Sleeve Plackets Made Simple

At one time, just the thought of making a sleeve placket made me shudder. I will gladly put 100 hours into a couture tailored suit–just don't ask me to make a sleeve placket for a blouse … or read instructions on how to do it.

Sewing a Sleeve Placket - Step 1
Photo 1: The placket is made
of two strips
Sewing a Sleeve Placket - Step 2
Photo 2: Attach placket to
blouse sleeve.
Sewing a Sleeve Placket - Step 3
Photo 3: Flip pieces and topstitch
each in place

But you know how it is: The thing that you fear most is what keeps coming back to you. And so it is with me and sleeve plackets. In the past three months, I have had to draft a pattern and assemble a blouse sleeve placket for three separate projects. I have not only made my peace with plackets–I have even come to love them and admire them just a little for their elegant knack for finishing a sleeve.

First, to clarify, a sleeve placket is an inserted opening at the end of a sleeve that creates a wider space for the hand to fit through. It's most commonly seen on men's shirts and women's blouses and just like a glass of milk begs for cookies, a placket needs a cuff to finish it properly.  If you have a shirt pattern that you want to add a placket opening to or just want to understand the concept for the next blouse that you make, here's a simple way to create and insert a placket:

First, draft your placket. This involves creating two pieces: a 4" x 1" strip and a strip made of a 4" x 1" rectangle and 5 3/8" x 1" elongated house-shaped piece that are adjacent to one another. FYI, the "roof of the house is 3/8" high. Add 1/4' inch seam allowances all around, except for 1/2" at top and bottom lines. (See Photo 1.

Next, cut out 2 pieces of each of  the placket pieces in your fashion fabric and press under the seam allowances to the wrong side of the fabric.

Now comes the hard part. Brace yourself, because I promise it really will be okay. Look at the placket placement on a blouse from your closet. Approximate that spot on your garment sleeves (just behind the outer edge of your wrist) and with a light pencil, mark a 4" Y-shaped line on each sleeve perpendicular to the sleeve bottom edge. The upper branches of the "Y' will be 1/2" tall. Cut into that "Y" along the lines. This slash is where you will attach your placket pieces.  

Sew your placket pieces to the trunk of the "Y" with the right sides of the placket pieces against the wrong side of the blouse. The little V-shaped tongue of fabric between the upper branches of the "Y' is pressed upward and stitched in place along the bottom. (See Photo 2.)

Now, flip the placket pieces to the right side of the blouse sleeves. The bigger piece will have the elongated house on the front and the shorter rectangle on the back. The smaller strip will just fold around to the right side. Topstitch each of the placket pieces in place with all seam allowances turned under. You are done! (See Photo 3.) (I know I didn't talk about the cuff yet. That will have to wait until next time. I think we have learned enough today!)

For more easy patterns, check out Stitch Summer 2014 in the Sew Daily Shop

Do you have a special feature you like to add to a garment? Tell us about it.

Happy stitching!

Amber Eden




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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

4 thoughts on “Sleeve Plackets Made Simple

  1. Hi
    I would just like to tell you that I really appreciate articles like this one on making sleeve plackets, rather than ads or advertorials. I guess it is a big ask, expecting you to come up with something interesting every day, but I am sure it can be done. Some of the things that could be covered are: serging with different threads and yarns, including fishing line, rolled hemming, making collars sit neatly and so on.


  2. I usually use a single piece of fabric (adding those 2 pieces together), and sew the placket to the sleeve up, across, then down before cutting the “Y”. The V shaped piece is then hidden under the “house” after it’s topstitched.
    Don’t forget to reverse the positions of each piece for the other sleeve!