Photo Tutorial - Reinforcing underarm gussests with silk organza


Warning - this post is only going to appeal to some of you.  If underarm gussets are something you're never gonna sew, then mark this post as read and we'll talk fun things later. Fun things like cake, or Froggie, or eating cake with Froggie.

OK then, I'm assuming that those of you who have stuck around are wild about gussets. After all having a better range of motion in a kimono sleeve is something to smile about.
Sewing gussets is a bit of a different story. Like fly front zippers, my brain refuses to remember all the sewing steps no matter how many times I've sewn them. The directions on the Advance pattern were a bit vague, so I cracked open a few sewing books to refresh my memory.

The book I ended up using was Gertie's original text "Gertie's new book for better sewing." Her steps included using silk organza to reinforce the seam.  I had silk organza, gussets and a camera, so I took some pictures of the process. I'm not inventing anything here, just providing a pictorial overview of the steps.  As a visual learner I though it might be helpful to others who learn the same way.

Sewing Gussets with Silk Organza
For reference - My pictures correspond with steps 5 and 6 of the Wiggle Dress pattern.

Step 1.  Mark the gusset stitch and slash lines on your bodice.  Note -You'll be sewing the silk organza to the right side of the fabric. 90% of the time you'll be transferring the sewing lines onto the right side of the fabric as well. On my project I ended up putting my marks on the wrong side because of the black background. (My chalk was hiding that day.)

Step 2.  Cut out a piece of silk organza that is a bit larger than the gusset area. Pin it over the marked lines on the right side of the fabric.

Step 3.  With a small stitch, stitch directly on top of the marked stitch lines.

Step 4. Slash on the slash line up to the tip of the stitching.

Step 5. On the right side, fold the silk organza towards the slash and press.

Step 6. Draw in the seam allowance on the gusset piece

Step 7. Pin the gusset to the bodice, matching the drawn in stitch line on the gusset with the stitched line on the bodice,

Step 8. Stitch the two pieces together by stitching directly on top of the line stitched in Step 3. Try to keep any wrinkles from getting under the needle while pivoting at the tip of the gusset.

Step 9. If the gusset is pucker free than press it with the seam allowances out like this.

Step 10. Flip the bodice to the right side and edge stitch around the gusset seam.

Step 11. Turn the bodice back to the wrong side and trim the silk organza a little smaller than the seam allowance.

The finished gusset will look like this on the wrong and right sides.

Then you've got to go sew 3 more gussets! I suggest rewarding yourself with chocolate after completing each one. Then when you're all done go have a piece of cake with Froggie. Those calories don't count.


  1. the last step especially is of utmost importance :))

  2. Thank you for posting this! I plan on making Gertie's wiggle dress from the book at some point, and the book's pictures just make my brain hurt.

  3. So glad you found the photos useful Sylvie. That pattern is on my to sew list too.

  4. I've bookmarked this bad boy for later! See you with Froggie and cake on the other side. :)

  5. Sweet! Give us a heads up and Froggie will arrange to have your favorite flavor.

  6. Thanks for this useful tutorial. I've never did a gusset but I will for sure when I feel ready to start with my vintage patterns, so this is a great help. I've just read the previous post too and oh, what a lovely dress.
    Now I am gonna have some cake to celebrate my new knowledge.

  7. Thank you Mayumi. :) Celebrating new knowledge with cake sounds like a great plan. I might have to follow your example.

  8. This looks like tons of work! Yikes, dude!

  9. I won't lie, the gusset part did take awhile. Luckily the rest of the dress was easy peasy sewing.


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