This bound seam + partial button placket hack is such a simple, lovely addition to the ballet top + dress DELPY. It’s an idea I’ve had for some time, and I’m so pleased with the result! As there are actually two techniques here – a bound seam and a partial button placket – I’ve decided to split these into separate blog posts. This tutorial is for a partial button placket and can be easily transferred to other patterns.
If you’d like your placket to be a different size than I’ve used, these placket-piece measuring guidelines are useful and will give you a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance to work with on all sides.
What you’ll need.
- 3 small buttons (I love to use wooden buttons by Arrow Mountain)
- 2 rectangles of fabric measuring 6cm wide x 13cm long for a 2cm x 9cm placket opening (or 2 3/8” x approx. 5” for a 3/4” x 31/2“placket opening)
- 2 strips of lightweight iron-on interfacing measuring 2cm wide x approx. 11cm long (or 3/4” wide x approx. 41/3” long)
You'll need to make two simple modifications to the ballet top + dress DELPY pattern before adding your placket. Although I recommend you finish the neck and arm seams with a bias binding when adding a placket, you can still do this with the facing if you prefer. If you are using the facing, you’ll need to apply the following modifications to the front facing (no.3) as well as the front bodice (no.1).
Modification 1. When transferring markings to your front bodice (step 1 in the DELPY instructions), use tailor’s chalk to draw the baste line for the placket.
With your bodice folded in half, draw a line 1cm from, and parallel to, the center front fold, from the seam allowance to the level of the dot indicating the base of the gather stitch. From there, draw the 1cm line to the fold. Turn the bodice over and do the same on the other side, creating a 3-sided rectangle as your basting guide.
Modification 2. Rather than setting gather stitches (step 2 in the DELPY instructions), you will baste along the guide line you drew. This will become a guide as well as gather stitches.
- With thread tails long and WITHOUT back-stitching the first few stitches, baste from the seam allowance (1.5cm or 5/8” from the raw edge), down one side. Back stitch the last one or two stitches (but not more).
- Without lifting your needle, pivot, baste the 2cm line at the base of your 3-sided rectangle, then pivot again.
- Back stitch the first one or two stitches before basting your way back up to the level of the seam allowance. Leave your thread tails long.
IMPORTANT: do not stitch past the end of the rectangle before pivoting.
Partial button placket.
Sew up your DELPY as instructed, but finishing your arm and neck seams with bias binding. Once you get to the bust gather (Step 9 in the DELPY instructions), use the following steps:
Step 1: Iron one strip of interfacing to the wrong side of each placket piece so that these mirror each other. The interfacing should be 1cm (3/8”) from the top and side, running parallel to the length.
Step 2: Along the length opposite the interfacing, fold 1cm (3/8”) toward the wrong side and press. Then fold another 2cm (3/4”) toward the wrong side and press again.
Step 3: Using your tailor’s chalk, mark a small line at the top end of the interfacing, and another mark 9cm (31/2”) down on both placket pieces (or at the base of the final placket opening, if you’re using different measurements).
Then, keeping the seam allowance folded to the wrong side, fold the top of the placket piece back so that right sides are touching and stitch at the top marking you made. Clip the folded corner. Do this on both placket pieces.
Step 4: This part is a bit scary because you have to cut through the upper seam of your top. Don’t worry! It’ll work out!
First, with your tailor’s chalk, draw a line down the center of the baste guide, till 1cm (3/8”) before the end. Then draw an upside-down ‘v’ from the corners of the guide to the end of the center line.
Following this line, carefully cut down through the center of your baste guide, stopping 1cm (3/8”) before the bottom stitch. From there, cut diagonally to the corners, along the line you just drew, being careful not to cut through the stitch.
Step 5: With right sides touching, align the length of each placket piece with the cut you made down the center of the baste guide. Place a pin at the upper marking, which should align with the top seam. Then align the lower marking on the placket with the pivot point of the baste guide and place a pin here.
Gently pull the loose threads to gather the bodice until it lays flat under the placket. (If you have sewn your DELPY with the facing, gather the facing as well.)
Step 6: Attach each placket piece to the bodice (and facing, if applicable) separately by stitching along the edge of the interfacing, directly over the baste/gather stitch, at approx. 2mm stitch length. STOP just before the pivot point on either side. Be sure to back stitch at the start and finish, but do NOT go past the pivot point of the baste stitch.
Step 7: Flip both placket pieces right side out, along the stitch line created in step 6. Poke the corners out nicely and enclose the raw edges in the placket piece so that the folded edge on the inside of the bodice just covers the stitching. Press. Fold in the bottom corners and the seam allowance up. Press again.
Step 8: Starting with the placket piece on your right when facing up in front of you (this will be the left side of the placket when you’re wearing it), push the excess placket flap (and the little triangle at the end of the baste guide) to the inside.
Carefully edge-stitch along the right seam, making sure to catch the folded edge of the placket on the inside of your top. Continue past the baste guide till just before the end of the placket piece. Stop, pivot and stitch diagonally up to the opposite corner of the baste guide.
Step 9: If necessary, press the placket piece on your left (this will be the right side when you’re wearing it) again so that all the corners and edges are nice, and all the raw edges are neatly tucked away. The excess portion of the placket flap should cover the diagonal stitch you created in Step 8. Before continuing, you may want to pin the right side out of the way so that you don’t accidentally catch it when stitching.
Step 10: This step has two separate parts (and because I forgot to photograph it on my checked DELPY, but I kind of remembered on my black one...)
Part 1 – Edge-stitch down the left seam until the end of the baste guide, making sure you don’t catch any of the other placket piece in your stitching. Stop and back stitch a couple stitches. Lift your needle and clip the threads.
Part 2 – Realign the placket so that everything is laying nice and flat and pin the placket closed. Starting where you left off in step 10, stitch a square and X at the end of your placket.
Yay! You did it! Now you just need to add buttons and button holes.
Here are a few of my own personal tips when adding buttons and button holes:
- I always set the button holes before sewing the buttons in place because the holes can’t be easily moved once you’ve made them. If you’re not familiar with your button-stitch or the fabric you're using, be sure to practice setting button holes on a scrap of the same fabric before setting them into your DELPY.
- One the last button hole, be sure you’ve measured enough distance from the bottom of the placket opening to keep it functional. If it’s too close to the end, you won’t be able to button and un-button.
- Depending on your button-hole stitch on your machine, you may want to turn your DELPY so that you are setting the button hole from top to bottom (if that makes sense). That way there's not too much bulk under the presser foot.
- I got this last tip from Melissa over at A Happy Stitch, and it is my fave! Glue sticks are your best friend when placing buttons. If you are able to sew 2- and 4-hole buttons on your sewing machine (if your machine zig-zags, then you probably can!), lightly rub the back side of your button on a glue stick and set them all in place before sewing them on. It’s magic!
I hope you love this ballet top + dress DELPY hack as much as I do! It warms my heart to see what you make with my patterns and tutorials, so be sure to tag me on Instagram and include the hashtag whenever you share your halfmoon ATELIER makes! #ballettopdelpy #balletdressdelpy #halfmoonatelier