Ask the Tailor: How do Gussets Work?

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Each month we ask our expert tailors to address one of your most frequent questions. This month we’re talking gussets. What are they, and how do they work?

Within the tailoring industry, we use almost a whole dictionary’s worth of specialist terms. Gusset is a great example of this. 

A gusset refers to a very simple trick with a piece of fabric that can make a big difference to how well your garments fit. Essentially, a gusset is a triangle or rhomboid shaped piece of cloth that is inserted into a seam in order to provide a bit of extra breathing room.

Gussets are most frequently used during alterations. They’re ideal for gentlemen who want to have tailored garments made a little bit bigger. Gussets are often added to shirts, trousers or jackets in order to accommodate a few extra inches belonging to the wearer!

In these instances, the seam of the garment in question is very carefully taken apart, then the gusset fabric is inserted in between the two original pieces. Usually tailors will match the original fabric for the gusset, but they may occasionally opt for a contrast fabric in order to make a stylistic statement. 

There are also occasions when gussets are used in tailored garments for decorative reasons rather than simply to be able to alter them. Gussets were historically used in shirt creation in order to comfortably fit the shirt to the body. They are sometimes still used in contemporary shirts, although it is often for stylistic purposes, such as at the hem, rather than to fit the shirt to the wearer’s body.

Next month we’ll be asking our tailors to tell us everything we need to know about French bearers. Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it.