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Shirt Sleeve Plackets

Sleeves which close at the wrist with a snugly-fitting cuff require an opening to insert the hand. The sleeve is slashed and the slash is finished with a placket of some type before the underarm seam is sewn. Cuffs are attached after the underarm seam is sewn.

Examples of shirt sleeve plackets
sleeve placket examples
From left to right:
1) man's plain placket; 2) man's triangular placket; 3) woman's triangular placket; 4) continuous sleeve placket

Free pattern for a decorative shirt-sleeve placket

Click on the image to go to a printable page with the pattern at actual size.

This is the pattern used in examples #2 and #3 above.
It is also the pattern used in my Durham College Sewing 2 class, with sewing instructions given below.

How to sew a shirt sleeve placket

[Click on the photos to see a larger image]
1. Prepare the placket
prepare placket-1
  • press the seam allowances on both sides of the placket to the wrong side

  • open up the seam allowance on the long side again and press the upper extension in on fold line #1
prepare placket-2
  • fold again on fold line #2, over top of the previous fold; press so that the second folded edge is just hidden by the first [you should have formed a perfectly symmetrical triangle on the upper extension]

  • press the long side seam allowance in again, covering the cut edge of the triangular fold

2. Stitch the placket to the sleeve
  • lay the right side of the placket on the wrong side of the sleeve; be sure that you are placing a Left Sleeve placket on a Left Sleeve and a Right Sleeve placket on a Right Sleeve [the shorter side of the placket should be closest to the underarm edge]

  • align the cutting line notches and the two dots on both pieces

  • use a short stitch length to sew the placket to the sleeve by stitching on the stitching line [1/4” from the cutting line], stopping and pivoting exactly on the dots

stitch placket

3. Cut the sleeve opening
cut sleeve
  • cut the sleeve and placket open on the cutting line, angling into the corners from about 1/2” before the top

  • clip into the corners right up to, but not through the stitching

4. Turn the placket to the right side
  • first, on the wrong side, press the placket over the seam allowances, toward the opening

  • fold the placket piece through the opening to the right side of the sleeve

  • finger-press the upper seam to be sure it lies flat [if not, you need to correct your clipping into the corners]

5. Edge stitch the under placket to the sleeve
stitch underplacket
  • position the pressed edge of the under placket so that it just covers the previous stitching line

  • press; [there will be a pleat in the placket fabric above the corner of the opening]

  • edgestitch in place

6. Stitch the upper placket to the sleeve
  • position the pressed edge of the upper placket just over the previous stitching line

  • press carefully to maintain the triangular shape of the upper placket

  • use pins or a fabric marker to indicate exactly where the upper dots of the slashed opening are (these become the pivot points for the next step)
  • edgestitch the upper placket in place: the arrows indicate the stitching direction
    > start at the wrist edge, stitching up and around the triangle to Pivot #1
    > stitch across the placket to Pivot #2
    > angle up to the bottom of the triangle
    > pivot and stitch straight across to the other side
    > angle down to Pivot #1 and stop exactly on the previous stitching

Inside view of the completed sleeve placket
completed placket WS
  • the styled topstitching encloses all the raw edges and finishes the opening on the wrong side of the sleeve

  • note how the upper placket overlaps the underplacket: This allows the cuff edges to overlap so they can be buttoned

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