Tutorial: Sewing the Placket on McCall’s M6885 Shirtdress

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern. On the McCall Pattern Company blog

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 Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing patternseam 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.

Step 11. Press under edge as directed, but as in step 3, take steps to ensure your edge is pressed under an even 5/8.Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern

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]

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing patternAt 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.

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern
Here’s how I sandwiched, or placed, the pleat seam allowance in between the plackets before I stitched the box in Step 17.

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.Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern

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.

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern
The finished tab to my version of M6885. I added the X in the middle for a decorative touch.

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


How to Add Sleeves to a Sleeveless Pattern

How to add sleeveless to a sleeveless garment. From a Vogue Patterns Magazine article

Have you ever fallen in love with a dress or top pattern, but then decided against it because it didn’t have sleeves (and you really wanted it to)? For whatever reason—chilly offices, modesty, less-than-toned upper arms—sometimes you want a sleeve.

Fortunately, adding a sleeve is something you can do on your own without too much hassle. It boils down to matching armscye shapes with sleeved patterns you already own. We wrote a step-by-step tutorial on adding sleeves in a 2011 Vogue Patterns Magazine article, and you can download it here:


Let me know in the comments if there are other pattern how-tos you’d like us to blog about. Thanks, and we hope this helps!

Adding sleeves to a sleeveless garment pattern is easier than you think. Step-by-step directions in this free PDF tutorial by Vogue Patterns Magazine.


Must-Have Top For Fall: The Crossover Top


People StyleWatch September wrap and crossover tops
People StyleWatch for September says wrap or crossover tops are “so of-the-moment and flatter everyone.”

Pick up any fashion magazine these days and you’re bound to find a wrap top on this season’s must-have list. The crossover style of wrap top is super-popular right now, and you can easily make your own version with McCall’s M6991.

McCall's M6991 crossover or wrap top.
McCall’s M6991 crossover or wrap top.

Scroll down for a couple of tips for sewing this pattern. But first, some inspiration:

Top by Young, Fabulous & Broke, Revolve.com
Crossover top by Young, Fabulous & Broke, Revolve.com
Crossover top by MICHAEL Michael Kors, Nordstrom
Crossover top by MICHAEL Michael Kors, Nordstrom
Top by 10 Crosby Derek Lam, Neiman Marcus
Crossover top by 10 Crosby Derek Lam, Neiman Marcus

Sewing Tips for M6991:

  • VERY IMPORTANT: Choose a fabric that is the same on BOTH sides. The front pattern piece is a single pattern piece that is twisted. If you use a fabric with a right side and a wrong side then half of your bodice will show the wrong side. You can’t use a charmeuse, for example, with a shiny side and a matte side, unless you’re going for a half shiny, half matte look. Examine your fabric thoroughly in daylight and from all directions to make sure there’s not even a subtle difference in nap or sheen.
  • Fabrics that work well: crepe, georgette, jersey, washed silk, chiffon. Go for something with a gentle drape. If you dropped your fabric on the floor it should fall into a soft puddle.
  • Make a muslin first of just the front piece. We did our best with the instructions but when you have a large pattern piece that you have to do strange things to it—like twist it—it’s best to walk through it first with a muslin. Cheryl, one of our designers, said she struggled a little bit sewing her first version of this top, but that her subsequent versions went together in a flash. She recommends playing first with a muslin of the front pattern piece.
  • We include a fold-over self facing on the front pattern piece. If you’re an intermediate or advanced sewer who is used to making pattern modifications, you can eliminate the facing and use a narrow hem instead. Just make sure you add the hem allowance to the facing edge.
  • Omit the button if you plan on wearing this top over a cami.
  • You can also omit the yoke back facing if you want. Just clean-finish the seams using your preferred method.
  • If you don’t want the dropped back hem as we show in version B, then cut your pattern on the lines indicated for version A.
  • UPDATE: I just made View D of the pattern, the one with the shawl collar. FYI, it runs big! I could have gone down a size or two, though I think it looks good when it’s a little blousey.

I am currently sewing version D of this pattern, a wrap top with a shawl collar, but I want to make this crossover top too. What do you think of the crossover top style? Does it work for you?