Placket Week continues! One of the things you guys suggested for the Kalle Shirtdress pattern was some more advanced shirt-making options (in fact, I think it was Sophie who suggested we include a hidden button placket). I’d never made a hidden placket before I started working on this pattern, and I was happy to discover it’s not that complicated to sew – just a few extra steps than the standard placket we discussed earlier this week.
If you’ve never encountered one before, a hidden placket simply has an extra fold of fabric on top of the portion you sew the buttonholes through, essentially hiding the buttons from view. It creates a clean, minimalist look, and with our pattern you can use it on any one of the three length variations.
To start, stabilize the left shirt button placket (the “under” placket). Cut a 1″ wide piece of interfacing as long as your shirt front, and apply it in between the first set of notches on the left shirt front, on the wrong side of the fabric. To prepare the right shirt front (the side where we will be attaching the hidden placket), trim off the excess as indicated on your actual pattern piece. Here is what your pattern pieces will look like (I’ve highlighted the interfaced area in pink so it’s easier to see).
Now it’s time to interface the hidden placket. Rather than interfacing the entire thing (which would create too much bulk and stiffness) we only need to interface two areas; the layer that will include the buttonholes, and the top layer that will hide this portion.
Before we sew the placket to the shirt, press it like an accordion along the indicated notches. Press in the seam allowances as well; this will make it easier to sew later.
It’s easier to install the buttonholes now. Use the buttonhole guides on your pattern piece, or use a ruler or seam gauge to locate them. I always suggest holding the pattern piece up to your bust to determine the best location for you. I generally like a slightly more open shirt front, so I always locate the bust button first and then equally distribute the remaining buttonholes from there. One thing to note if you are making the cropped shirt; the hem facing will eventually conceal a portion of the hidden placket. If you are going to shift the location of the buttonholes, make sure you will not be sewing one of your buttons closed by comparing the front facing and hidden placket pieces.
Sew your buttonholes centered on the second fold of your placket. If you need help sewing the buttonholes, see this post.
In the instructions, at the end of the hidden placket installation we tell you to use a few handstitches to sew it closed in between buttonholes to prevent gaping. However, I recently learned it’s faster to machine stitch through the placket at this step. You will have visible stitches on the bottom of the placket, but if you hate hand-sewing, this will save you some time. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of what this looks like before the placket is sewn to the shirt. Try to visualize it: open up your placket and sew in between the buttonholes through the second, third and fourth layers, leaving the top interfaced layer unsewn. I used a thin bar tack to secure the stitches. Here is what this technique looks like when finished:
Once the buttonholes are sewn, it’s time to attach the placket to the right shirt front. Pin into place and ensure the right side of the placket is being sewn – the buttonholes should be further away from the center front seam. If you’ve already tacked down the placket in between the buttonholes as I just suggested above, the placket will not be as wide open as shown in the following image.
Stitch the placket to the right shirt front and press the seam towards the center.
Fold the placket closed and press. Ensure the seam allowance on the bottom is folded under and concealing the stitch line. If your seams are thick, grade them now, ensuring the seam touching the outside of the placket is left longest. This ensures you don’t have a big thick seam allowance showing on the right side, but rather a gradual “stepping down” of seam that will be invisible from the outside of the shirt.
Pin the placket in place from the right side, ensuring the bottom seam allowance is folded under neatly along the stitch line you made earlier.
From the right side, topstitch the placket down 1/8″ away from the seam line. Ensure you are catching the folded seam of the placket on the wrong side with your stitching (you can use an edge stitch foot here for more even results). It will look this when you are finished.
If you didn’t machine tack the placket closed in between the buttonholes, you can do that now with a few hand stitches.
You still need to finish the left shirt front;I covered how to do so in this post so we’ll finish up today with the plackets sewn on either side of the shirt front.
And that’s it! Not so complicated, right? We’ll be finishing up placket week on Friday, when I cover installing a tunic placket. Let me know if you have any questions!