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sewing a continuous bound placket

Do you know how to sew a continuous bound placket? (I say, as though I'm the final authority on the thing.)

I'll show you how I do mine.

First, what is a continuous bound placket? It's a way to finish a cut in fabric with a binding, basically, and it looks like this:

When it's folded closed it's all but invisible.

It's used at the top back of attached skirts, especially when the yoke seam is high, to provide enough of an opening to get dressed. It can also be used at the edge of long sleeves. I'm sure there are other places to use this placket, but since I use them so very much in the back of dresses, that's what I'll show you.

First, draw a straight line, perpendicular to the waist seam, the length of the placket. Sew a "V", starting 1/4" from the left side of the line, pivoting at the end of the line, and coming back up to end 1/4" away from the line on the other side. (If you actually draw these lines also, you might end up with straighter lines than mine.)

Now, cut a piece of fabric from the lengthwise grain (lengthwise grain is the most stable) that's twice as long as your intended finished placket, and 1 1/2" wide.

Press it in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together. Unfold it and press the long edges in to the center fold. You'll end up with this:

Now, cut the along the pencil line on the skirt down to the bottom of the "V", but don't cut through the stitching. Open the placket strip and lay it flat on the table, right side up. Spread the cut in the skirt wide open and lay the stitching along the fold of the placket strip like this:

(Right side of the placket to the wrong side of the skirt)

You'll notice that the seam allowance on the skirt starts out being 1/4", tapers down to nothing, then tapers back up to 1/4". That's the plan, don't worry.

Now, sew all along the first stitching, and just a hair to the left.  When you get to the very middle point there, where there's no seam allowance, carefully adjust the fabric so that you don't sew in a fold at the bottom of the placket. Holding your tongue between your teeth just so helps a lot.

When you've done that, press the placket away from the skirt. Fold the raw edge of the placket to the center, fold the fold around to the front:

And pin it, making sure that the fold covers the stitching you just did. Pin it like mad.

Now topstitch very very close to that folded edge, making sure all the while that the placket fold covers that stitching.

Press the placket now. This pressing makes the whole thing look sharp and pretty.

Fold the placket together like this:

And sew a little diagonal line across the bottom, to keep the placket in its place. Turn the skirt to the right side, and sew the right side of the placket at the top. The skirt/bodice seam will keep this in place eventually, but I find that if I don't go ahead and sew it down now, I forget that it's supposed to go down at all, and make a mess of things later.

So do this, and gently press the whole thing again, pat yourself on the back, and get on with the rest of your dress!


Other plackets, just for lookin' at:

Reader Comments (30)

Oh my goodness, thank you for this. I was giving myself a heart attack struggling with a placket tonight. After reading this, I have confidence to try again in the morning.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

So glad to help! Good luck, you can do it!

August 28, 2009 | Registered CommenterErin

Made my first placket using this. Now I have courage to try some of your other tutorials. I can't wait to try that darling apron dress! Wish me luck :)

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter1st Time Sewer

Oh, yes, best of luck! You can do it! :)

December 18, 2009 | Registered CommenterErin

Thank you so very much. I've read about Continuous Plackets in pattern instructions, 3 sewing books, and dozens of online tutorials. I never could understand the explanations or the pictures. Last night I finally gave up trying to create the continuous placket on my granddaughter's dress. I thought I'd never learn. Now I find your instructions - wonderful! Your explanations are clear and your pictures are EXCELLENT. I understand! Thank you and God bless you!

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

You sure made that placket look easy. I held my tongue between my teeth and it turned out great. Thanks Erin.

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebby

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I finished my placket with your help.

February 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

That's the best set of instrucrtions I have ever followed - perfectly described in words and supported with clear photos. Have you thought of offering your services to the government department of ambiguous forms?! Thanks.

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilippa

Thank you, thank you, so much! Before seeing your instructions, I thought I was going to pull my hair out! I am such a visual person, that I have to see how something looks along with the instructions in order to understand how something needs to be done. Seeing it, says it all. Thanks again. Sherry

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

Thank you soooooooo much. This is a life saver!

