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About Gussets
and How to sew them in your sleeves

What is a gusset? A gusset is some fabric added to the right areas of a garment to "mold it" better to your body

The simplest gusset is a square of fabric. although some patterns call for a triangular gussets usually in shirt patterns were you have to sew a triangle to each site of the sleeve and then sew the sleeve to the body, so the last seam is the side seam of the shirt. This can work but it can have a lot of seam allowance tension problems and the best way to do it is to sew it all together so there are areas were four seams must come together. Using the Square gusset which will oriented to hang along the bias will be more flexible and much more comfortable. It also has the added advantage of being sewn so that only three seams join in one place and this is very easy to do, we will get into it later. As simple as the square may be, this one with the elongated point will give you a much better fit. Sewn with the "pointier" end towards the elbow or even beyond it will make the finished sleeve more conical in shape, as is your arm. There are other shapes that can be used too but these two will cover most of the gusset needs you will have.

Sewing Your Gussets

Well start off with your sleeve piece and

I like to do most of my cuff treatment at this point, however if the sleeve might be too long or may not fit right you may want to leave this till later, like after you've had a chance to try it on and be sure it fits. Also if there will be no gathered cuff you don't do this.

Now with the cuff end towards you, lay the sleeve in your machine with the gusset right sides together in the upper right corner and sew the

Flip the sleeve around so the cuff end is in the machine and fold the gusset in half diagonally so that the fold is right at the end of the seam you just sewed and all the other gusset fabric is not get between the sleeve fabric wen you sew down to the end of that last seam. look at the sleeve and you should see the end of that last seam sew to that point, because we've done this we can see where we need to sew to and were to stop and back stitch a bit.

Flip the sleeve around again and again fold the gusset around so it's flat

This drawing shows the gusset flat and the sleeve corner folded, so now sew to the end of the previous seam and then you'll be basically done.

So here we can see the "Y" shaped seam with the gusset in the seam and the sleeve under-arm seam being the bottom of the "Y"

Now you could also finish the cuff opening here I'd just sew the folds down to the inside and sew some kind of treatment around were the under-arm seam end to reenforce and support it because it will get a lot of abuse.

So when you're done there should be a diamond or lozenge in your armpit, like in this drawing with the four triple or "Y" seams here.

The Sleeve Gusset

Sewing in your underarm gussets. This method of sewing gussets is quick and easy because there are only three seams joining. and when sewing you end up sewing to the end of a seam so you can line-up your seams and end them in the right places.

Start by sewing one edge of the gusset to on edge of the sleeve, sew from the raw edge to the point on the gusset where the seam lines intersect of the elbow end of the gusset. Place the sleeve fabric right side up with the shoulder end in the machine and the cuff end towards you. place the gusset on the top right corner with the right-side down, so the right-sides are facing. sew this edge

Second turn over the sleeve and fold it in half lengthwise and the gusset diagonally so they are all lining in the now sew the sleeve inseam from the cuff opening to the end of the previous seam, just sew till you contact the last stitch of the previous seam and back stitch. you will see how this method gives you a clear stoping point in the end of the previous seam.

Third flip over the sleeve again, opening the gusset so the corner of the sleeve is folded then from the shoulder end with the gusset under the sleeve fabric sew to the end of the second seam and back stitch,

turn the sleeve right-side out. the sleeve is now pretty much done, but to sew it to the shirt

Fourth is to sew the sleeve to the shirt. place the shirt in the machine near where the center line of the sleeve goes, lay the sleeve on the shirt, lining up the center points. Start sewing as far ahead of this center point as you can sew

Fifth seam like the second closes the body of the shirt, be careful the line up the edges and ensure that you have enough fabric to sew down the last of the gusset. then sew up the shirt side seam till you come to the end of the fourth seam and back stitch again. Now you have a hard seam to sew to to finish the sleeve.

Sixth seam finishes the sleeve, turn the sleeve so that you are sewing away from the top of the shirt down to the bottom of the gusset, the sleeve piece should be under the shirt fabric and you just finish sewing the fourth seam and back stitch wen you react the top of the side seam.

Turn the shirt right-side out and lay it down, and you will have a nicely sewn in sleeve. With a little practice it should toke you very little time at all.

Differently shaped Gussets will give you a different fit, and make the sleeve more conical which is more comfortable. See here lines of gussets with the elongated point.

Remember to measure twice and sew once.

Used to be, in a T-Tunic, for example, the side seam was cut as a long curve and it would fit well. This curved cut is shown to the left. Now looking ar the drawing to the right with the lines of a gusseted sleeve drawn in, you can see how the gusset takes the place of the curved seam. this means you can cut your garments out in rectangular pieces and save yourself fabric

Sew down the gusset to the body end of the sleeve fold over the seem-allowance and then fold the sleeve in half along its length, flip the sleeve over so the cuff end is through the machine start sewing at the end of the cuff opening. sew down to were seam holding the gusset starts

More about gussets

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2006 March 28