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Fearless Placket: More Dress Shirt Construction

I love a professional, especially one who will roll up his/her sleeves and get down to it. A good sleeve placket cut to 6″ deep will make rolling up those sleeves so much easier. I think David Page Coffin’s placket in his Shirtmaking book, is the best I’ve found anywhere. but it used to strike fear deep into my confused and obsessive heart. No more! I think I’ve ended the fear. Follow me…into deepest, darkest placket process…

Believe it or not, there is only one seam. The rest is ironing the placket into shape and edgestitching it down.

Step one: wrong side of sleeve to right side of placket with the tall “tower” side of the placket toward the widest part of the sleeve, stitch 1/4″ around the slit, cut slit and clip into the corners. Remember that the taller side of the placket piece lies on the wider side of the sleeve! (I’m ripping out the seond sleeve as I upload these pix, sigh) So Pay Attention! And we’ll make quick work of this business.

Turn and Press. You now have a faced, .50″ wide cutout in your beautiful sleeve and you are working on the right side, the public side of your sleeve with the right side of your placket laying on top of it.

Most of the rest of the work will be done on the ironing board. On the shorter placket side, turn the far edge in .25″ and press.

Fold that strip in half over the cut edges

Topstitch a needle’s width away from the edge, this is called “edge stitching”.

Next, on the “tower” side of the placket fold in each edge where there is an arrow .25″. I made a little cut almost to the fold edge. Don’t bother with the seam allowance where there is no arrow…that will be covered by the handy-dandy placket “tower.”


Now, place the towering side of the placket over the first side and press into place.

See how the top cut edges are going to be covered by the “tower”?

Now edgestitch the tower and base down.

I went back and added a cross to keep everything inside from shifting around. This can also be done at the same time that you are edgestitching, with a little planning.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

26 responses »

  1. Oh, MB, that is gorgeous! I love that you matched the pattern – the hallmark of a fine quality shirt. If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate it every time you it! Hope Martini is feeling a bit better today – it’s cooled off here a bit today so we’re not sniffling as much here.

  2. Thanks MB for this great tutorial, these pictures tell us more than the written instructions. The matching placket is on of the keys which stands for a high quality bespoke shirt. Hope your Dave will appreciate all the time and effort you did put on this shirt. Be aware that he will never want to buy another rtw shirt ever again.

  3. This is so helpful. I’m bookmarking it for future reference. Thank you.

  4. Mary Beth,
    What a beautiful placket. The photos you include are priceless. The placket is impeccable. I “stole” a placket from another pattern that I use. Now I am going to dig out my Shirtmaking book and take a second look at that one. Like you, it use to scare the dickens out of me. This shirt is going to be so impeccable that it showed be framed and hung as an artpiece.

  5. Mary Beth,

    your tutorial and the in depth information on sewing a shirt are priceless!

  6. Mary Beth,

    Thank you for this. The David Coffin Page book is under my bed, shoved there by me in blind terror…I think it’s giving me nightmares.

    Power Sewing’s placket directions just make me weary.

    This is so friendly and …dare I say it? INSTRUCTIVE.

    Bless you!

    Terry in Chicago

  7. Briliant – absolutely brilliant!

  8. The DPC shirt placket construction method is the one that I have seen most often being made in sample rooms where I’ve worked. Yours looks like you’ve been making them for years. The stripe matching is very fine. I hope the recipient of this shirt will be suitably impressed. At least he will be suitably dressed!

  9. Wow, this was most helpful. Glad you posted this.

  10. great step by step pictures. this is exactly how wendy schoen tells you do to the placket in her walter pattern, and even though i was working on a size 1 pattern, it went in beautifully. great job on matching the stripe!

  11. Mary Beth, I really like those shadows in the photogs. Gives the whole tutorial a real film noir feel. I imagine Barbara Stanwick sewing a shirt for her husband the night before Fred MacMurray pushes him off a train (for the insurance money of course!).

  12. Peter: I had the same fantasy as I posted this tutorial. Difficulties with lighting prompted me to get a new camera with more pixels and a flash

  13. Hi, I want to know how many different types of plackets are there,. Thanks

  14. Gorgeous instructions. I just found this from a link over at Sigrid’s blog. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I’m biased preferring a method that’s a lot less work and less dependent on operator skill :). Here’s two alternatives from the apparel industry:

  16. Wendy Worthington

    Fantastic! It looks quite easy, thanks to you.

  17. The Best Method.

  18. An absolutely fantastic tutorial. Thank you!!!

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  20. thanks for this tutorial

  21. Thanks for the great breakdown. I was so stuck because I designed my own pattern but have no instructions. Sailed right through it.

  22. Just wanted to add my “thanks” to the others here on your post about DCP’s shirt placket. I just needed a visual to get started and yours did the trick! I think this is going to be my go-to placket from here on. I’m using Margaret Islander’s pattern too, but wanted a little more professional-looking placket and the line-drawings weren’t “clicking”. Now they do. Thank you!

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  24. I’m at the very beginning of my sewer life and I’m figthing against my firts shirt, you’ve sort of saved my life with this post. Thanks a lot!

  25. Beautiful work. I like a square top on a tower placket – I don’t know why we don’t see more of them.


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