SewingFilter: How to set in a gore without it looking bad?
January 23, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

I can't get the hang of inserting a triangular gore (godet?) into a slit in the fabric. All the online instructions I've found gloss over the really tricky bits (the point, and finishing the seams afterward.) Can anyone point me to the broken-down-for-complete-newbies instructions? I will be sewing by hand and need to use a historical seam finish.

I do historical costuming. A great many of these garments call for inserting a triangular gore (I've also seen these called godets, not sure of the difference) into either a slit in the fabric or a seam. The ones on the seam are easy to do - you just sew the gore to one panel then sew the other panel onto the combined piece- but I continually struggle with the ones set into a slit. The point at the top always comes out looking wrong! I've tried it by hand and by machine and can never seem to get the hang of it.

I am currently working on a 14th-century wool buttoned hood that contains two gores to add fullness to the shoulders. I want to enter this for competition, so I'm taking a great deal of care with it, handsewing throughout using period materials, etc. But these gores are giving me FITS. I can't figure out a way to get them in so that I can finish the seams neatly (either by flat-felling or by just stitching them down) and so the point doesn't look strange.

Can anyone point me to some sort of tutorial, or give me instructions yourself, on what I should be doing here? Hand-bound buttonholes don't give me pause, but I'm tearing my hair out over the gores.
posted by oblique red to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Here's one very good step-by-step tutorial (with pictures, no less!). Alternatively, there's a rather more concise (but less detailed) set of instructions here from the always-dependable Threads Magazine.

P.S. I don't envy you. Gores give me hives. Good luck!
posted by teamparka at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2009

Best answer: I've done some of this myself (I also do 13th-14th C costuming, so I've set gores in gowns as well as in hoods), and, yes, this is the part everyone hates.

Here's some description of how to sew that gore point in.

For what it's worth, the ones I did on my wool hood were the easiest ones, because the stretch of the wool and because the wool was felted. In linen or silk garments, it's more difficult because it will unravel and generally be annoying. I always stitch the point by hand and then the rest of the long seam by machine to save time. (Except on my wool hood, which was entirely hand-stitched). I don't think I necessarily do a very good job of it -- and on some of my dresses, the gore point has needed to be redone, as it tends to be a point of stress and there's not really much seam allowance there, but it gets better each time I do it, so I think practice is a key. And I think it really is much easier by hand than by machine.
posted by litlnemo at 6:44 PM on January 23, 2009

You have to stitch really, really close to the edge of the fabric when you get to the point. If you have too much seam allowance you're going to get a pucker. The instructions from Threads posted above are great!
posted by apricot at 4:55 PM on January 25, 2009

Response by poster: Many thanks to everyone! For any future people who want to know the answer, here is a short recap of the method that finally worked for me (based on the above plus a hands-on demo from a costuming friend):

1. do a line of stay-stitching around the top of the slit, where you want the seam to be.
2. CAREFULLY extend the slit ALMOST to the stay-stitching.
3. Mark the seam allowance on both sides of the gore. Where the two lines cross is your point.
4. Place the gore on the main body of the garment, with one edge lined up to the slit, so that the point is on top of the center point (right behind your staystitch line).
5. Begin stitching at the point and stitch down the lined-up edge.
6. Clip the extra seam allowance off the point of the gore.
7. Flip the gore over and line up the other edge.
8. Put your needle in the same point you started the other seam. Sew down from the point.
9. Finish seams as desired.

For me what made the difference was sewing down from the point instead of up to it, the staystitching, and careful attention to the clipping.

posted by oblique red at 7:46 AM on January 26, 2009

« Older Is there a mineral equivalent of the order of life...   |   Editing Software for HD Video? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.