I hope the run up to the Christmas holidays is going well for you? I’m pretty busy through December so not much sewing going on – not even Christmas present sewing!! But, with ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ coming up at work (and all over!) I’m putting together my christmas shirt (from the fabric I bought on my recent brief trip to Mood Fabrics in NYC).
I’m using the pattern Four-Fellows-Shirt from the Ottobre Magazine Family Edition. I was making a chambray one before I went to the USA, up against the clock! Well, I finished it in time, and I’m really happy with the finish, I wore it a lot during the trip. However, I was overzealous when I was folding the button placket and ended up having to take the collar in to fit the neckline. This has made it a bit tight across the chest, but by no means unwearable. It looks better with the top two buttons undone – so I wore a long sleeve tee under it in the winter and I’ll wear it open in the summer. Sorted!
Not to be beaten by the Four Fellows Shirt, I’m making it again. Rarely does everything come out perfectly, and it occurs to me that I should lay down a couple of the processes I use – to try to standardise my behaviour. It started a while back, ironically with the post Placket Hack – about shirt front button plackets. So after a long wait, here’s the next instalment of my #shirtdetails…
Now, I’m no guru, and there are plenty of other methods to try, all valid, this is just the method that works for me. It’s an amalgamation of my favourite steps in the order I like to do them in, from all the patterns and tutorials I’ve read over the last four years. If you’ve got a fool-proof or go-to-technique please share it…!
There are many different types of cuff placket. This one is known as the Tower Placket. I’m afraid I don’t know why… fact fans, please chime in! All the photos & drawings are of the left sleeve. Of course it’s easier to do both at the same time; just reverse the instructions for the other one.
1: Mark the slit on the wrong side of the sleeve, don’t cut it yet.
2: Carefully pin or glue-baste the RIGHT side of the placket to the WRONG side of the sleeve. Pin the LARGE one to the LARGE side and the SMALL one to the SMALL side and mark the top of the slit.
3: Sew around the slit with a 5mm seam – making a rectangle 1cm wide. Pivot at the corners with the needle down.
4: Snip up the centre of the slit. Stop 1cm before the end and snip into the corners – don’t cut into the stitching.
5: Turn the sleeve over and turn the plackets through. Make sure the shirt is lying flat and the triangle is turned to the outside too.
(This was the only stage I didn’t photograph… but you hardly noticed, right…?)
6: Fold and press the under-placket so that it just covers the stitching. Make sure it’s no wider than 1cm (so it fits in the gap).
7: Edgestitch in place.
8: Press the upper placket back over the under placket and press 5mm seam over on the long edge.
9: Fold it over so that the stitches are covered and fold the top point.
I don’t have any special tricks for this I’m afraid… I just do it carefully, use starch if the fabric is slippy and glue-baste it if it looks like there’ll be trouble! If all else fails, fold them square… there’s no shame in it!
10: Arrange everything neatly in place and give it a good firm press. Starch it too if it’s flimsy. Pin or glue it in place.
11: Stitch across the placket first – A: from the basted edge, catching the under placket underneath – B: Continue up, over the peak and – C: Once you get past the horizontal stitching, make sure the under placket is out of the way as you continue down the long side to the cuff edge.
12: Presto! It should look nice and tidy from both sides. All you need now is a little button hole and a button (or you could do it later…)
Here it is from both sides – without the scrawling all over it… tricky to see, but it’s there!
That’s got to be enough from me today! I hope you’ve enjoyed it? Stay tuned, if you’re interested and next time I’ll run through the neatest way I’ve got for attaching the cuffs.
Notes to self:
- The shirt pattern seems to have 3cm to fold over at the front, 1cm for seams and 2cm for placket – maybe I’ll add 1 more cm to make it a full 3-ply-fold…?
- Keep stocked up on basting glue!
- Stop making black shirts, they’re so difficult to photograph!
Your timing is good.
I have just made my very first collared shirt and followed instructions for the sleeve plackets. This was three days ago. I had to ‘step away from the machine’ at one point and seek therapy. The process fair ‘did me head in’ and my neuro transmitters are only just recovering.
But I survived the experience and gained valuable knowledge. I am already looking forward to my next collared shirt. Oh and I must add, after placket-gate, the cuffs were child’s play.
Many thanks for another great posting 😀👍x
😅 it sounds like I was a bit late with my timing! They really did my head in to start with! I just kept chanting: Big placket on the Big side!
Good luck with your next shirt 👍👏🙏🤞😀
I am making a placket template now. This is such great info, thank you Andrew. The tower placket is so perfect for a shirt and not included in most patterns.
I’m glad it’s helpful! Thank you 🙏 good luck with your plackets! 👍🙏👏
Tower plaket ’cause it looks like the tower with Rapunzel enclosed at the top
Really? That’s sweet! 👍🙏😊
Hi Andrew, Thanks for this article and helps a lot, I have a question when you sew in the sleeves on shirts do you do flat felled seams if so is this the traditional way. I have a felling foot for my machine but have not tried it on shirt sleeves, just interested in trying to find an easier method to get neater results.
Hi, I’m glad it helps 👍. I’m pretty sure flat felling is the traditional method, but I prefer French seaming; I get much better results and more consistent, but I haven’t practiced flat felled much… never tried the foot… I’d love to hear how you get on 🙏👏👍