I would be lying if I said I didn’t do some really dorky happy dancing after finishing each of the placket ends on our Durban Jumpsuit samples. My perfectionist tendencies were at an all time high (knowing that there would eventually be close up images of them posted across the internet didn’t help!) and I definitely had to have a few gos at a few of them to get the top stitching *just right*. But I got there in the end and I don’t want to brag about it….but….HOW BEAUTIFUL DID THEY TURN OUT!!! I’m not sure if there’s anything more satisfying then a nicely sewn placket.
With each jumpsuit I sewed, they got better and better as I tweaked and refined my method to what worked best for me and I ended up picking up a few tricks along the way – which is what I’m going to share with you today! My top 10 tips for a great looking placket. So if you’re a perfectionist looking to step up your placket game, or just someone wanting a little extra support with this step of Durban’s construction – I’m here to help!
Tip #1 Practice
If you’re nervous – that’s ok! You can always do a little practice by cutting out a small section of the front crotch and the bottom of the placket from your fabric scraps to do a little trial run first. After you’ve done it once, you’ll know the process and feel so much more confident when you go to do the real thing.
Tip #2 Reinforce
Reinforcing the pivot point with two little squares of interfacing on the wrong side of the pants fronts is an easy way to stabilise the area to prevent warping and bubbling, as well as protect the fabric from unraveling and tearing as you work. I like to put them on before drawing my pattern markings and doing my stay stitching so I can still clearly see the pivot point.
If you’re particularly nervous about your pivot point being under pressure while you’re sewing, you can hold off on snipping into the point of the placket corner until after you’ve attached the plackets*. After I’ve snipped into the point, I also like to do a small zig zag stitch along the snipped edge which is hard to get to on an overlocker.
*just a quick note – to do it this way you’ll just need to sew the plackets with your garment inside out which we’ll talk about in tip #3!
Tip #3 Change Your Perspective
In the Durban instructions, we talk about sewing your plackets into place with your garment turned out the right way. This is just one way to do it though, and if you feel like you’re not getting the visibility or angle that you need, you can turn, flip and rotate your garment to sew it in whatever way works best for you!
I personally like working with my garment turned inside out and either sewing with the placket facing upwards so you can keep an eye on the position of it’s folded edge or with the garment facing upwards – so you can see where your crotch curve stitching starts (at the pivot point). I find doing it this way, instead of pulling the seam allowance to the outside of the garment at the snipped point, makes it easier to get the placket’s folded edge and my stitching nice and close to the pivot point. But hey, that’s just me!
Tip #4 Reduce Bulk
We talk about trimming back seam allowances in the instructions of Durban, but it’s worth mentioning twice. The less bulk you have in the points of your plackets, the nicer they are going to sit together and the more even your top stitching is going to look. I trim along the length of the placket, the angled edge of the placket and some of the bulk in the folded corner opposite your stitching.
Tip #5 Perfect Your Points
To get a great looking placket, make sure when you are turning them out the right way that the points of their corners are nicely pushed out. Use a tool like a chopstick to poke them from the inside or my preferred method of using a pin scooped into the folds of the point to wiggle them out from the outside. Just be careful not to over-do it and bust out the corner!
With your corners nice and sharp, give your placket a good press to settle everything into place before top stitching. Another thing to be careful not to overdo though is pressing the chunky sections & edges of the placket end. With some fabrics, particularly ones like viscose, when you press a bit too firmly you can end up with shiny & compacted spots on the outer fabric layer above these thick parts. One way of reducing the pressure on these points is to put some cloth underneath the single layer sections of your garment, right up beside the placket’s edge, so you are pressing the whole pants front on the same level as the thicker placket. This also helps avoid the big dips you get when the pants front is pressed against the edge of the placket below to form a little ledge.
Tip #6 Top Stitch However Works For You
Like with the placket sewing, figuring out what works best for you is always a good way to go. I found that after sewing a couple of Durbans, in my first row of top stitching that runs around the edge of the placket & facings, I liked to leave out the short angled edge of the top placket that will sit on the outside – sewing it as part of my triangle instead, so it was the exact shape that I wanted.
For the placket that goes underneath though, I prefer to sew the short edge as per the instructions in my first row of stitching, to make sure that even if the plackets didn’t line up perfectly and my top stitched triangle didn’t manage to catch all of the under-placket’s edges – it would still be enclosed!
Tip #7 Baste
When I read Nastasia’s tip in the placket & inseam post of using wash-away hem tape to keep the placket ends in place I did a mental facepalm – what a genius idea! I had just been pinning them this whole time and pins can really get in the way when you’re trying to top stitch.
If you don’t have access to wash-away tape, another great option is simply basting the placket ends in place! With it pinned in place exactly how you want it on the front of the garment, stitch with a constrast colour thread (to make it easier to unpick!) on the underside of the garment.
It’s a good idea to stitch nice and close to edges of the inside placket to give yourself an idea on the other side the boundaries you’ll need to keep your stitching within to make sure you catch both plackets in the top stitching (although as I mentioned earlier – it’s not the end of the world if your plackets don’t align perfectly and don’t both get caught in absolutely all of the triangle top stitching).
Tip #8 Guide The Way
Making out where you need to top stitch, instead of just eye-balling it, makes it so much easier. You can use chalk or erasable pen, but I’ve had the most success with 3 bits of masking tape to sew along the inside lines off.
Make sure that the top flat edge is perpendicular to your placket edge, that the point of the triangle you mark is centred on the crotch seam and that your triangle is nice and symmetrical, so the two short edges are the same width and angle from the centre point. I like to use the end of the button placement guide pattern piece as a reference!
Tip #9 Reinforce – Again
When you’re getting in and out of your jumpsuit your placket end is going to be put under pressure, so to ensure it is nice and strong and all your hard work stands the test of time – do a second row of stitching along the top edge of your triangle. Easy, neat & effective!
Tip #10 Tidy On Top
Another way to protect your top stitching from coming loose once you’ve back stitched (or instead of back stitching, for an even neater finish), is to pull your top & bobbin threads to the wrong side of your garment and tie them in a secure knot. Then you can use a needle to hand sew the ends into the placket before you trim them off and take a step back to admire your beautiful work!
And that’s it! Our 10 tips for sewing a great looking placket! If you find any of the things we talked about today helpful, or have tips of your own you’d like to share – don’t forget to let us know in the comments section below. We’re all about helping each other and sharing knowledge!
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Here’s the full list of Durban posts and tutorials:
- How to Choose Between Durban & Durban Curve
- Inspiration & Ideas
- Durban Tester Roundup & Durban Curve Tester Roundup
- Fitting & Alterations: Lengthening & Shortening
- Fitting & Alterations: Grading Between Sizes
- Fitting & Alterations: Bust & Armscye Adjustments
- Prep, Stabilizing & Darts
- Bodice Seams & Sleeves
- Sleeveless Facings
- Inseam, Patch & Back Pockets
- Combining Bodice & Pants
- Placket & Inseam
- Placket Tips (this post!)
- Closures, Hemming & Belts
- D-Ring Belt
- Durban Maker Roundup