Shirt Self-Education: One-Strip Sleeve Placket
Thursday, March 23, 2006
When you consider that the sample shirt was probably sewn by a 12 year old, it might make you feel a little inadequate since you didn't think of this one-long-strip method of sewing a sleeve placket.
OK. It made *me* feel a little inadequate. I have been sewing for many, many years all my life, and it never crossed my mind to try a placket like this. We must learn to think outside the sewing book.
I tried it several different ways and went through two samples before I got it. I tried sewing the underlap first, then stopping and sewing the overlap, then the house-top. Nope. After several attempts, I thought "Surely they don't just sew it like a women's placket??"
Try it yourself. Make a sample with a slit marked 6.5 inches long. Mark stitching lines at 1/4 inch on either side of the marked slit. For the placket, cut a strip 2.5 inches wide by 14 inches long.
Next, cut along the slit line. Cut a Y angle when you get within 1/2 inch of the end. There is no need to stich around this slit first, like you might with a women's placket.
To prepare the strip, I cut a file folder to help press the seam allowances. My outer piece is 2.5 inches wide with the seam allowances scored and folded upward. (That is, the base is 2 inches and the seam allowances of 1/4 inch each are folded upward.) The inner strip is about 1 13/16ths and forces the fabric into a sharp crease at the seam lines. (I got this idea straight off KF's blog entry here.)
This "jig" as Kathleen calls it was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around, but it makes it all work. I don't know about you, but I have a terrible time pressing things uniformly. With the jig, it's brainless and quick--not to mention fewer burned fingers.
Take it from me: Take the time to make the jig.
Next, fold the strip almost in half. This will make the finished sleeve placket 1 inch wide on both underlap and overlap. When you fold it, make the underside just slightly wider than the upper side to help you catch it when you sew. You can see the underside of mine just peeping out here:
Now to sew it onto the slit. Place the right side of the sleeve (or sample) up and align the folded edge of your placket strip with the stitching line marked on the sleeve. Don't forget to put the wider underside of the strip against the wrong side of your sleeve.
When you get to the Y, gently straighten it out and tuck it into the strip. Go slowly. You might have to raise the presser foot and adjust your layers as you sew across the Y.
Finish up by stitching down the other side.
Now you're almost done. All the slit's raw edges are enclosed and it looks neat on both front and back. When you remove it from the machine, it will look something like this.
To make the peak, lay the sleeve right side up and fold the overlap side outward into slightly more than a right angle.
Then fold the overlap back over the underlap, forming the peak. (This is easier with thinner fabric, although not impossible to do with a hefty-weight.) You might have to fuss with it a bit to get the peak perfectly even. (Or you might not need to be perfect!)
Press it, and mark the topstitching. Check your closet to see how far down you want it. I marked these 1 inch down from the beginng of the peak fold. All that's left is to topstitch!
In Mr H's closet I only found one shirt whose sleeve placket was not sewn this way. It was sewn the way that KF shows in her blog. Unless I'm sewing corduroy, I plan to use this method in shirt sleeves from now on. It's so much easier to remember than all that turning and stitching and clipping that I used to do. I'm all for easy to remember!
I might even try it on corduroy.