Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Learn To Sew » Sewing Tips » Sewing Tips: How To Sew a PARTIAL BUTTON PLACKET


Wait, are you totally confused by what a “button placket” is?  Not to mention a “partial” one?  Well, let me explain……button plackets are that thicker (reinforced) section of fabric that runs behind your row of buttons/snaps/etc…..generally found on button-up shirts.  However, sometimes there’s a partial button placket that only goes part way down your shirt (and many times on dresses).  But notice, that below the partial placket, there’s no vertical seam or anything else below it.  So, how in the world do you attach a partial placket without cutting the shirt all the way down??  Well, once the process is broken down, it’s not that tricky.  Really.



The real reason for this tutorial is that I made a little Baby Blessing outfit for Oliver, that he wore a few weeks ago, that I wanted to share here.  (a “Baby Blessing” in our church, is similar to a “Dedication” in other churches.)  However, the outfit I made him has a partial placket down the front but since the fabric was all white, it was really hard to show in pictures how it was created.  So, I decided to show how to make a “Partial Button Placket” in easier to see colors/fabrics.


You know, in case you think they’re too hard to make.


Because let me tell you, these plackets really aren’t very hard at all.  Just a little math (which I break down for you) and some ironing and folding.  (Don’t worry, I took a trillion pictures to help show each and every itty bitty little step.  I gotcha covered!)




And yeah, this little onesie doesn’t actually need the functionality of a placket and snaps…..because the overlapping neckline of the onesie stretches open for a head to go through.  But I just used it as something to add a placket to.




But I kinda like how this little placket (with snaps) spruced up this plain onesie, even though it didn’t need the functionality of it.  (However, you could easily get this look on your onesies by adding a fake placket by sewing on a strip of fabric and adding the one half of the snaps to it.  But that’s a whole different project…..this tutorial is to help you add functioning plackets when needed.  Remember the little pictures above?)



And even though this onesie is still a little big for Oliver (he wears a size 3 months and this is a 6 month onesie)…….I had to try it on him.  The placket should be a little shorter for his torso size (in my opinion), but this onesie almost fits him.  Ha!  But once he stretches out a bit more, the placket will hit him just right…..and so will with sleeves for that matter!



A placket can house buttons, velcro, snaps, or whatever other closure you want.  And whatever you choose, these little partial plackets add such a fun feature to clothing.


Now, no more being scared to add “Partial Button Plackets” to your clothing…..they really aren’t so bad!




Okay, let me show you…


First of all, decide how long you want the opening of your placket.  This doesn’t include the extra bit of fabric that will fall below the opening (with the X sewn through it)……just the amount of the opening, to be sure it can fit over the subject’s head while open.  (But sometimes the length you decide on is just what you think looks good…..and will be way more than sufficient to fit over your subject’s head.)


Then, along the “wrong side” of your fabric (or the INSIDE of an already sewn shirt like I’m using), draw a line down the center of the shirt, starting right at the neckline.  (Using a ruler will help you draw a straight line.)



Then, cut down the line, but cut 1/2 inch LESS than the desired placket opening length (that you decided on above). So, since I wanted my opening to be 6 inches long, I cut a 5 1/2 inch line down the center of this onesie.  (***BEFORE CUTTING, you may want to cut your placket pieces and attach them to the shirt like shown below and then cut down the front of the shirt.  However, since I was working with a tiny onesie, it was easier to cut the shirt first.)


Now, time to cut your placket pieces.  You will need two strips, one that is a little longer than the other.  To determine what size to cut each piece of fabric, follow the calculation below for the length —


Length of Longer strip: desired opening length + 1/2 inch (seam allowance for the top) + 1 1/2 inches (seam allowance for the bottom, plus some extra)

Length of Shorter strip: desired opening length + 1/2 inch (seam allowance for the top) + 1/2 inch (seam allowance for the bottom)


Then, decide how wide you want your placket.  You can make a nice narrow one or make it really wide and chunky.  Whatever you decide, multiply the desired width x 3….and that will give you the width for each piece of fabric.


For example, I wanted an opening that was 6 inches long and a 1 inch wide placket.  So here are my calculations:

  • Length of Longer strip: 6 inches + 1/2 inches + 1 1/2 inch = 8 inches
  • Length of Shorter strip: 6 inches + 1/2 inch + 1/2 inch = 7 inches
  • Width of both strips: 1 x 3 = 3 inches wide


So, here are my 2 strips of fabric for my placket:

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Okay, real quick…….boys and girls shirts and pants open in a different direction.  Have you ever noticed?  Well, they do.  And I’ll be shooing you how to attach the placket for a “boy” opening.  But if you’d like to stay consistent with a “girl” opening, place your long and short strips opposite of what I do.  If you don’t care, just follow what I do down below.


Now, turn your fabric to the “wrong” side or the “inside” of an already sewn shirt/dress/whatever.  Place the longer strip of fabric (with the “right side” facing down) and line up the right edge of the fabric with the left opening on the shirt.  Let the top edge of the fabric hang over 1/2 inch above the neckline.  Make sure the edge of the placket fabric is matched up evenly along the cut edge of the fabric, and pin in place.



