Many makers find inserting gores and gussets a little tricky when it comes to stitching them into a corset.
I'll share with you two easy step-by-step techniques that will insert gores and gussets neatly, producing a nice crisp V shape at the bottom.
A gore is a piece that is inset into a slit or shaped cut into a solid panel, whereas a gusset is a piece inserted into a seam between two panels.
This pattern layout from a corset patent dated 1878 (illustrated left) incorporates both gores and gussets into the design (the gores are in blue and the gussets in yellow.)
|1. Gather your pieces together. For this example I'm using black and white washed coutil.||2. Work out and mark the point where your seams meet on the gore. I find it easiest to mark the stitching lines on the wrong side.|
|3. Make a cross, the middle of which should lie 5mm (3/16") from the bottom of the split in your panel.||4. Apply a small amount of fray stopper to the bottom of the split with a cottonbud [Q-tip] and allow to dry.|
|5a. With right sides together, lay the gore over the split and line up the point where the seams intersect so it is directly on top of the centre of the cross on the panel.||5b. Make a small stitch at the intersection point. This will be your anchor and so it is important that the pieces are lined up and stitched in place correctly.|
|6. Rotate the gore so that the right edge is lined up with the left edge of the spilt on the panel and tacking stitch [baste] the gore in place. The seam allowances at the bottom of the slash will not match – the seam allowance on the panel will be much less than on the gore.||Don't worry, it's almost impossible to line up the seam allowances here, and even if you could, your gores would be wonky! Your fabric (especially if you are using coutil) will kink and refuse to lay flat at this point. This is normal.|
|7. Machine stitch using the gore to guide your seam allowance. I find it easiest to start to start at the bottom of the gore and stitch slowly. Now this is the really important bit: you want your stitching to start exactly at the intersection point marked on the wrong side of the gore. It's also very important that you reinforce the start of this stitch line with a few backstitches, and don't deviate from the line of stitching when you do.||8. Cut the anchor stitch you made earlier and bring the gore through the spilt so that it is on the wrong side of the fabric. Line up the other edge of the gore with the other side of the split (right sides together) and tacking stitch [baste].|
|9. Machine stitch in place. I find it easiest to start at the top of the gore at this stage. Again, use the gore to align the seam allowance and stitch slowly. You want your stitch line to finish exactly where it intersects on the other stitch line – do not go over this line, or stop short of it. Also make sure to reinforce the stitching at this point with a few backstitches, being careful not to deviate from the stitch line.||10. Use a tailor's ham to press the gore flat (wrong side up), pulling slightly on the panel to make sure the crease is pressed on the stitch line, with the seam allowances facing away from the gore. If you don't have a tailor's ham, you can tightly roll a large towel into a similar shape and use that as the curved pressing surface that you need.|
|11. Run a line of stitching around the edge of the gore on the panel side (effectively stitching the seam allowance down), about 3mm (1/8") from the gore seam. And there you have it. One bust gore with a neat V at the bottom and no blanket stitching in sight!|
Laura's Top Tips: Inserting bust gores
|1. Gather your pieces together, making sure that you have transferred any relevant markings on to the fabric. For this example I am using black satin backed coutil and pink satin with a white cotton backing.||2. Mark with a cross the point where your seams meet on the wrong side of the gusset.|
|3. Lining up any markings and with right sides together, tacking stitch [baste] the gusset to the centre front panel.||4. With the gusset facing up, line up your sewing machine needle with the centre of the cross where the seams intersect.|
|5. Stitch gusset to panel, making sure that you do not deviate from the stitch line when reinforcing the stitch line at each end.||6. Make sure that your first stitch is in the centre of the cross.|
|7. With right sides together, tack stitch the other side of the gusset to the second panel.||7a. I find that it helps to place a few tacking stitches along the other side of the gusset to stop the gusset folding over. This helps you see exactly where the stitch line ends, making it easier to stop stitching in the right place.|
|8. Machine stitch in place. I find it easiest to start at the top of the gusset at this stage.||8a. You want your stitch line to finish exactly where it intersects the other stitch line – do not go over this line, or stop short of it. Also make sure to reinforce the stitching at this point with a couple of backstitches, being careful not to deviate from the stitch line.|
|9. Fold the gusset in half, matching the stitch lines together.||9a. Tack stitch [baste] in place.|
|10. Line up the sewing machine needle with the end of the gusset stitching and stitch the panels together, being careful not to deviate from the stitch line when reinforcing the stitch line at either end.||11. Remove the tacking [basting] stitches and use a tailor's ham or a rolled-up towel as a curved surface on which to press the gusset flat (wrong side up). Pull slightly on the panel to make sure the crease is pressed on the stitch line.|
|12. Run a line of stitching about 3mm (1/8") from the stitch line (on the panel) around the gusset and panel seam. And there you have it. One bust gusset with a neat V at the bottom.|
Laura's Top Tips: Inserting bust gussets