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Sewing Saves: Fix a Reversed Placket

Remove, stabilize, and resew
Threads #205, Oct./Nov. 2019

I love to make dress shirts. I make enough of them that I rarely bother reading the pattern instructions anymore. When I move along quickly on a project and don’t pay close attention, I sometimes accidentally sew a placket on the wrong sleeve; consequently, the finished opening faces the wrong direction.

I usually don’t realize this mistake until I have cut the slit and begun pressing. This error is difficult to fix, because the slit has narrow seam allowances and is weakened at the top by clipping. Here is a way to correct the mistake. It works on most shirt-weight fabrics, but may not rescue lightweight fabrics or those prone to fraying. The next time you have a lapse of concentration and reverse a placket, try this technique to get back on track. It takes a few minutes, but you’ll save fabric as you won’t need to recut the sleeve or, in many cases, the placket.

shirt placket repair

1. Remove the placket

Take your time as you pick out the stitches. Try not to damage or distort the fabric as you do so.

pick stitches carefully

2. Reinforce the slits

Gently press the fabric in place around the slit areas on the sleeve and placket pieces. Then fuse a strip of lightweight, nonwoven interfacing over the slit on the wrong side. It should extend about 1/4 inch past the previous stitching marks. The interfacing closes and strengthens the opening area.

reinforce slits

3. Reposition the plackets

Place the correct placket over the interfaced sleeve slit. Arrange the placket slit directly over the sleeve slit.

reposition placket

4. Resew the placket

You may find this easier to do from the sleeve’s right side. Stitch on or just outside the previous stitching along the slit. At the top, where the fabric is weak from the corner cuts, stitch barely outside the previous stitching, using a short stitch length (1.5 mm). Recut the slit, cutting through only the interfacing—not the fabric—on the sleeve.

resew placket

5. Remove the interfacing

Outside the placket stitching, pull away the interfacing along the slit sides. You can leave it in place on the top for added stability.

6. Complete the placket

Fold it to the right side and sew it as normal.

Letitia Wetterauer of Alpine, Texas, has been sewing clothing for more than 40 years.

Photos: Mike Yamin. Illustrations: Letitia Wetterauer.


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