Intermission: How to Sew a Sleeve Placket

Image of a finished sleeve placket
The Finished Sleeve Placket 🙂

I know, I know—I was supposed to show you my finished Granville, but I am not done with it yet. Last week was kinda crazy, with trips to the mechanic and late days at work, so the shirt is almost there. I must confess: Part of the reason why it is not done is that I kept on avoiding sewing the sleeve plackets. I had never sewn one before, and I could not wrap my head around how that was going to happen. When I finally did it, well, guess what? It was not that hard at all!

How to Sew a Sleeve Placket

Identify the right and left plackets. This part was very confusing to me since I had no frame of reference to distinguish right from left. This is my trick: Look at the tower (the tallest part of the placket). The right side has the tower closer to the right edge. The left tower is closer to the left side. I don’t know if I am the only one who had trouble with this; I think it is worth mentioning given the time I spent trying to figure it out.

Image of the wrong side of a sleeve placket with the cutting line marked in red and notches cut into the bottom of the piece.
A (faint) red line marks the cutting line while notches help guide where to press the fabric

Transfer all markings from the pattern to the fabric. I make small clips into the fabric for notches, but if you feel do not feel comfortable cutting into the fabric, you can use a fabric marker.

Press the placket according to the pattern instructions (you will be using the folds to wrap the fabric when you bring the placket out). 

Image of wrong side of fabric and sewing lines on the placlet clearly marked
Wrong side and sewing lines clearly marked

Put the sleeve right side down on your sewing table–wrong side facing you. If right and wrong sides are similar, label them clearly. Draw two lines, each ¼ away from the line you transferred from the pattern.

Image of someone's hand holding to a sleeve placket with a pin through it to match the cutting line of the placket with the cutting line of the sleeve
A pin helps you match both cutting lines precisely

Match the right side of the placket with the wrong side of the sleeve. You will match the cutting line on the sleeve to the cutting line on the placket. Accuracy is important. I used a pin and pierced through both layers of fabric to make sure the lines were exactly on top of each other.

Detail image of the top of the cutting line
Mark the top of the cutting line

Place a mark at the top of the cutting line. My sleeve and placket lines did not match; I used the end of the cutting line from the sleeve as my guide. Then, pin the placket to the sleeve, making sure that you have enough room to sew around the main line.

Sew the placket in place, using the outside lines as your guide and connecting them at the top. I reinforced the corners using a shorter stitch length. Using the top of box as your guide, draw another line ¼ below that mark. Draw two diagonals going from the upper corners of the box to the cutting line. You have an upside-down triangle!

Image of a sleeve placket sewn to a sleeve, cutting line cut into the layers.
It looks scary, but you are doing just fine!

It is time to cut the placket open. Using small scissors, cut into both layers of fabric at the cutting mark. Cut into the triangle, making sure to get very close to the corners, BUT DO NOT clip into the stitching!

Image of the sleeve placket brought to the outside of the sleeve
It does not look great, but it soon will

You are going to flip the whole placket to the right side of the sleeve. It might look all wrong now, but I promise you, you are almost there!

Image of the sleeve placket brought to the outside of the sleeve, pressed edges folded to create the tower
Looks much better, huh?

Remember the pressed folds you created a few steps ago? They will help you enclose the raw edges of the opening you created when you cut into the layers.

Image of the sleeve placket brought to the outside of the sleeve, pressed edges folded to create the tower, sides open
Time to sew it in place

Can you see the magic happening?

Detail image of the narrower side of the placket edgestitched to the sleeve
Edgestitching the narrower side first

Edgestitch the narrower side first, from the edge to the top.

Image of the top of the tower folded and pressed
Top of the tower folded and pressed

Fold the top corners of the traingle and press them in place (make sure that there is no fabric peeking out—I hid that little piece before I sewed the traingle).

Drawing of the sewing diagram to finish the placket tower
Sewing the Tower (Image: Sewaholic Patterns)

To finish the other side, start sewing from the bottom right of the tower, all the way up to the top of the triangle, down the other side. Connect the bottom left corner of the traingle to the other side of the tower, then up you go, and left to create a rectangle at the base of the triangle.

Finish with a bartack. Don’t know how? Seamwork Magazine has a great tutorial.

The Granville shirt is a time-consuming project, but it is not a difficult one. The sleeve placket looks intimidating; when it comes down to it, it is really not that bad. Try it!



  1. Lodi
    April 6, 2022 / 10:53 am

    I’ve been sitting on my Granville pattern (and fabric). It looks a bit less intimidating now!

    • SewGoth
      April 8, 2022 / 6:28 pm

      I’m so happy! I’ve had the pattern for a long time, but that’s how I felt—intimidated by all the shirt-making stuff. So far, it looked a lot scarier than it actually is. We’ll see if this will continue until I finish the shirt.

  2. April 14, 2022 / 1:00 am

    Head explodes! XD

    It will be gorgeous when it’s finished, though!

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