Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET

Wait, are you totally confused by what a “button placket” is?  Not to mention a “partial” one?  Well, let me explain……button plackets are that thicker (reinforced) section of fabric that runs behind your row of buttons/snaps/etc…..generally found on button-up shirts.  However, sometimes there’s a partial button placket that only goes part way down your shirt (and many times on dresses).  But notice, that below the partial placket, there’s no vertical seam or anything else below it.  So, how in the world do you attach a partial placket without cutting the shirt all the way down??  Well, once the process is broken down, it’s not that tricky.  Really.

 

partial button placket 

 

The real reason for this tutorial is that I made a little Baby Blessing outfit for Oliver, that he wore a few weeks ago, that I wanted to share here.  (a “Baby Blessing” in our church, is similar to a “Dedication” in other churches.)  However, the outfit I made him has a partial placket down the front but since the fabric was all white, it was really hard to show in pictures how it was created.  So, I decided to show how to make a “Partial Button Placket” in easier to see colors/fabrics.

 

You know, in case you think they’re too hard to make. 

 

Because let me tell you, these plackets really aren’t very hard at all.  Just a little math (which I break down for you) and some ironing and folding.  (Don’t worry, I took a trillion pictures to help show each and every itty bitty little step.  I gotcha covered!)

 

Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET --- Make It and Love It

 

 

And yeah, this little onesie doesn’t actually need the functionality of a placket and snaps…..because the overlapping neckline of the onesie stretches open for a head to go through.  But I just used it as something to add a placket to.

 

Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET --- Make It and Love It

 

 

But I kinda like how this little placket (with snaps) spruced up this plain onesie, even though it didn’t need the functionality of it.  (However, you could easily get this look on your onesies by adding a fake placket by sewing on a strip of fabric and adding the one half of the snaps to it.  But that’s a whole different project…..this tutorial is to help you add functioning plackets when needed.  Remember the little pictures above?)

 

Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET --- Make It and Love It 

 

And even though this onesie is still a little big for Oliver (he wears a size 3 months and this is a 6 month onesie)…….I had to try it on him.  The placket should be a little shorter for his torso size (in my opinion), but this onesie almost fits him.  Ha!  But once he stretches out a bit more, the placket will hit him just right…..and so will with sleeves for that matter!

 

Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET --- Make It and Love It 

 

A placket can house buttons, velcro, snaps, or whatever other closure you want.  And whatever you choose, these little partial plackets add such a fun feature to clothing.

 

Now, no more being scared to add “Partial Button Plackets” to your clothing…..they really aren’t so bad!

Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET --- Make It and Love It

 

 

 

Okay, let me show you…

 

First of all, decide how long you want the opening of your placket.  This doesn’t include the extra bit of fabric that will fall below the opening (with the X sewn through it)……just the amount of the opening, to be sure it can fit over the subject’s head while open.  (But sometimes the length you decide on is just what you think looks good…..and will be way more than sufficient to fit over your subject’s head.)

 

Then, along the “wrong side” of your fabric (or the INSIDE of an already sewn shirt like I’m using), draw a line down the center of the shirt, starting right at the neckline.  (Using a ruler will help you draw a straight line.)

IMG_1289

 

 

Then, cut down the line, but cut 1/2 inch LESS than the desired placket opening length (that you decided on above). So, since I wanted my opening to be 6 inches long, I cut a 5 1/2 inch line down the center of this onesie.  (***BEFORE CUTTING, you may want to cut your placket pieces and attach them to the shirt like shown below and then cut down the front of the shirt.  However, since I was working with a tiny onesie, it was easier to cut the shirt first.)

IMG_1310

 

Now, time to cut your placket pieces.  You will need two strips, one that is a little longer than the other.  To determine what size to cut each piece of fabric, follow the calculation below for the length —

 

Length of Longer strip: desired opening length + 1/2 inch (seam allowance for the top) + 1 1/2 inches (seam allowance for the bottom, plus some extra

Length of Shorter strip: desired opening length + 1/2 inch (seam allowance for the top) + 1/2 inch (seam allowance for the bottom)

 

Then, decide how wide you want your placket.  You can make a nice narrow one or make it really wide and chunky.  Whatever you decide, multiply the desired width x 3….and that will give you the width for each piece of fabric.  

