PLACKETS Use spray starch to stabilize difficult fabrics.

Before cutting the placket line slit, stay stitch around the placket line. At the point of the placket marking, decrease the stitch length and sew three small stitches across the end instead of turning a sharp point, turn and sew down the placket marking. Slash to, but not through the stitching at end of placket. Place the right side of the placket strip against the wrong side of the shirt, aligning the reinforcement stitching line 7mm from the edge of the strip. Stitch just to the left of the reinforcement stitching, stretching at the clipped point. Press under a 5mm seam allowance on the placket strip. Turn the binding to the right side of the sleeve so that the folded edge just covers the reinforcement stitching. Top stitch the placket in place. Put the placket strip right sides together and stitch diagonally across the end of the placket – or do a bar tack. This keeps the placket from coming out to the right side. Fold back the front placket strip to the wrong side and pin. The back placket edge extends as an underlap. Place sleeve right side up and fold the pleats towards the placket. Baste in place.

CUFFS The technique for cuffs is pretty much the same as for the collar stand. Interface the whole cuff. Press the cuff in half lengthwise. Turn under the 1cm seam allowance on one long side and top stitch about 4mm away from the edge. Stitch the side seams together. Trim the seams to .5cm. If you are sewing a two piece cuff together, sew down one seam to 1cm away from the corner, reduce the stitch length and sew up to the corner, turn and sew two tiny stitches across the corner, turn sew 1cm, increase stitch length and sew to the next corner and do the same. Turn to the right side and press. Attach to the sleeve – the cuff right side must be against the sleeve wrong side. The buttonhole edge must be against the placket and the buttons will be on the extension that forms when you attach the sleeve to the cuff (the cuff is slightly longer than the sleeve edge). Manually sew a whip stitch to keep the cuff and sleeve edges together and remove it when done. This will help prevent the cuff or sleeve from moving while sewing. Sew the first cm with a reduced stitch length. Open out the cuff, press the seams into the cuff and top stitch the cuff down close to the edge of the cuff. Top stitch all round the cuff (optional).

INTERFACING – you get a better cut edge and keep your iron cleaner by applying Vilene to a piece of fabric large enough to accommodate all the pattern pieces that need interfacing rather than interfacing each piece separately. By doing this you will also prevent stretching or distorting interfaced item.