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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sleeve plackets

The latest issue of Threads has a wonderful article on tailored sleeve plackets. Pretty important I thought because the old seamstress's continuous placket is a bit of a problem and something I would put in the vast category of things that sewing guidesheets tell you to do that cannot possibly really work out.

I read a while ago that there is a big difference between how tailors sew and how home dressmakers sew. It turns out that the apprenticeship system taught male tailors certain techniques but that in the old day women were excluded and had to teach themselves, from patterns, from looking at clothes and trying to figure it all out, and from family members. So there are different ways of construction, the tailored way and the more home made home sewer way. Interesting. I know that there are ways I sew a hem for instance that are totally different from the way a male tailor would sew a hem. Blame it on the guilds.

Anyway the continuous placket is a problem. For a start it all occurs in a small space, a couple of inches near a wrist. People are sensitive about what is around their wrists (like their waists). How many of you remove a watch the minute you get in the house?


The continuous sleeve placket I figure not only is small and near your hands but has about 12 layers of fabric involved in it, counting both sides, which if you think about it is a very unmanageable amount of bulk in a small area.

No wonder they are clunky no matter how you press them.

So the Threads article about a flat tailored placket was good to see. It is a method I have used and like.

I also use a quick serged method, that is light, easy and takes about 5 minutes per placket. If you haven't done a placket this way yet you might find it interesting. It requires no marking, and substitutes a rolled hem edge for the actual placket part.

1. Make the cuff, complete. You can even make the button hole and sew on the button at this stage. Just stitch and turn each cuff and machine baste the raw edges at the top of the cuff together. Done.
2. Slash the sleeve up along the cutting line for the placket. No other marking necessary.
3. Pull the slash straight and with the rolled hem of your serger finish the slashed edge. Done.
4. Fold the sleeve, wrong sides together, matching the rolled edges of the slash and sew a tiny dart, a couple of inches long from a point about 1/2" below the top of the rolled hem/slash and fading the point into the body of the sleeve. (see illustration).
5. Baste the finished cuff, right sides together to the bottom of the sleeve. Wrap the 1/4" or so of the finished placket edge around the cuff.
6. Serge cuff to sleeve.
7. Turn and press.

Not the classic way to do this, but neat, bulk free and durable.

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