 

For example, I wanted an opening that was 6 inches long and a 1 inch wide placket.  So here are my calculations:

  • Length of Longer strip: 6 inches + 1/2 inches + 1 1/2 inch = 8 inches
  • Length of Shorter strip: 6 inches + 1/2 inch + 1/2 inch = 7 inches
  • Width of both strips: 1 x 3 = 3 inches wide

 

So, here are my 2 strips of fabric for my placket:

IMG_1295

 

 

 

 

Okay, real quick…….boys and girls shirts and pants open in a different direction.  Have you ever noticed?  Well, they do.  And I’ll be shooing you how to attach the placket for a “boy” opening.  But if you’d like to stay consistent with a “girl” opening, place your long and short strips opposite of what I do.  If you don’t care, just follow what I do down below.

 

Now, turn your fabric to the “wrong” side or the “inside” of an already sewn shirt/dress/whatever.  Place the longer strip of fabric (with the “right side” facing down) and line up the right edge of the fabric with the left opening on the shirt.  Let the top edge of the fabric hang over 1/2 inch above the neckline.  Make sure the edge of the placket fabric is matched up evenly along the cut edge of the fabric, and pin in place.

IMG_1312-1

 

 

Place the shorter strip of fabric along the right opening of the shirt, the same you did with the longer strip, and pin in place.  Be sure that the two strips are even at the top and meet together down the sides.  The longer strip on the left should hang down below the shorter strip by 1 inch.

IMG_1304-1

 

 

Now, sew the two strips in place along the two openings of the shirt, using a seam allowance that’s half of your desired placket width.  (So, since my desired placket width is 1 inch, my seam allowance for attaching both strips is 1/2 inch.  If you are trying to make a placket that is 1/2 inch wide, your seam allowances for these two vertical seams would be 1/4 inch.)  But instead of only sewing as long as the opening, add an extra 1/2 inch to the length of stitching.  So, what you’ll actually be sewing, is the length of the desired opening.  For example, my desired opening is 6 inches but I only cut a 5 1/2 inch opening…..but both of my lines of stitches are 6 inches long each.  (Remember, you have a 1/2 gap at the top too, because it overlaps the neckline by 1/2 inch.)

IMG_1320

 

 

At the bottom, you should have a 1 1/2 inch leftover gap on the longer strip of fabric and a 1/2 inch leftover gap on the shorter strip.  (The red dotted lines are your sewn lines and the green line is where your fabric is cut.  Notice how the green line ends 1/2 inch before the sewn lines do.)

IMG_1322-1

 

 

Now, flip the shirt to the outside (or the “right side” of your fabric).  Notice that all the fabric is on the inside of the shirt at this point.

IMG_1325

 

 

Then, cut two diagonal lines from the very bottom of the opening, down towards the very end of each seam.  Be sure to not cut through the seam or the placket fabric that’s on the other side.

IMG_1331

 

 

Turn the shirt to the inside again and if you move the fabric out of the way, it should look like this.

IMG_1341

 

 

Now, it’s time to start working with the shorter strip of fabric.  Take the shorter strip on the right and fold it all the way over to the left, folding it along the seam where it’s attached to the shirt.  Iron in place.

IMG_1343

 

 

Then turn the shirt back to the outside and pull this shorter flap to the front, through the opening.  The bottom of the strip should fit nicely through the diagonal slit you cut at the bottom of the opening.

IMG_1349-1

 

 

Here’s a closer look.

IMG_1367

 

 

Now, fold the right edge of your strip over 1/2 inch.  Iron in place.

IMG_1369

 

 

Then, flip this whole piece of fabric over to the left, so you are looking at the right side of the fabric.

IMG_1377

 

 

Then, fold the left side of the fabric back onto itself, exactly in half (with right sides of fabric together).  Match up the top and bottom edges of the fabric as well.

IMG_1384

 

 

Now, along the very top of the fabric, make a seam along the very top, securing all those layers together.  The seam should be 1/2 inch from the top (because that’s the extra seam allowance we gave it at the beginning)…..but things may have shifted slightly, so just sew right above where the neckline is.

IMG_1388

 

 

In fact, I think it’s easier to flip it over and sew on this side of the fabric, so I can see more of the neckline while I’m sewing.  And then I can get nice and close to the neckline without sewing through it.

IMG_1393-1

 

 

Now, trim off each corner without cutting through the seam.  (Want to know more about clipping corners?)

IMG_1404

 

 

Then, turn this strip right side out, encasing this side of the opening of the shirt.  The top should be nice and closed around the top of the neckline and the bottom should still be open.

IMG_1409

 

 

The open side of the strip on the left should line up exactly with the line of stitches that you can see on the shirt.

