One last thing to do for the hem area is to add a gusset to the bottom of the side seam. This strengthens the area, preventing the seam from ripping open with use.
You can begin by drafting or printing the pattern for the gusset. There are other sizes and styles you could draw, but this is the most basic version I’ve found.
To draft, first draw an equilateral triangle, 2″ on each side. You can refer to this video to draw the triangle.
Next, mark the midpoint, 1″ from each corner, on both sides.
Add a 1/4′ seam allowance all around.
Finally, draw a line (they don’t have to be dotted), passing through the two points you made along the side. Then make another two lines across the bottom corners, about 1/4″ from each corner. These are the fold lines.
Here’s the completed pattern with the grain line indicated.
With your pattern complete, cut out two gussets. You may want to cut a couple of extra to practice with the pressing.
The pressing is definitely the trickiest part here, as the folds are so small. You get one looking good, and then it gets messed up as you press the next one. Just keep working at it!
Press the two bottom corners up along the fold lines. Press the top corner down so that the fold is where the top of the triangle (without the seam allowance) falls.
Press the two sides over using a roughly 1/4″ seam allowance. I say roughly, because it’s almost impossible to get the folds to 1/4″ exactly and have everything still looking good. Try to get the top corner as sharp as possible.
Fold the bottom edge upwards. The bottom corners of the triangle are not sharp, but form two additional flat edges.
Press everything as best you can, then turn to the right side and press again. I used a bit of starch in an attempt to get everything to stay flat. After the photo I did sharpen up that top corner a little more.
Finally, fold the gusset in half along the vertical fold line as shown.
Repeat for the other gusset.
Attaching the Gussets
With the gussets all folded up, lay the shirt side seam right side up and position one of the gussets in place, the smaller triangular half facing upwards towards the seam.
It takes some fiddling with, but I ended up folding the gusset in half as I positioned it at the bottom of the side seam. The tip of the gusset should be about 1/4″ above the bottom of the side seam. The shirt the splays out a little to make room for the gusset.
Fell one edge of the gusset to the shirt, keeping the rolled edge of the shirt as tightly into the gusset as you can without distorting the fabric. It’s a little tricky in that the shirt will want to pull out of the gusset since the tolerances are so small.
Fell the other half of the gusset to the shirt in the same manner. If you’ve made it this far the rest is much easier!
Now fell the inside of the gusset to the shirt, smoothing out the shirt and gusset as you work as necessary.
Here’s my gusset from the inside. I found it tricky to keep the inner layer centered, so both of mine were off by quite a bit. Will need to work on that next time.
Finally, top stitch the gusset from the outside along the edges through all layers (photo coming soon).
|1||Draft or print the gusset pattern.|
|2||Press and attach the side seam gussets.|