Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tutorial: Inserting Gores

I'm involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is a historical recreation group that studies the Middle Ages and Renaissance. We've got an event coming up this weekend, and I decided that I needed new garb for it. I've been making an under/over tunic set, based on the instructions here: . The resulting outfit is surprisingly comfortable, with a full swishy skirt, and takes less than 8 yards of fabric for complete set. I have four other outfits made on this pattern that I wear when out camping with the group. But those are out of plain fabric, and I decided that I needed something a little nicer this time around. So this time, the bottom layer is black linen, and the over tunic is a teal brocade. I'll try to get photos of me in it, once I get it done.

Of course, I have to finish sewing it first. This is a long dress, with fullness in the skirt provided by gores. The directions for inserting the gores simply say, "Sew cf and cb gore into cf and cb slits. (May be easiest to sew the points in by hand.)" Now, when I was learning this dress I tried and tried, but had a heck of a time getting a triangular gore to fit into a slit in a piece of fabric without bumps and wrinkles! I finally found directions that made sense to me here: .

Now that I figured it out, I thought I'd share. Here's pictures of how I did it:

Cut your slit in the base fabric, but stop when the slit is about two inches shorter than your gore. Mark a spot about 5/8" up on the slit line, on the right side of the base fabric.

On the wrong side of the gore, mark your 5/8" seam allowance.

See the X where the seam allowances crossed? Line that up with the mark you made on the base fabric. Right sides are together.

Pin the two spots together, catching as little of the fabric as possible.

Rotate the gore, so the edge of the gore and the edge of the slit line up. Pin.

Starting a couple of inches back, hand sew on the seam allowance line up to the pinned X. I put a couple of tiny reinforcing stitches at that point.

Now, carefully cut the slit in the base fabric the rest of the way, up almost to the mark you made. There should be a couple of threads left uncut.

Rotate the gore, and line the other edge up with the other side of the slit. Again, right sides together. Pin.

Continue hand sewing down from the point, until you have an inch or so done.

Peek at the right side of the fabric. Did you get it right? Excellent! Now you can machine sew the rest of the gore into place.


  1. You clever thing...hope you have a great time at the weekend!

  2. Thanks, Chrisy! Sewing is done. Time to crawl into bed, so I can get up and pack in the morning.


  3. Very interesting. I love when I visit a blog and learn something brand new.

  4. I'm glad you stopped by, Alicia! I just checked out your blog. You made it to DragonCon...I am sooooo envious!