I’m so excited to be part of Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Blog Tour today! I’m going to show you the adorable Charlie Tunic I made for Elliot with two of the Out to Sea prints, along with a tutorial on how to add the button placket.


The Out to Sea collection is absolutely stunning. Sarah is so talented! We met last Spring at Quilt Market and got to see this collection first hand in all of its glory. I also really love her first line, Children at Play, with sweet illustrations that show the carefree days of childhood. I think it’s great that her fabric collections have both featured a number of designs for BOYS!


Don’t worry though, still plenty of prints for girls as you can see below (see more here). Sarah has designed a lovely collection of Wall Art prints to go with the Out to Sea fabrics as well.


One of the best things about this collection for me (besides the amazing designs that Sarah draws) is the fact that this line is printed on the cotton couture substrate from Michael Miller. Translation: totally soft, lovely, lightweight cottons perfect for not only quilting, but many types of garments as well. I just had to try it out on a Charlie Tunic for Elliot!


I thought it would be so clever to have him pose with his Playmobil ship, which goes PERFECTLY with this fabric. For some reason he did not find this as clever as I did.


He was more about putting the ship in front of his face.


Then I asked him what his favorite part of the ship was. Guess.


That’s right, the cannon. He then proceeded to shoot the little spring-loaded cannonball at my head, which made contact with my forehead about the exact same time I took this shot.


He thought that was pretty clever.


For this tutorial, I thought I’d show you how to add a cute little button placket that extends across the gap that gets created when you add the neck facings on the outside of the Charlie Tunic. This is a nice way to finish the neckline that doesn’t require button loops!


Note: I used my Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern for this one, but really you could add reverse facings to ANY pullover pattern with a simple neckline like Charlie – just trace around the neckline and shoulders and add 2-3″ around the outside and down the center to make a the facing pieces.


Step 1: Cut out all your pieces.

You’ll need a front and back, two sleeves, a front facing, a back facing, and a placket piece. Cut your placket piece 3″ wide and plenty long so you can trim it down later. The length really depends on the size of your tunic, but 10″ long is PLENTY. I chose to interface my facings but it’s completely optional.


Step 2: Sew the shoulder seams

I used a 1/2″ seam here. It’s really important to finish these seams with a serger, a french seam, or a flat-felled seam; if it frays, it will show at the neckline!


Step 3: Mark placket location and measure how big your placket needs to be

Make two marks along the center line of the front facing: one where the neckline seam allowance hits (dotted line) and another where the bottom of the slit will be (the black dot on the pattern piece). Measure between these marks.


Step 4: Cut your placket piece to size

Add 1/2″ to the measurement you found in Step 3 and cut the placket strip that new length.


Step 5: Sew the placket piece together

Fold the placket piece in half lengthwise with its wrong side facing out. Sew the ends together with 1/4″ seams. Turn it right-side out and press.


Step 6: Baste the placket to the front facing

Now place the placket piece between the two marks you made, just over the center line, and machine baste in place along the center line Don’t skip this step. I’m talking to you, Basting Skippers!!


Step 7: Get the facings ready

Use the same seam allowance you used for the shoulder seams in Step 2 (1/2″) to sew the front facing and back facing together. Press the seams apart. Then press 1/4″ under around the entire outside edge of the facing. Clip the front curves to make this easier.


Step 8: Pin the facings to the neckline

Be very careful to keep the facing perfectly centered on both the front and back; then pin all the way around the facings.


Then go ahead and draw where you are going to stitch — around the neck, down the middle of the placket, and up the other side — with a fabric pen and ruler. I draw my lines just over 1/8″ away from the center line (use the basting stitches as a guide).


Step 9: Sew the facings around the neckline and down/up the center.

Now you’re going to sew all the way around the neckline with a 1/2″ seam, then pivot on your needle and sew down the center line, pivot again and sew a few stitches across, and then pivot again and go back up the center line, etc, until you have sewn around the entire facing/neckline. You want to be SURE that you are sewing through the placket on one side, but not on the other, so stick to those marks you made. Be careful when you turn the corner closest to the placket — you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally sew it down!

Then trim the neckline to 1/4″ and cut right down the middle of the center front stitch lines. Clip to the corners at the bottom of the placket as close as you can without going through the stitching.


Step 10: Turn the facings to the outside and stitch down

This is the fun part. Press the entire neckline and then flip the facings all the way around to the outside. Press the seams again so the facings lay flat, and pin them in place.


Nice right? Now edgestitch around the outside of the facings to stitch them down. A double row of stitches looks nice here.


Step 11: Complete the rest of the top

Start by attaching the sleeves:


and then sewing the side seams, hemming the bottom, and finishing the cuffs. I used a contrast cuff as shown in the Charlie Tunic instructions.


Then it’s time to play with button placement! There are so many options…you can keep the button flap on the outside and put the buttonholes on it as shown above, or even put buttons on both sides with the button placket underneath:


I decided to put the buttons on the placket underneath and sew some buttonholes in the facing right along the center. You could also sew on snaps or even velcro, but I personally like the buttons more.


So sew those buttons and buttonholes, and your top is finished!


Thanks for having me as part of the tour, Sarah! Click over to the Sarah Jane blog to see more of her designs and snap up a coupon code for $2 off the Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern that’s good until Friday.


You can see all of the posts in the Out to Sea blog tour by clicking on the image above

Categories: boy, clothes for boys, tutorial
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10 Responses to Ship Shape Button Placket Tutorial

  1. beth lehman says:

    oh, mercy, rae. the cannon…. i know just how it works… !!! hah! such a cute top. i wish my kids were smaller!!!

  2. Miranda says:

    Oh my. So cute! What a gorgeous fabric line. I love Elliot’s unimpressed look at having to pose with his ship. My son looooves his Playmobil cannons, and takes great joy at firing them, especially at his sisters:)

  3. kristin says:

    Ooooh how I adore this out to sea line! I wish I could own every single print. I just used the pink narwhals for a little dress for Em and it’s pretty much the cutest fabric ever. Anyway, thanks for the button placket tute! I shall save it for later. :)

  4. Ann-Marie says:

    Thank you very much, wondered how to make a button placket (may even
    try to do with a zip)

  5. Tracy says:

    Great tutorial! I am always looking for ways to add a little something to my children’s clothes and this is definately a winner. Can’t wait to try it now that I have a clear tutorial to follow. Thank you so much!

  6. Oh, the out to sea line is quite sweet, and that tunic is a great way to show off the ship fabric (and vice versa!) …I’ll have to come back to this tutorial later and follow it step by step, very clear concise instructions but I’m not going to learn this technique just by reading, gonna have to do some doing! Still have yet to try a placket this way but I would really like to give it a go on a tunic.

  7. Caila says:

    Oh my! This is my favorite Charlie Tuni EVER! He looks so handsome.

  8. Fiza Hanif says:

    Hi Rae! Oh im so in love with your blog. Ive successfully made a buttercup handbag thanks to u. And recently purchased the geranium dress pattern. Have yet to try that out. But I think im gonna try this placket tutorial first. Hehe. Thank you so so much for inspiring novices like me :)
    Wishing you well all d way from Malaysia.

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