Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sewing Tips Series #2 - How to Let Out a Blouse

One of the most common complaints amongst my friends when it comes to finding clothes that fit in stores is a lack of accommodation for women who are anything over an A cup. Well, if you're one of these women, and if you've got a sewing machine and a basic understanding of sewing, then I've got a solution that's relatively easy and minimally invasive.

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:
  1. Gussets serve a fitting purpose, whereas godets only add flare and are more decorative.
  2. 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:

Use a duplicate. For instance, if the blouses were on clearance for dirt cheap. Then you can convert one of the tops into something else.

Buy some fabric. It can either match the rest of the garment or act as an accent for it.

Use part of the existing garment. This is what I did with my aunt's blouse.

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!

Nostalgically Yours
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1 comment:

  1. THANKS!
    I'll print it and give it to my mom. She gained weight and some pieces don't fit her so she'll be happy to read this!



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