This content was originally written for Indiesew and has been adapted for this blog. It was originally published on August 22, 2019.
Today, nearly three years after its launch, I have enough separate Kila Tanks to wear every day for at least a month. I’ve sewn this tank top in nearly every type of lightweight knit fabric out there. I’ve cropped this design, lengthened it into a midi dress and a mini dress, and sewn it in four different sizes depending on the fit I want. It’s safe to say I am not wanting for any more fitted rib knit tank tops in my wardrobe.
But there is one hack that I’ve been dying to try on the Kila: a henley. I like how this simple detail adds more visual interest to a very basic design. Shiny snaps or contrast buttons on the partial placket draw the eye to the neckline and eliminate the need for a necklace, bandana, or other neck accessory to dress up the simple tank top.
This method will work on any knit tee or tank that you'd like to add a henley placket to! This is an intermediate sewing tutorial. You'll need the Kila Tank sewing pattern, some knit fabric, lightweight interfacing, and snaps or buttons.
Here's how it's done:
1. Cut out the plackets, interfacing, and neckline binding.
The dimensions of my finished Kila Tank placket are .75" wide by 6" long. For your henley placket, cut the following:
- Placket Pieces
- Cut two of main fabric
- Width = width of the finished placket x 3
- Length = length of the finished placket + .5"
- Mine are 2.25" x 6.5"
- Placket Interfacing
- Cut two of lightweight apparel interfacing
- Width = width of finished placket x 2.5
- Length = length of the finished placket + .5"
- Mine are 1.875" x 6.5"
- Bodice Interfacing
- Cut one rectangle of interfacing the same dimensions as your finished placket.
- Mine is .75" x 6"
- Neckline Binding
- Cut one neckline binding piece using the Kila Tank sewing pattern but add an additional 3” to this pattern piece.
2. Prepare the plackets for sewing.
Apply the placket interfacing on the wrong side of the placket fabric pieces, aligned with one of the long raw edges. Press the placket in half, lengthwise. Repeat the steps above for the second placket.
3. Prepare the front bodice for the plackets.
Fold the front bodice pattern piece in half with right sides together. Press a long crease down the front center, starting at the neckline and extending beyond the length of your placket.
Unfold the bodice and apply the interfacing onto the wrong side of the bodice, centered over the crease.
On the bodice, sew around the interfacing rectangle with a normal straight stitch, pivoting at the bottom corners and stitching up the other side. Use a straight stitch here so that the placket area is reinforced.
Cut down the center of the bodice interfacing stopping 1/2” before the end of the rectangle. At that point cut diagonally into the corners of the rectangle, cutting just to, but not over, the stitch line.
Sew both shoulder seams of the Kila Tank and press towards the back bodice.
4. Sew the plackets to the bodice.
Unfold one placket and aligning it right sides together with the bodice. The non-interfaced raw edge of the placket should align with the line you just cut on the front bodice. Sew with a 3/8” seam allowance (or with a seam allowance that equals half of the finished width of your placket), stopping right at the rectangle corner.
Repeat for the opposite placket. Press the seam allowances and the plackets in towards the center fold of the bodice
5. Join the plackets at the bottom.
Flip the plackets over at the existing center fold and tuck them towards the wrong side of the shirt so that they overlap. I always place the better-looking placket at the front. Pin the plackets together so that they are aligned like they will be when your snaps or buttons are applied.
With the front bodice laying right sides up, fold the bottom half of the bodice up so that the bottom of the placket is visible. Place a pin through the bottom stitch above the little triangle piece. Flip the bottom of the bodice down to make sure the bottom seam of the placket looks straight.
Sew through the stitch above the triangle, joining the two placket layers to the bodice. Make sure the rest of the bodice is pulled away from your presser foot. Finish this seam with a serger or a zig-zag stitch.
6. Apply the Neckline Binding
With about 1.5” of binding extending beyond the edge of the neckline, apply the neckline binding with a 1/4” seam allowance. Stretch the binding with your right hand as you sew it around the neckline, you should have about 1.5” of extra binding as you reach the end of the neckline.
Trim the binding so that there is just 1” of extra binding on each edge of the neckline. Fold the binding towards the wrong side of the bodice, so that the placket is sandwiched between the binding. Using a straight stitch, tack the binding down with a 1/4” seam allowance. Press the binding and the seam allowance up.
Fold the binding up over the seam allowance and towards the wrong side of the bodice. The raw edge of the binding will extend past the stitch line. Use pins or HeatNBond Soft Stretch to keep the binding folded over.
Topstitch the binding down with a zig-zag or coverstitch starting at one edge of the neckline and traveling to the other edge. Topstitch the plackets, pivoting at the bottom edge of the placket and traveling back up the other side.
Apply snaps or buttons to the plackets.
Continue sewing the tank top, following the pattern instructions. Your finished result should look something like this:
Because the Kila Tank has several inches of negative ease through the bust, the placket will pull open slightly when the placket is unsnapped or unbuttoned.
I hope this tutorial has been helpful! Be sure to check out all the #kilatank makes on Instagram and happy sewing!