Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Edwardian and Victorian Skirt Plackets: Where to Find How Tos

Skirt plackets: who knew they could be so complicated? Or such a royal pain?

These days we put zippers in everything, even new-fangled invisible zippers that continue the seam line with no annoying and revealing extra stitching around the zipper slash.

It used to be all so very different. Women relied on hooks and eyes sewed into long plackets to hide outer skirt openings. Petticoats frequently had nothing but a plain placket with strings at the that placket opening could gap! You can see an illustrated example of one of those in one of my previous posts. Oh well, at least the gap was invisible to outsiders.

Anyhow, in making up a 1911 skirt from online textbook instructions (see previous posts for details on that textbook), I was told to make a continuous placket. See the image of a placket turned inside out, at left (courtesy Vintage

Well, such a placket looks awfully thick and amateurish on a worsted wool skirt. At least mine did. I hated it and ripped it out.

Finding a Whole New World of Fancy Placket Knowledge

Don't bother in looking at most modern sewing books for fancy plackets. Most of them pay more attention to sleeve plackets. Blech.

Instead, have a look at American Dressmaking Step by Step by Mme. Lydia Trattles Coates (1917), on See lessons 188 to 197. The text and illustrations take you through invisible plackets, extension plackets, and so on...all plackets that will look a lot more professional on an outer skirt than the one pictured above. That's an extension placket at left.

The lessons cover everything from setting in facings to handling the hooks and eyes neatly.

The date may be 1917, but the techniques should be good for quite a few decades prior to that time as well.