Hey Sewists,

In my last post I described how I sew a tower placket on a shirt cuff. Well, today I’m going to fast forward to actually attaching the cuff.

This shirt is the ‘Four Fellows Shirt’ from the Ottobre Design Family magazine. I’ve made the jeans from this issue too. It turns out I did get a photo of me in the chambray version of this shirt while I was in New York. Not a great one, but we were having a great time so that’s what counts!

My current trend is to use sew-in instead of iron-on interfacing where possible (especially collars and cuffs) – I’ve had a few issues with the iron-on stuff bubbling up after a wash or two, that doesn’t happen to me with sew-in. You can machine baste the interfacing to your fabric, but when I’ve got some I like to glue-baste it with a washaway spray glue. This not only saves time but also keeps that little bit more thread on the bobbin to finish your project! Watch out for mess though – I use an old newspaper and turn the page for each fresh piece of fabric.

So in my last post I got the cuff plackets on. But before you can get to this stage of attaching the cuffs, you have to have completed the shoulders/ yoke, put the sleeves in and sewn up the sleeve and side seams. I’ve got tips on a burrito yoke Here and a great trick for easing in sleeves Here. But for now, on with that cuff…

Here I’ve used the one-piece cuff but this method works well with any cuff pattern – if it’s in two pieces, just sew them together along the long edge first.

1: Fold the cuff in half, wrong sides together and press the seam allowance of the under-section to the inside. (Here it is with all those placket pieces, you can ignore those now!)

2: Pin the outer section of the cuff to the end of the shirt, right sides together.


  • Start at the under-placket (remember to offset your seam allowance) and pin about 2/3 towards the over-placket.
  • Pin the over-placket side (again, remembering seam allowance)
  • Take up the excess shirt fabric into a pleat, pointing towards the over-placket, with the crease 2-3cm from the placket edge.

3: Do the same (reversed) on the other sleeve/cuff and sew the cuffs to the shirt.

4: Press the cuff (& the seams) away from the shirt and fold the cuff over, right sides together.

5: Stitch the short edges of the cuffs lining up with the edges of the plackets.

6: There are many techniques for turning a cuff – I prefer to simply press the seams over neatly on the stitching line and turn with a point turner.

7: If everything’s gone according to plan then the folded over seam allowance on the inside should match up perfectly with the stitching line. Pin (or glue-baste) this in place and sew it from the right side, close to the edge, catching the cuff edge underneath as you sew.

I sew once across to close the seam, then all the way around the cuff, then another line parallel to the attachment seam… it involves a little bit of reversing, but it looks like this…

I’m picking up some better habits as I go along and on obvious bits like this I leave my thread tails long so that I can tie them off at the end rather than backstitching. It’s all good sewing-karma!

So with a good press, it’s just the buttonholes and buttons to go. I wanted red buttons – I’m sure I’ve got some somewhere – but couldn’t find them. These purple ones will do nicely- and I can always swap them out if I find a better option. (Note to self: Keep all buttons in one place!)

Next up I’ll be tackling the collar. This is usually the trickiest part for me – it makes or breaks the shirt – but I’ve found a few tricks to help it go more smoothly.

Until next time… happy sewing!

Notes to self:

  • Measure the seam allowances before pressing – I don’t trust my eye-balling it.
  • Remember where you’ve bought your interfacing so that if it’s a good one, you can buy it again. Duh!
  • Seriously, sort out your button stash(s)!