Sunday, March 21, 2010

Summer tunic with placket tutorial

So, I was going to do a tutorial for the top with the puff sleeves I made earlier in the week, but I decided to keep things a bit simple for now. This is a tutorial for a simple sleeveless tunic top with a placket, and once you have got the shape down, you can use it for more or less anything, and I will add separate tutes for puff sleeves and bells and whistles later. I based the placket on this tutorial from Made by Rae. I would suggest popping over there and looking through hers as well just to get a really clear idea of what you are doing before you begin.

If there's anything that is confusing please let me know so I can change it. It's long, with several thousand pictures, but surprisingly simple, so bear with it and thou shalt be rewarded.

You will need to pin down your victim and procure the following measurements, in inches:

- Chest, all the way around, as opposed to just across the chest;
- The length you want it to be, from shoulder to hem (mine is 16");
- Measurement around the upper arm;
- Shoulder width.

You will see that the lengths on the diagram below are marked as letters, so you should be able to make this fit your own child easily by doing a few simple sums.

C = your chest measurement divided by 4, plus 1"
L = your desired length (no sums required here!)
A = your full upper arm circumference, divided by 5 and multiplied by 4, to the nearest half inch
S = your shoulder width, minus 1", divided by two
H = C plus 1.5"

It pleases me greatly that these letters spell the word CLASH.

Cut out two pieces as below, rounding off the bottom edge as shown so that it is an inch or so higher at outside edge. Use a top you like as a guide for the neckline. You can either cut both the same, or choose to cut it higher on the back piece. Note that this pattern does not include seam allowances. For this particular project you will need to allow for seams at the shoulders, the sides, and the hem at the bottom, but the neckline and armholes will be finished with bias binding so there is no need for extra allowance here.

Using a contrasting fabric, cut two pieces for the band at the bottom of the tunic, indicated by the dashed line in the diagram. Mine was about 4" wide.

Using the same contrast fabric, you also need to cut a rectangle, 5.5" by 8", for your placket, and you will need to make enough double folded bias binding to finish your armholes and neckline (I needed about 40"). Make yourself a long piece of bias tape using these instructions, and follow the instructions for the straps on my summer dress for the folding.

Now you've got all your pieces you're ready to roll, so here goes.....

1) With the wrong side of your rectangle facing you, fold in and press 1/4" around the sides and bottom, and press in four creases, giving you five 1.5" sections.

2) Line up the centre of the rectangle with the centre of your front piece, and pin it in place, right sides together.

3) Following the creases you made, stitch around three sides of the middle section of the placket, leaving the top open.

4) Cut down the centre of the middle section, through both layers of fabric (terrifying, I know) and into the bottom left corner, as close as you can get to the seam without snipping through your stitches. Clip the bottom edge at the corners of the section you just stitched.

5) Fold and press the left flap across the centre to the right...

...and all the way round on itself so that it encases the raw edge where you just cut.

6) Pin and topstitch the edges.

7) Repeat stages 5 and 6 for the other side, only this time the bottom of the centre section needs to be stitched inside as well. You will end up with two placket pieces, one of which is attached at the bottom and side, and one which is sort of flapping about.

8) Pin one placket piece on top of the other (pick whichever one looks best) and stitch in place. Then give yourself a clap - you just made a placket! Isn't it pretty?

9) Join your front and back pieces at the shoulders and the sides, finishing the seams however you prefer. Stitch the ends of the two contrast strips together to make wide band, but do not finish the seams. Press them open instead to reduce bulk. They won't be visible when you're done.

10) With both pieces inside out, insert the main piece inside the contrast band, so the right side of the band is facing the wrong side of the main piece. Pin in place, and stitch all the way round the bottom edge.

11) Turn the top the right side out, and turn the contrast band back on itself so it's on the outside. Press and topstitch in place.

12) Turn the top edge of the contrast piece under. Press, pin and topstitch in place.

13) Sew the bias binding in place around the armholes and the neck.

14) Sew yourself a buttonhole on the top piece of your placket and stitch your button onto the underneath piece (noting how frickin' cool my cheshire cat button is as you do so)....

... and you're done!
Well done you.


  1. Fabulous but never was very good with scissors and things!
    Keep em coming!
    What is a placket?

  2. Thanks for this tutorial for the placket. I had a hard time understanding the "Made by Rae" one with the missing pictures. Your explanation was perfect!