Archive for March, 2011

March 21, 2011

How to sew a gusset in pants, undies or knickers

The last time I sewed undies I tried enclosing both of the gusset seams and ended up with a confusing Möbius strip kind of thing that I wasn’t sure would work. I didn’t tack anything either and didn’t sew through all three layers all the way across which made me think there must be a more reliable way to do it.

The enclosing of both seams, or indeed the sewing of undies in general, probably doesn’t matter to many people but sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet and want to work something out so I think about it hard until I fix it. It has to be said that many of life’s problems cannot be fixed like this so it is good to find one that can!

This is what I did this yesterday and it is easier to sew as there is no twisting of gusset and front and back pieces to accommodate but I would advise a little bit of tacking here rather than relying on pins to hold everything together.

I cut my pieces from one size 16 long sleeved shirt which was 95% cotton and 5% lycra.

Two of the pairs are cut with the stretch going across the pieces and one pair was cut on a wonky bias because I wanted to get as many pairs out of the shirt as possible! I used a self-drafted pattern which is a good copy of a comfy pair of pants I own which are now falling to pieces.

Here is the front piece with one of the gusset pieces on top and the other gusset piece hidden underneath. The outside gusset piece will have its right side facing the right side of the front piece.

Line up the edges and tack through all three layers: gusset-front-gusset. That is what I’m going to call the gusset sandwich.

Next, take the gusset that is lying on top of the front and fold it towards you then take the waist edge of the front piece and roll it towards gusset sandwich so that you end up with something like this

Now lay your back piece on the table and flip your rolled up front piece with attached gussets over onto it, lining up the edge of the outside gusset with the matching edge on the back piece with right sides together like this

This looks odd but stay with me here! Hold the inside gusset and tuck it underneath both the rolled up front and the laid out back, to match its edge with the edges of the back and the outside gusset. The back piece will get a bit bunched up and it will all look like this once you have tacked the second gusset sandwich

Carry this little bundle of joy to your sewing machine and stitch along the seams you have tacked. I find stitching very close to unstable edges like this easier with a narrow zipper foot as it drags less and I can see what I’m doing.

Once the seams are sewn and you pull the rolled up bits out from between the gusset pieces you will see that you have
the makings of a pair of pants with totally enclosed gusset seams!

Now bind the legs and waist however you like and put your pants on!

I had enough FOE with a gold stripe to bind the legs of two pairs and the other pair had lingerie elastic sewn straight on without doing any stitching and turning. I don’t bother binding the waist edges of fabric this stretchy which makes a forgiving waistband that never digs in at all.

Happy sewing!

March 21, 2011

Sunny day, chasing the clouds away

I sewed something yesterday:3 pairs of pants!

I also

Got up late
Did four loads of washing – in, out, dry, back in and half put away
Spoke to a lovely man at Barclays India whilst simultaneously realising that yesterdays embarrassment in Waitrose is all my fault because I am stupid and the new card isn’t broken and I don’t need a new pin, it is just not the card for the account I thought it was for – doh
Listened to music
Changed Mr G’s wiper blades so that I can see through the windscreen when I next drive his car in the rain
Talked to the nice neighbours outside
Cut El Famosisimo’s hair to his satisfaction and swept up an awful lot of it
Cleared the living room floor COMPLETELY and washed it (for the first time since Miss Amoo’s party in February…. eek!)
Ironed eight shirts
Photographed a soon-to-be-tute for sewing a hidden seamed gusset for undies

J went sailing, Miss Amoo went to play at a friend’s house, El F went out smartly dressed, Mr G took Miss Froo out to get dinner and wiper blades and sponges then washed the car with her and then even cooked a roast without too many expletives in it. The girls had a bath and had fits of the giggles over who knows what and we realised that El Famosisimo is actually getting quite good at playing the guitar.

Some days are just good, aren’t they?

March 18, 2011


It’s the 18th March and I still haven’t made anything for me. The only sewing I’ve done this month is bean bags from fleece scraps at our Tuesday home ed group. These have gone down well and feel really nice to hold and throw but I’m still without a new vest or new undies!

Late on Tuesday afternoon the sun was on its way down and I was at the sink when it shone through the kitchen window and through glass of stones on the windowsill

and I found that I could do this

This week has been odd, busy, messy and a bit stressful but shot through with good moments spent with friends. These friends and the long awaited flashes of light and green are keeping me afloat and if I can get through the family’s detritus to my machine this weekend I’ll feel even better.

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March 10, 2011

A Bit of Green

We’ve had a very boring week with too much business and not enough ha ha hee hee so we went out today quickly to a place that is a bit of a local secret.

The lakes are old quarries belonging to NPower and at one point were in danger of being used to ‘store’ ash from the power station. In the end the lakes were saved and are now under the wing of local wildlife and nature trust which organised the building of this hide with the help of volunteers

Inside looking up into the roof

and from around the side of the lake

It was a wild and windy afternoon but very bright and clear and we definitely blew our cobwebs away despite only being out for under an hour. We also found what I was looking for: signs of green and fresh newness

Photo credits: Miss Amoo