Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shirt Sleeve Placket - up close look

This week I am catching up on projects I set aside in July.  I cut out and started sewing the Liberty of London cotton shirt which is based on an existing garment, posted about here and here. I rarely make shirts, in fact there are a few categories of clothing I never make for myself.  These include jeans, t-shirts, almost any kind of button front blouse or shirt, swimwear, shorts, and gym wear.  There are only so many sewing hours in a week, and being someone that for the most part has made all my dresses, suits, jackets and coats it is a pleasure to walk into a store and select a pair of jeans or a shirt to wear immediately. To tell the truth, shirts are something I should tackle.  I could make a silk blouse for a fraction of the price in the department store.  Perhaps I will, since I have now shed my fear of plackets.
I think I had a bad experience once upon a time with plackets, plus they are so fiddly, consequently I have often avoided them.  With this blouse project, there was no avoiding, so I did some playing around with placket samples and now I have a fool proof placket that looks good inside and out.
This is not an original idea but a recreation of the menswear style shirt plackets I found among the examples hanging in my closet, with a healthy dose of tips from my various sewing books.

To start, create the placket pattern.  This is a case where I don't use the pattern pieces that came witth the pattern, but draw up my own. (Of course for this project I made the pattern myself so no envelope pattern piece to ignore). Below is a sample, in muslin and the sleeve in quilting cotton, so you can see the components.  Make the placket pattern piece longer than the opening you want in the sleeve, you can cut the excess off after sewing.  The widths are noted, then the solid lines add 1/4" to the placket and are also the fold lines.  The smaller white piece starts as1" wide, fold in 1/4" each long edge, and then fold in half, plus fold back top edge 1/4".

Sample placket 3
I think that some placket fear stems from the fact that you have to slash the sleeve to create the placket.  No good can come from slashing.  OK, an exaggeration, but how many times has the slash maneuver gone wrong.  Don't get me started.  The saying - measure twice but cut once - really applies to the slash. I think also on this slash, in fact on the whole placket, it is really important to work on both sides at the same time, having them on your worktable as mirror images, so that you end up with a right and a left.  No fun to create lovely left sleeve and then another perfect left sleeve, aaargh.  

First sewing step is to apply the under placket piece, rather like a tiny seam binding. Shown below, pinned and sewn. The folded edge of this little piece is at the top of the slash, and creates a nice finish. 

Sample placket 4Sample Placket 5

Next step is to apply the upper placket piece. I neglected to take a photo of the inside, to show that the shorter side of the folded placket is matching the top folded edge of the under placket piece. The horizontal pin marks the point where the stitching will be horizontal to catch the two sides of the placket and stitch off the top of the slash point. 

Sample Placket 6

After stitching, this would end up as the left sleeve.  Please ignore my slightly wobbly stitching.  
Sample placket 7Sample Placket 8

A look at the finished placket in the Liberty cotton fabric.  It disappears which is just what I want in a sleeve placket. By using the measurements noted above, the placket pieces overlap and keep the sleeve bottom measurement as it was before it was slashed.

Liberty shirt placket

Back to the sewing room, lots to finish today.  And tomorrow a fabric shopping excursion to Stone Mountain fabrics with fellow blogger Jean of J.Kaori Designs.  Looking forward to that!

Candycane dahlia
Things in the SunnyGal garden are looking a little dreary, we are at the very dry end of summer and nothing new is blooming.  A few dahlias are still bringing a bit of color. Here is a dahlia I bought years ago in a pot and have divided many times.  I always think it would be so nice if it bloomed at Christmastime as it is peppermint candy cane colors.   

Happy start of fall sewing,


  1. I love the look of your placket - it looks very professional and discreet when made on the LIberty fabric - which is gorgeous by the way. I'm looking forward to seeing your finished shirt.

  2. I too am looking forward to seeing your finished liberty shirt. The print is just gorgeous!! And yes, that dahlia would be perfect for the Christmas table... would it be possible to bring it inside and force a flower?

  3. Fantastic placket tutorial. Thank you! And great idea about working in pairs.

  4. Thank you for the tutorial! Sleeve plackets, ugh. I've never done a real one, just the BWOF single bias strip all around. This looks a lot more doable.