch length of 2, stitch from an inch above the inside corner of the neckline across the bottom and back up an inch. If you look closely, you can see my stay stitching on the wrong side of the front. It is sewn at a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, so I do not have to remove it later.

Front neckline staystitched.

5. Clip corners of the stay stitched neckline. Use your sharpest scissors to clip diagonally into the corners.

6. Pin the collar overlap. Baste the three lower edges together from pin to pin in the photo below at a scant 1/4 inch seam.

7. Attach the hood/collar to the body. Pin the right side of the lower edge of the hood/collar to the right side of the open neck edge. I pinned just outside the diagonal cuts. Double check to be sure you have the 1/4 inch of the hood/collar free on either edge, outside of the pin. With your work placed so that the hood collar is underneath, and the body is on top, we can begin sewing. the designer recommends basting this in place with a longer stitch. A stitch length of 3 is good, as it can be fairly easily removed, but will still hold and with this much loft you would want a longer stitch. Place the needle down at one corner, just inside the pin, and right on top of your stay stitching or basting stitches. Sew at this precise corner spot with a zero stitch length for a few stitches. Then stitch across the straight portion to the next corner, as pictured below. Stop precisely at the corner and make one or two stitches in place.

Sewing to the second pin across the bottom of the placket.

8. Stopped at the corner. Since I pinned just outside the corners. I could sew right up to my pin. Once I had made a few stitches in place, I removed the pin, and with the needle still firmly sunk into my fabric, I lifted the presser foot to pivot. There is a lot of excess fabric in the foreground of the below photo. We will deal with it in the next photos.

9 Sink that needle. All the way down.

10. Time to Twist and Shout! Needle still firmly sunk, lift your presser foot. Leave the bottom layers of the hood/collar as they are, arrange the top layers of the body of your sweatshirt, so that they are now swung around to the left and behind the presser foot. You can see a tiny bit of the staystitching in the photo below. Align the raw edges here, lower the presser foot, and stitch to the next spot where the notch in the hood/collar meets up with the shoulder seam. Next stop center backs, and after that the other shoulder seam and notch. You may want to switch to a stitch with more stretch to to around the sides and back of the neckline.

11. Almost there! In the photo below, we are getting back to where we started. You can see the initial stay stitches in the photo below. There will be excess fabric here just like there was at the first corner. Just manipulate it out of the way, so that you can minimize any puckering or tucks. When you get to that precise corner spot where you started, you can back tack or make a few stitches in place. Cut your threads and inspect your work! If you see puckers or tucks, now would be the time to correct them.

12. Neaten your stitches. The photo below is the inside of the neckline after serging around the sides and back only. It is optional. I left the straight part of the neckline without serging, because it was already pretty bulky with those layers. To tame the layers, you could stitch across that straight edge a second time.

13. Topstitch the neckline. This is optional. From the right side of the garment, I started at the back of the neck in the photo below. You can see the seams of my center hood on the left side of the photo, and a shoulder seam in the foreground. The seam is pressed towards the body and I am sewing just to the right of my seam, using the inside of my foot as a guide to keep my stitches even.

Close up of neckline finished and top stitched. I am happy with the outcome!

Add the pocket, sleeves, and finish the rest the sweatshirt. Now that you have conquered the zipless version, go forth and be the boss of the zipper! And then maybe the welt pockets.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission from the pattern designer if you choose to purchase the pattern with this link. I certainly appreciate it if you do.

Here is my affiliate link. https://5outof4.com/product/leslie-top-tunic-and-dress/?affiliates=162

Wishing you happy sewing! Joan

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