Adding a placket into the skirt portion of a dress allows the dress to open wider, which can be handy when dressing wiggly toddlers or struggling with kids with big noggins. There are a few methods of adding a placket. One that I teach in several Tie Dye Diva patterns is the “continuous lap placket”. It takes a bit of skill and practice, but forms a durable, attractive and functional ‘vent’ into the skirt. You’ll find this method outlined in most of our girls’ dress patterns. Here’s how to add this type of placket to any pattern where you might want more room for it to go over the child’s head.
Before we start, let me point out that there’s another benefit to having a placket in a skirt – whether you have an overlapping button-back bodice or an abutted button-and-loop bodice, the placket allows you to enclose the skirt/bodice seam between the bodice and bodice liner for a really nice finish. So we’ll do this today also.
I’m sewing the Butterfly pattern today.
We’re also adjusting the pattern today to make it an overlapped bodice with an enclosed skirt seam, but this is optional when adding a placket. So, I added ½” to each back bodice for button extension before I cut my pattern pieces, and interfaced this area.
Sew the bodice as set forth in the pattern and set it aside.
Now you can open this slit into a straight line.
Now I’m switching to contrasting fabrics for sake of the tutorial. Lay the open slit against the placket strip with right sides together. Your placket piece should be just a bit longer and this is fine, we’ll cut the excess later – we just don’t want it too short. Pin (or use fusible or wash away tape) and then stitch the placket strip to the slit ¼” from the raw edge, right over the existing stitches. In the photo the real stitches are shown in black and the white is where you should sew now. It is correct that at the peaks of the “Y” (which now looks more like a “W”) there will be only a few threads of your fabric between your stitching line and the inner peaks of the “W”. Go slow and smooth with your fingers so that you don’t stitch creases into the seam.
Press the placket strip up toward the seam. Then, turn the remaining long raw edge of the placket ¼” and press (both of these steps shown in top photo). Finally, turn and press ¼” again to cover the stitching line (bottom photo).
As a final step, fold the placket into its V-shape and turn the left-hand side of the placket to the wrong side of the skirt fabric (this is for a back bodice with buttonholes on the left and buttons on the right). Press, and baste the top edge to hold it in place. You can trim any extra placket binding sticking up at the top.
When I pin the placket in place, I like to scootch it just to the inside of the back bodice edges for easiest turning.
Sew in place using the ½” seam allowance. Press seam allowances toward the bodice, and fold the liner down so it just covers the line of stitching you just sewed. Pin or use sewing tape such as Wash Away Wonder Tape or Stitch Witchery to keep the liner in place.
From the right side of the fabric, stitch along the bodice about 1/8” from the seamline, ensuring you catch the folded edge of the bodice liner on the inside. This is a little tricky on the curved bodice of the Butterfly dress, but go slow, check that you are catching the liner, especially near the armholes.
I added snaps to this little dress. Look how pretty inside (top photo) and out.
And how terribly cute on. (Thank you Joyful Moments Photography by Thea!)