In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to take any t-shirt and turn it into a henley (or a polo – if you add a collar instead of a neck band, the placket technique is the same) by adding a button placket.
If you’ve never sewn a placket before, I recommend you try this with woven fabric first (maybe even with scraps) because knit fabric adds two challenges – one, it stretches, which can make the placket end up wonky if you’re not careful. You can interface the placket area to combat that, but that leads to more of problem two, which is that knits are usually bulkier than wovens, which can make the bottom of a placket challenging. So, here we go.
You need a rectangle that is 5x the width of your final placket, plus 1/2 inch
As tall as you want your final placket, plus 1 inch
So my rectangle below, for a final placket that was 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, is 4 1/2 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide. Then you divide your placket into sections as show below. The center three sections are as wide as your placket (though the very center one gets divided in 1/2), the two end sections each have 1/4 inch added to them. You should also mark a line 1/2 inch up from the bottom.
Next, get out your iron. Iron the edges in 1/4″
Now fold the ends in on the line so the edges now rest on the lines for the center section. Iron again.
Fold those two ends in again, one over the other, and iron again. This is the width of your final placket.
Unfold, leaving your creases from the iron. Line up the center of the placket with the center front of your shirt. Make sure you’re lined up all the way down the center front, so your placket doesn’t end up looking like it drifted off to one side. Pin this in place, then sew around the center section as shown with red lines below.
Next, you’re going to cut through your placket and shirt on the center line. Stop about 1/4″ from the bottom and cut into the corners, making an upside down Y shape. Cut as close into the corners as you can without going through the stitching.
Since this is knit, I cut out the rectangles at the corners of the end sections as shown below to reduce bulk in my placket. If you’re working with wovens, you can skip this.
Woven or knit, you also need to cut two slits from the bottom straight up to the corners of your stitching.
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