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

I was working on a placket this afternoon and it never seems right down in that little "v" and now I know why. I need to taper almost to the very edge when I get down in that little "v" and then back up to the 1/4".

Thank-you so much for this great tutorial.


March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Thank you very much for this tutorial. It's very helpful. I've referenced it in my blog, http://modestjewishclothing.blogspot.com/2012/04/home-made-girls-buttoned-down-shirt.html.

April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSew Tzanua

Struggling to re-learn sewing after decades of only mending and curtains and such. Determined to hand smock dresses for our new granddaughter I could not figure out the pattern directions for putting in a placket. You saved the day! It looks great! Thanks for sharing.

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Thanks For this website finally i know what to do in Placket thank you very much:))

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiL_Chick

خیلی خیلی ممنون
موفق باشی عزیزم
از ایران

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlaleh

Thank you so so much!!! I cam across this post after trying many other you tube videos etc, and I have just completed my first perfect placket!!!! Great tutorial! Thank you!

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Thank you so much; you have no idea how many you tubes and articles I read trying to understand what to do with a "continuous lap" or "placket"! I was so elated when I found your article and could actually understand it! The only sentence I didn't understand (could be because I was exhausted by that time) was, "Turn the skirt to the right side, and sew the right side of the placket at the top". Otherwise, it all went smoothly and I can't believe it's done!! Thank you!

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLesley

I refer to this everytime I have to put a placket in a garment. I hope for the day I feel confident enough to sew one w/out your video. But until that day I have this on a favorits list. Thanks.

November 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Rosie, I refer to it too, every time. I wish I'd started making tic marks for how many plackets I've put in, so I'd know, but still I just read through and follow my own directions. Thanks for taking a minute to let me know, I'm so glad to know this helps!

November 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterErin

Thanks so very much for this word and picture description of a placket. I cobbled together the one called for in the dress I'm making my granddaughter, but wasn't really happy with it. NEXT time - it will go more easily, thanks to you. Wish that the pattern had specified to bring the stitching at the center of the placket right down to the edge of the placket opening: that's obviously what keeps the fabric from bunching and puckering!

February 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMimi

I have a little girl's Snow White costume and the neckline is made too small to get over the child's head! There is no zipper and the fabric does not stretch. I thought maybe a slit with a placket would solve the problem. But how do I finish off the top of it when there is no waistband etc to cover it up? The neckline is just folded over and stitched like a hem. Also, would you recommend a button closing or maybe something even easier?


April 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Debbie, I've had this problem before. I made a beautiful toddler dress, finished it up Saturday night, put it on her Sunday morning and realized the neckline was too tight. With church in just a few minutes, I put in the fastest (and sloppiest) placket ever. Some suggestions:

-You could put in a placket, then bind the entire neckline. You could widen the entire neckline to be large enough to go over her head without a placket, for that matter. And then bind it.
-You could unpick the shoulder seam, then put a button slightly to one side of the seam at the neckline. Then overlap the shoulder seam and button it at the neckline. (Not sure I'd recommend this for something that I wanted to look really good, but for a costume, it will work nicely, I think.
-You could make a vertical slit at center front or center back, make a facing that matches the slit, sew it, right sides together, and turn the facing to the inside. First you'd need to undo the stitching at the neckline, and you'd need to redo it when you were finished with the slit. This would leave a keyhole at center front or back. A button, snap, or even velcro or ribbon ties could be used to close the slit.

Let me know if any of these work, I'll keep thinking on it. Best of luck!

April 9, 2014 | Registered CommenterErin

I can't get on with the skirt because first I want to crawl through this computer and kiss you. Before I found you, I was so confused!!! Having begun sewing again after a 25 year break, I am experimenting in l title girl's clothing which I enjoyed sewing when my daughter was young. (dresses work well for potty training) :) I had never run into continuous lap before and I was dumbfounded for two days.

Took a chance and typed it into search line and I found you!! Thank you so much. I will come back to you for more info in the future.

August 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Perry

Oh, Debbie, I'm so glad. Thank you, thank you for letting me know, this has completely made my day. Best of luck!!

August 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterErin

i am making mc Calls pattern 6732, and my continuous lap is not unnoticeable :( i need a video please

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercathey

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