Today I’m sharing tips on how to sew the placket on one of our most popular shirtdress patterns, McCall’s M6885. Members of our Shirtdress Sew-Along Facebook group have commented that parts of the placket’s construction are confusing, so let’s see if I can help clear things up. (I’ve made this pattern twice now and I’ve got plans to sew it again soon, that’s how much I love it.)
The front placket takes up steps 2-17 in our instructions. Let’s go through them step by step:
Step 2. Reinforce the dress front. Follow as directed but let’s take it a step further: Stitch a 5/8 seam line all the way around the placket opening, reducing the stitch length to 1.5 to 2.0 at the corners and across the bottom edge of the placket opening. [Fig. 1] Double-check that your stitching is 5/8 from the opening all the way around. Clip to the corners (circles on the pattern tissue) but not through the stitching; just right up to the stitching. Note: Stitching around the placket opening isn’t necessary but it will help you stitch accurate seams in this area. Just remove any stitching that shows through after the placket is attached.
Step 3. Press seam allowance. Follow as directed but first stitch a 5/8 seam line along the edge you’re going to fold and press. Let your machine do the measuring for you—it’s fast, accurate and easier than eyeballing things. Stitch the 5/8 seam line, then fold and press along the seam line so it’s not visible. Trim the seam.
Steps 4-7. Attaching the left front placket. Follow these steps exactly as directed.
Step 8. Reinforce right placket as directed. Make small stitches (1.5-2.0) at the 5/8 seam line through the circles, then clip just to the stitching but not through it.
Steps 9-10. Follow as directed but make sure you’ve stitched a neat, symmetrical point here before you trim and turn out.
Steps 12-14. Follow these steps exactly as directed.
Steps 15-17. These final steps I think are where some of the confusion may result. So let’s break it down. Step 15: Make the pleat as directed and baste. Baste the pleat in place, extending down at least three inches to really hold it in place. Baste across the upper edge to secure this part and make it behave when you stitch the placket in place. [Fig. 2]
At step 16 you are lapping the right band over the left, matching the top edges and the circles. Where our directions get a little vague is what to do with this little triangle-piece of seam allowance [Fig. 3]. What I recommend is that you sandwich this little seam allowance between the two placket pieces. Baste the plackets in place in this area before you stitch.
For step 17, stitch as we direct. You will be making a box that looks like the photo below (I added the X part to my box):
When you’ve finished your box stitching, then you can open the placket wide and trim off that little seam allowance triangle that’s poking up. Be very careful here—cut slowly and watch that you don’t cut into the plackets.
The piece of the placket shown in Fig. 4 is a tab and isn’t meant to be stitched in place, but this is strictly a matter of personal preference. Stitch it down if you like.
That’s basically it for making this placket. It’s not hard at all, especially if you are working with nicely-behaving, lightweight wovens. Just remember to
- take your time
- be as precise as possible in your stitching (set your machine speed to slow here)
- avoid using eyeballing as an accurate method of measuring anything
You will be so pleased with your finished placket that you’ll be posting tributes to it on Instagram. I promise! Now get out there and sew some shirtdresses! #shirtdresssewalong