IMG_1414

 

 

Iron the fabric flat.

IMG_1415

 

 

Lift up the very bottom of the strip of fabric and fold down the little triangle of shirt fabric.  Keeping the triangle folded down, put the end of the fabric back down on top and pin in place.

IMG_1420-1

 

 

Now sew all the way down the left side of the fabric and across the bottom.  While sewing across the bottom, make sure that you are catching the folded edge of the triangle beneath it, within your seam.  **JUST BE SURE YOU KEEP THE FABRIC ON THE INSIDE OF THE SHIRT OUT OF THE WAY.

IMG_1425

 

 

Here’s a look from the outside of the shirt…

IMG_1426

 

 

And here’s a look from the inside of the shirt.  You can see I caught just the very edge of the fold in my seam.

IMG_1428

 

 

Now, keep the shirt inside out and let’s start working on the other strip of fabric.

IMG_1433

 

 

You’re going to be doing the exact same thing with this piece of fabric, just opposite since it’s on the other side.  Fold it over to the right and iron flat.

IMG_1436

 

 

Then fold over the left edge of fabric 1/2 inch.

IMG_1438

 

 

Flap the whole piece over to the right, exposing the “right side” of the fabric.  Then fold the right edge over onto itself, folding the strip exactly in half (with right sides together) and matching the edges together on the left and top and bottom.  Sew the layers together right along the top, right above the neckline, and then trim off the corners, just like you did above.

IMG_1441

 

 

Turn it right side out, encasing this edge of the shirt opening.  Iron in place.

IMG_1443

 

 

Now, make a seam down both edges of the strip, stopping right about where you did with the first strip beneath.  (The seam should be the length of your desired placket opening……so, in my case, my seams were 6 inches long.  But if they’re a little shorter or longer than your calculations, don’t stress.)

IMG_1467

 

 

Now, lift up the very bottom of your strip of fabric and fold under the end 1/2 inch.

IMG_1474

 

 

Press the fabric down.  If the ends of fabric underneath are overlapping or bulky, trim off some of the excess.

IMG_1483

 

 

Then, sew the end of this fabric down, right around the edges, creating a square of seams.  (Make sure any excess fabric is all hidden and folded underneath.)  Then, sew a large “X” through the box.

IMG_1488

 

 

Now, attach whatever type of closure you want.  You can sew button holes and add buttons, use velcro, teeny hidden snaps, metal snaps (like I did), etc.  (Need help attaching snaps?)

IMG_1499

 

 

Yes, lots of pictures……but not so bad, right?

 

Now add a partial placket to any ol’ thing you want.  And let me know how it works out for you!

-Ashley

 

Related posts:

Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Sewing Tips

Comments

37 Responses to “Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET”
  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! This is one of those things that would come in handy, but I never knew quite how to tackle it. Pinning for reference!

  2. 2
    Narda says:

    That is the best placket tutorial I have ever seen. Thank you ,I have always avoided them but I think I am now confident enough to try one

  3. 3
    Becky says:

    Please post a pic of the blessing outfit! We’re blessing our guy in two weeks and I’ve got an idea of what I ‘m making, but maybe yours will help even more! (I used Chloe’s dress as inspiration for the one for our daughter a couple years ago!)

    • 3.1
      Chelsey says:

      I second this!! I used Chloe’s for inspiration as well and am having a baby soon. Gonna need to whip up another little outfit once baby is born and I’m suspecting it’s another boy! Must see Ashley’s inspiration! :)

      • 3.1.1
        Ashley says:

        Oh good, glad that little dress was helpful! I will definitely be posting a tutorial for Oliver’s! And congrats on your little bubs growing inside!

    • 3.2
      Ashley says:

      Oh, I totally will. In fact, I was going through the pictures today for the tutorial. How funny that you used Chloe’s as inspiration all those years ago. I still love that little dress! And congrats on your baby boy! :)

  4. 4
    Kate says:

    I have been wanting to make a dress for my daughter with a button placket at the back for a while now. None of my sewing books cover this topic and I couldn’t find any suitable patterns using a placket either, so I have been examining her shop-bought dresses trying to work out how it was done. I’ve been putting off this project for ages, as I wasn’t sure where to start. You’ve saved me a lot of time and frustration. Thank you so much.

    • 4.1
      Ashley says:

      I know…..sometimes trying to figure out a store bought item is tricky. But once you see how it’s done, it’s like a magic trick was revealed….haha! This placket is useful for so many things though, hope it works well for you! :)

  5. 5
    Debbie C says:

    Thanks so much! You really create clear, thorough tutorials!

