This is a tutorial I have been meaning to put up here for some time now, but with one thing and another it has taken me until now.
The Imogen Top is a pretty straightforward one to put together but to get the front placket absolutely ‘bang on’ takes a bit of accuracy so here is how I do it.
Make sure you have interfaced the placket pieces (and one of the neckbands.)
Like anything it’s the prep that makes all the difference. So marking the stitching points for the placket opening are key. I use a pin and a marker pen for added accuracy, rather than tailor’s tacks or chalk, but whatever works for you. Just remember the A word!!
The little dot at the corner of the placket opening is marked by poking a pin through the dot on the paper and then gently lifting the paper away from the fabric and marking where the pin goes through the fabric with the pen.
You can then flip over the fabric and where the pin comes out of the second layer mark with the pen again.
On the placket pieces make sure to mark the small dot at one end using the same method of poking the pin through and marking with a pen on both pieces to make sure you get a pair.
Now when you come to offer up the placket pieces to the front neck opening you can match up these dots exactly. Remember to place the RIGHT side of the PLACKET to the WRONG side of the FRONT. This way you end up doing the topstitching on the right side keeping it nice and tidy.
Sew down the sides of the opening attaching the placket pieces with a 1cm seam allowance. Again accuracy here with the seam allowance will mean it’s easier to finish the placket neatly.
Make sure to finish exactly on the dot!
You should have two perfectly level rows of stitching. (If you mark everything accurately.)
Press the placket away from the front so it lies over the seam allowances.
Flip the front over and snip into the ends of the lines of stitching. Again it’s the A word. Accuracy is important here too, because if you don’t snip right up to the ends of sewing you will get “woolly corners”, to quote my old needlework teacher, when you try to pull the placket over to the right side.
You must snip in far enough to allow the placket to sit flat after being pulled over to the right side.
Press under the raw edge that is left on the placket by just under 1cm.
Fold the pressed edge over to enclose the seams and to sit just over the sewing line of the seam. Pin in place along the length of the placket. Pinning this way will hold more of the placket in place as you sew.
If the folded placket doesn’t ‘fill the space’ ie. sit neatly inside the gap without hanging over or leaving a gap between the other placket pieces you may need to adjust how much has been folded under in the previous step.
Flip the front over and you can see the little triangular pieces of the front left behind the placket.
Flip the placket pieces back over to the wrong side and fold the triangular piece down. Fold the placket pieces back in place.
Make sure they are even along the bottom edges, and create a perfect V shape from the right side. The triangular piece is tucked down to the wrong side now so it should look nice and neat and level.
Sew from the right side along the edge of the placket piece. Make sure that none of the original placket seam stitching is visible and that the placket hangs just over that line of sewing.
Drop the needle down so you can pivot and sew along the bottom of the folded over triangular piece. Stop just in time so you can pivot again and do one stitch to take you back onto the other placket piece.
Sew back up the edge of the other placket piece. You should have a row of sewing that comes down one edge of the placket hops onto the front, across the flat bottom of the placket, hops back onto the other side of the placket and up the other side.
You can remove the marker pens spots with a paintbrush and a dab of water.
You may note while reading through this tutorial that I haven’t used stay stitching around the opening as described in the pattern instructions. This is for several reasons:
- I find the extra stitching can get in the way of real accuracy.
- They can remain visible after sewing in the placket.
- Most of the time a stable fabric is used so it’s not strictly necessary. And if it’s not necessary there’s no point!
- I’m not a “sewing purist,” so am quite happy to use whatever processes I feel I need wherever I feel I need them – or not.
I included the stay stitching in the instructions as a way of making sure to get an accurate opening following feedback from our pattern testers. But please let me know if you use stay stitching here of if you prefer not to.
There are always ‘better’ ways of doing things and sharing the knowledge is what we’re all about. 🙂