Place the shorter strip of fabric along the right opening of the shirt, the same you did with the longer strip, and pin in place.  Be sure that the two strips are even at the top and meet together down the sides.  The longer strip on the left should hang down below the shorter strip by 1 inch.



Now, sew the two strips in place along the two openings of the shirt, using a seam allowance that’s half of your desired placket width.  (So, since my desired placket width is 1 inch, my seam allowance for attaching both strips is 1/2 inch.  If you are trying to make a placket that is 1/2 inch wide, your seam allowances for these two vertical seams would be 1/4 inch.)  But instead of only sewing as long as the opening, add an extra 1/2 inch to the length of stitching.  So, what you’ll actually be sewing, is the length of the desired opening.  For example, my desired opening is 6 inches but I only cut a 5 1/2 inch opening…..but both of my lines of stitches are 6 inches long each.  (Remember, you have a 1/2 gap at the top too, because it overlaps the neckline by 1/2 inch.)



At the bottom, you should have a 1 1/2 inch leftover gap on the longer strip of fabric and a 1/2 inch leftover gap on the shorter strip.  (The red dotted lines are your sewn lines and the green line is where your fabric is cut.  Notice how the green line ends 1/2 inch before the sewn lines do.)



Now, flip the shirt to the outside (or the “right side” of your fabric).  Notice that all the fabric is on the inside of the shirt at this point.



Then, cut two diagonal lines from the very bottom of the opening, down towards the very end of each seam.  Be sure to not cut through the seam or the placket fabric that’s on the other side.



Turn the shirt to the inside again and if you move the fabric out of the way, it should look like this.



Now, it’s time to start working with the shorter strip of fabric.  Take the shorter strip on the right and fold it all the way over to the left, folding it along the seam where it’s attached to the shirt.  Iron in place.



Then turn the shirt back to the outside and pull this shorter flap to the front, through the opening.  The bottom of the strip should fit nicely through the diagonal slit you cut at the bottom of the opening.



Here’s a closer look.



Now, fold the right edge of your strip over 1/2 inch.  Iron in place.



Then, flip this whole piece of fabric over to the left, so you are looking at the right side of the fabric.



Then, fold the left side of the fabric back onto itself, exactly in half (with right sides of fabric together).  Match up the top and bottom edges of the fabric as well.



Now, along the very top of the fabric, make a seam along the very top, securing all those layers together.  The seam should be 1/2 inch from the top (because that’s the extra seam allowance we gave it at the beginning)…..but things may have shifted slightly, so just sew right above where the neckline is.



In fact, I think it’s easier to flip it over and sew on this side of the fabric, so I can see more of the neckline while I’m sewing.  And then I can get nice and close to the neckline without sewing through it.



Now, trim off each corner without cutting through the seam.  (Want to know more about clipping corners?)



Then, turn this strip right side out, encasing this side of the opening of the shirt.  The top should be nice and closed around the top of the neckline and the bottom should still be open.



The open side of the strip on the left should line up exactly with the line of stitches that you can see on the shirt.



Iron the fabric flat.



Lift up the very bottom of the strip of fabric and fold down the little triangle of shirt fabric.  Keeping the triangle folded down, put the end of the fabric back down on top and pin in place.



Now sew all the way down the left side of the fabric and across the bottom.  While sewing across the bottom, make sure that you are catching the folded edge of the triangle beneath it, within your seam.  **JUST BE SURE YOU KEEP THE FABRIC ON THE INSIDE OF THE SHIRT OUT OF THE WAY.



Here’s a look from the outside of the shirt…



And here’s a look from the inside of the shirt.  You can see I caught just the very edge of the fold in my seam.



Now, keep the shirt inside out and let’s start working on the other strip of fabric.



You’re going to be doing the exact same thing with this piece of fabric, just opposite since it’s on the other side.  Fold it over to the right and iron flat.



Then fold over the left edge of fabric 1/2 inch.



Flap the whole piece over to the right, exposing the “right side” of the fabric.  Then fold the right edge over onto itself, folding the strip exactly in half (with right sides together) and matching the edges together on the left and top and bottom.  Sew the layers together right along the top, right above the neckline, and then trim off the corners, just like you did above.



Turn it right side out, encasing this edge of the shirt opening.  Iron in place.



Now, make a seam down both edges of the strip, stopping right about where you did with the first strip beneath.  (The seam should be the length of your desired placket opening……so, in my case, my seams were 6 inches long.  But if they’re a little shorter or longer than your calculations, don’t stress.)



Now, lift up the very bottom of your strip of fabric and fold under the end 1/2 inch.



Press the fabric down.  If the ends of fabric underneath are overlapping or bulky, trim off some of the excess.



Then, sew the end of this fabric down, right around the edges, creating a square of seams.  (Make sure any excess fabric is all hidden and folded underneath.)  Then, sew a large “X” through the box.



Now, attach whatever type of closure you want.  You can sew button holes and add buttons, use velcro, teeny hidden snaps, metal snaps (like I did), etc.  (Need help attaching snaps?)



Yes, lots of pictures……but not so bad, right?


Now add a partial placket to any ol’ thing you want.  And let me know how it works out for you!



Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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