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Placket Tutorial

May 19, 2010

I’m participating in A Frock By Friday, an online sew-along where women across the country world work on a dress step by step through the week to finish by Friday.  It’s led by Kathleen of Grosgrain.

The end result will be this fabulous dress.  I chose a super lightweight denim for my dress and decided against using a contrast fabric.  I decided to use a placket, a traditional menswear detail, on my dress front to give it some cowgirl flair.

Here’s what I did.  This tutorial (mostly) follows the steps laid out in David Page Coffin amazing Shirtmaking.

First, let’s see the finished product.  The buttonhole layer of my placket is 7/8 inch wide and the button layer is 3/4 inch wide.  The placket is roughly 19 inches long.

Step 1: Cut the placket out.  You’ll need to cut out a rectangle 4.5 inches by 21 inches.  Why?  Well, since you’re curious, the formula is

seam allowance + 3*button layer width + 2*button hole layer width

In this case that’s .25 + 3 x .875 + 2 x .75 + .25 = 4.5 inches wide.

Place your placket face down and cut a 2 inch by 2.75 inch rectangle out of the bottom right corner.

Let’s take a minute to orient ourselves.

Step 2: With the wrong side of the fabric up, fold the long side and the short side under by ¼ inch.  Press.

Step 3: Marking your fabric.  You will make 4 lines total, 3 on the placket and one on the dress front.  Put the placket face down.  You’ll be able to see the edges you folded under.  Make a line 1½ inches from the folded short edge.  Make a line 1¾ inches from the folded long edge.  Make a third line ½ inch from the long part of the bottom.  The photo should make it clearer.

Marking the dress front is easy: mark a line down the center of the dress on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 4: Sewing the placket to the dress front.  Place the dress front face down on the table.  Place the placket face down on the dress front.  Position the placket so that the center line of the dress front is between the long lines you drew on the placket.

Pin the placket in place and sew the placket to the dress front along the lines you drew on the placket.  The stitching will be in a U shape.

Step 5: Cut a Y shape between the lines of stitching.  In the photo I’ve fanned it out so that it’s clear where I’ve cut it.

Step 6: Turn the whole placket to the right side of the dress front.

Here's what it should look like when you've turned the placket to the right side of the dress front. You shouldn't press it like this. I'm just trying to keep you oriented.

We’re going to work with the short side (the eventual button layer) of the placket first.  Press the seam towards the placket.  Then fold the placket back to the seam line and press again.  Here’s what it should look like, I’ve pinned the edge back so that you can see the seam.

Step 7: Sew two lines of top stitching on placket.  This side of the placket now encloses dress front.

Step 8: Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the long side of the placket (the eventual buttonhole layer.

Step 9: You’re almost there!  You can probably see what need to happen to finish this.  Let’s take a look at the bottom of the placket.

Clip your threads and fold the short edge over carefully as shown.  Pin it in place.  Check to make sure the wrong side of the dress front also looks like the pictures and sew in place.

The right side of the dress front. When you sew the short side of the placket in place, you'll be sewing where the pin is.

Here's the wrong side of the dress front. See the pin?

Step 10: Fold the long edge of the placket over the short edge.  Turn the end of the long end under.  You may decide to trim the long end a bit; that’s fine.  Press and sew the distinctive X at the bottom of the placket.  You’re done!

A close-up of the finished product

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 12:46 am

    Hi, I’m new to your blog. I came over from Grosgrain’s blog and the Frock by Friday post for today. Thanks for providing this tutorial, I’m really wanting to learn more about sewing apparel. This is a wonderful bit of information! Now…which way to sew???

  2. May 28, 2010 1:50 am

    HI Rachel
    just found your tutorial at Grosgrain, can’t tomorrow to try this technique.
    thank you for sharing!

  3. Ruhammie permalink
    May 31, 2010 2:48 am

    I am in the middle of attempting this and when I sew the shorter part on before folding the longer part over it, my main fabric puckers. Did I cut the center too wide, sew the seams too wide or iron each side of the placket too narrow? Thanks for any insight.

    • May 31, 2010 12:08 pm

      It sounds like your center opening is too wide or too narrow. Without seeing pictures, it’s hard to say which one it is.

      Play around with the sides of the placket. Is there a way to to move the pressed edges slightly to make it lie flat?

      • May 31, 2010 4:47 pm

        AH! I figured out what I did wrong. I measured those first lines from the EDGE of the fabric, not the FOLDED edge, so my center part is 1/2″ too wide!! Now I need to figure out how to take care of the bottom where I already cut the “Y”. Any suggestions?

    • May 31, 2010 8:38 pm

      So the problem is that the gap is too wide and when you make the buttonhole layer cover the button layer, puckering happens?

      I’d take a tuck in the bottom of the placket to take care of the puckers. Some designers do this intentionally, so it should look OK. Here’s an example:

      http://www.hotpatterns.com/products/hp1029-plain-simple-superfantastic-shirt

      Good luck!

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