  6. 6
    Millie says:

    Your pictures are great. I have always avoided patterns with plackets. Now I think I can do one without the pattern. Thanks for your instructions.

  7. 7
    Nicki says:

    This is such a great tutorial! I have needed to know how to do this for a while, but have never known the correct way to do it. I even tried to make it up once and got not-so-great results. Thank you so much!

    • 7.1
      Ashley says:

      Haha…..I’m with you. Sometimes I try to make things up and it becomes a mess. No worries! But this placket makes homemade items looks really professional. Let me know how it turns out for you! :)

  8. 8
    Marleen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s as if you knew I’ve been searching for a great tutorial! I was actually so exited I told my husband when I saw the e-mail subject line… I want to use it to make a rugby style sweater for my son. Now I am confident I can do it! I saw a tutorial too, don’t remember where, that made the placket from 1 piece of fabric, that was cut down the middle after sewing it onto the shirt. That might be a nice idea for people who fear sewing knits close to the edges. I like your tuto better, it works easier with my brain. How do you find time to do this with a newborn?!? I hope you and Oliver are doing great.

    • 8.1
      Ashley says:

      Haha……that’s awesome! And so perfect! And yeah, I actually added in a little note in there about sewing the pieces of fabric to the shirt before cutting it…….and this would definitely help while sewing on knit. But since my onesie was so small, I had to cut it first. But thanks for the reminder to add that in! :)

      And haha, yeah, little Oliver is the sleepiest baby and naps a lot. And is just a very chill baby. But mostly, I work on these tutorials after the kiddos are all in bed!

  9. 9
    HW says:

    The very first lines you sew, what is the seam allowance? How close to the edge of the cut do you sew?

    • 9.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh my word….thanks for mentioning that, I completely forgot to explain that, because it’s different if you’re creating a wider or more narrow placket. Just added it in!

  10. 10

    GREAT tutorial, thank you. This is the first one I’ve read that gives me the confidence to try sewing with knits for the first time!

  11. 11
    Diane W says:

    Im going to pin this…. also, post a pic of the blessing outfit. Would love to see it.

  12. 12
    Louise says:

    Great tutorial. When are you going to print a book with all your wonderful sewing tutorials?
    I also want to see Oliver’s blessing outfit, he is a cutie!

  13. 13
    Sarah says:

    Your generosity in sharing this is much appreciated. I understand every step and it works like magic! Thank you!

  14. 14
    Anne says:

    Great tutorial! I have a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this evening that links to your how-to:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-add-a-henley-or-button-placket-to-a-shirt/2014/08/26/
    –Anne

  15. 15
    Rachel says:

    Where is the red dress from in your example photo?

  16. 16
    Renee says:

    Another great tutorial Ashley, thanks. I know how to do plackets, but love the idea of an usual material to jazz up a plain onesie! Thanks, I will definitely make some for my new granddaughter!

  17. 17
    Sarah R says:

    This is perfectly timed. My little girl just moved into the 12 month size of clothes, but one of my favorite shirts in that size has such a small neck that she cannot fit in it (but the shirt itself is too big to wear when her head was smaller!). I have been thinking about trying something like this, but I had no idea where to start. Honestly I did not even know it was called a placket. Thanks for all your information and tutorials. You make me feel like I could sew amazing things.

  18. 18
    Celine says:

    Thank you! This tutorial is really useful and it could be used on so many things.

  19. 19
    chelsea says:

    This is SO perfect! Im having a baby in September and I wanted to do this to some t shirts so they are nurse-able! Thank you!

  20. 20
    cheryl says:

    I’m a little confused on the measurements and sewing. On the short (inside right). the fabric measures 7 ” (1/2″ on top and 1/2″ on bottom past the end of cut. If I sew 1/2′ inch past the cut, I’ll be right at end of fabric. You picture doesn’t seem to show that, it looks like there is still 1/2 inch of fabric. I’m stopping at this step because I’m not sure I’m doing and measuring right? Please help! Thanks!

  21. 21
    Bhavini says:

    Simply superb!! Thanks a lot.

  22. 22
    Kevin says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ….

    I have tried 3 other websites directions… read hundreds more …. this is the first one that has (FINALLY) given me the desired results. Now I can finish my own ribbon shirt, without pulling all my hair out while working on the front button area. (And it seems to me that these same directions can be re-used on the cuff area as well, will have to try that next :D )

    Thank you again… on very grateful reader.

Notes and Comments