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Wrinkle Free Gores & Gussets

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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.


Difference between a gore and a gusset

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.)

 

How To Insert Bust Gores & Get A Neat V Shape At The Bottom

  • I recommend you practice this technique on some scraps before you try it out on your corset. It took me a couple of tries to get it just right!
  • If you are using coutil or some other rigid fabric, it helps to run the pieces over with a hot iron to soften them and make them easier to work with. Make sure you wait a second or two before you handle them so they can cool a little. This is really helpful when you are bringing the gore through the split in the panel.
The pieces Gore, marked with seam lines
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.
Mark the bottom of the slit Apply glue
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.
 Tacking stitch  Tacking stitch
 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.
 Rotate the gore  Rotate the gore
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.
Machine stitch  gore_8
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].
 Machine stitch the second side Press
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.
Finished gore  
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

gores-gussets-icon
  • If you pin the gore to the panel when you put your anchor stitch in, be sure to check that the pieces are still lined up after pinning and stitching. When I tried, it kept shifting about.
  • Don't make your anchor stitch too tight. You want it tight enough to keep the pieces lined up, but you also want a little room to pivot the gore.
  • If you are finding it tricky to keep the seam allowances aligned as you machine stitch, draw the stitch line onto the wrong side of the fabric – make sure you use tailor's chalk, a water-soluble pen or other removable method!
  • If you find that your gore has a "kink" or "dip" at the bottom of the V, check that the stitching lines do intersect each other and that you haven't stitched past the intersection point.
  • Mark the sides of your pieces in the seam allowance. I gave this guide to a friend to test the tutorial and (bless her) she wrote "RIGHT SIDE", "WRONG SIDE" in pencil right in the middle of the gore!
  • Floss the bottom of the gore – not essential, but I think it looks really pretty and adds a little extra something special to it!

 

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How to Insert Bust Gussets

Gusset pieces Marking the seam lines
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.
Lining up the pieces Stitching 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.
Stitching the gusset First stitch on the cross
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.
Tack stitch the second panel  Tack stitch the base
 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.
Machine stitching the second panel Reinforce the stitching
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.
Fold the two sides in half Tack the base
9. Fold the gusset in half, matching the stitch lines together.  9a. Tack stitch [baste] in place.
Stitch the ends Iron the gusset
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.
Final finished gusset  
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.  

 


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Laura's Top Tips:  Inserting bust gussets

  • If you are finding it tricky to keep the seam allowances aligned as you machine stitch, draw the stitch line onto the wrong side of the fabric – make sure you use tailor's chalk, a water-soluble pen or other removable method!
  • If you find that your gusset has a "kink" or "dip" at the bottom of the V, check that the stitching lines do intersect each other and that you haven't stitched past the intersection point.
  • An open toe foot is very useful when it comes to lining up the needle with specific points.

 

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anne_clare  
  Thank you so much for this article. My very first Victorian corset will have both gussets and gores and this will help me a lot :-D  
 
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joann999  
  Wow. I think I've wanted to know how to do this for years. Thanks for taking the time to make such a great tutorial.  
 
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gothlips  
  "12. Run a line of stitching about 3mm (1/8") from the stitch line (on the panel) around the gusset and panel seam."

I can't figure out what that means, are you top stitching along the length of the "Y" seam? Could you explain that in more detail?
 
 
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cathyhay  
  Hi, this step is just asking you to stitch around the gusset next to the seam line, in order to sew the seam allowance down neatly and, more importantly, to reinforce the strength of the seam.  
 
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aitchlight  
  This is a great article, I am referring to it over and over while I try to get the hang of inserting bust gores. Practice will make perfect, eventually (I hope!)  
 
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josedano  
  idon't understand the last step, why do you stitch on the gore or gussets 3/8th of inch on the gore or gusset?  
 
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cathyhay  
  Hi Jose, that last step stitches the seam allowance down and helps to reinforce the seam.  
 

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