In my posts on the Medieval Gown (Part I, Part II, Part III), I mention a popular feature of clothing in this period: the gusset.
For those of you that didn't read the Medieval Gown articles, a gusset is a piece of fabric cut on the bias that is usually shaped as a triangle or a variation thereof. This piece of fabric is then inserted into a seam wherever extra breadth is necessary. In modern times, gussets are most commonly used in the crotch of a pair of pants.
The gusset should not be confused with the godet. Though they are cousins, two major differences separate them:
- Gussets serve a fitting purpose, whereas godets only add flare and are more decorative.
- Gussets are cut as a variation of a triangle, whereas godets are always a circular sector.
On with the show. My aunt had a similar complaint to ones I mentioned at the beginning of the article. A blouse she loved was too tight in the arm and the bust and when she saw how I solved the problem for the Medieval Gown, she wondered if I might do the same for her blouse. The first thing I needed to do was to find extra fabric to use for the gussets. Here are some ideas:
The first thing I did was to take out the side seam and the underarm seam, while keeping the sleeve attached to the bodice. Luckily, most manufacturers attach the sleeve before closing the side-seam, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem. You might have to take out the hem of the sleeve, as I did, and you may have to mess with the hem on the bottom of the garment. Remember, if you're doing this to a dress, especially at the waist, you don't necessarily need to take out the entire side-seam.
Next, I cut out the section of the sleeve I was going to use for the gusset. I used my grid ruler to cut out the shape, and to ensure both gussets were the same size:
Just make sure you true everything before you finish, to avoid having to rip seams:
That's it, really. Once you've cut out the gusset, it's simply a matter of placing it correctly and sewing it in. I give more specific instructions for insertion in my Medieval Gown Post.
Also, just a quick tip: when using kite gussets it's important, though not imperative, to make sure every corner touches or meets a seam. This avoids bunching and gaping that can occur if you put a corner into a smooth seam. If you have to put a gusset where it does not intersect a seam, then use a softer oblong shape instead:
Hope this helps!