Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reinforcing a Gusset: A Tutorial

Interior corners can be tricky on areas that will be under stress such as an armhole, which is going to see quite a bit of movement throughout the day.  Clipping extremely close to the seamline is necessary, but the pivot points often show signs of wear long before the rest of the garment.  Reinforcing the stitching with an extra scrap of silk organza can make all the difference.  (I know you must be sick and tired of hearing about my obsession with silk organza, but it is extremely useful to have on hand for so many reasons.)

The first step is always to stay-stitch the inner corner, whether or not you choose to reinforce the area with extra fabric.  A small stitch-length will prevent a cut from migrating past the seam allowance, but sometimes a bit more than a simple line of stitching is needed.

Pin a small square of organza in place on the RIGHT side of the fabric.  The center of the square should be placed at the point of the stitching line.

I find it easier to see the original line of stitching while it is not covered with another piece of fabric, so I flip the piece over, and pin from the wrong side. 

After removing the pins from the right side of the fabric, stitch directly over the original line of stitching.  This should secure the square to your fabric.

At this point, it looks a little ridiculous with that scrap marring the front of the bodice, but we aren’t done yet!

Clip all the way to the stitched point, being careful not to cut through the line of stitching.

Press each side of the organza towards the center, and push it through to the wrong side of the fabric. 

Pull the organza taught, making sure it is not visible from the right side of the fabric and press in place, bringing the seam allowance along with it.  

Mark seam allowances in chalk or pen on the wrong side of the gusset.

Pin the gusset in place.

I like to hand baste at this point to have more control at the interior point.  The edges will not match, especially towards the interior corner – the important thing is to match the reinforced stitching to the seamline marked in chalk on the gusset.

On your machine, stitch from fabric edge to point, plunge the needle, turn, and stitch to the opposite edge.

Trim the excess organza from the edges.

Now is the time to finish the gusset edges however you wish (of course, I prefer to use rayon seam binding!).

Voila!  Your finished gusset!  

[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October. I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months.]


  1. Strength, elegance, and longevity.

    Nice to see a pit that won't quit.

  2. Thanks very much for that. I have a neckline with a sharp corner like that that I was hoping to get to tonight. I think that will be just the treatment.

  3. Great tute! wonderful clear photography.

  4. Excellent tutorial, thank you! Very timely for me too, since I can use those techniques on a sharp corner that's on my agenda :)

  5. WOW. Thanx for this excellent tip, and so well written too. Even I can understand it! ;-))
    Thanx again.