It’s been a while since I’ve posted, which means that I have a back log to get through. Lets start off with a shift. Shifts contain the 2 “g” words that make a lot of people curse. Gussets and Gores. They aren’t difficult, just persnickety. I’m going to try and break down the technique into small chunks. I’ll be using the shift I needed to create for the Bavarian Dress as an example.
Step 1: Cut the pattern
This shift needed to sit about 1/2″ above the front seam of the Bavarian Dress. I used the same pattern to create the neckline. I tipped the pattern from the center line about 20°.This adds material at the center and sides of the dress. Allows me to create a fitted top in the arms and chest, and more flared at the waist where the gores will go.
I added a 1/2″ to the neckline of the pattern, above what as needed for a seam allowance. This puts the neckline at the proper distance from the dress.
At this time cut out a second collar that is about 2″ deep. It should be the same size in as the shift. This will form the clean neckline.
Step 2- Cut out the gores and sleeves
On the fold, cut 2 triangles. I cut mine so the diagonal is about 1-2″ longer than the edge of side of my shift. I like a little wiggle room. I will trim out the excess later.Set these aside, we’ll come back to them in part 2.
Step 3-Cut out the gussets
The gussets are just 5″ x 5″ squares of linen. 2 per side. Heat up your iron.
Step 4- Cut out the sleeves
The sleeves are large tapered rectangles. The top edge measures the same distance as the arm scythe.
Step 4- Attach the gussets to the sleeves
A. Find the top corner of your sleeve. Sew one edge of the gusset along the outer seam of the sleeve (not along the top edge)
B. Find the opposite outer sleeve seam. Match this up with the diagonal that you have just sewn. This will skew your fabric slightly, but it works out in the end I promise. Continue the line to close up the full sleeve.
C. Zigzag the edges.
Step 5- Press and flip and press again
Press all the seams flat. Turn the sleeve right side out and press the seams again.
Step 6- Sew the shoulder seams and neck line.
Sew your shoulder seams. Press. And then add the neckline. This is right side to right side, sew and clip. Do not flip the neck line at this time.*
Step 8- Attach the sleeves to the shift
This is where it gets “interesting”. You start the attachment of the gussets to the garment in the same fashion as step 4. But you are now going to take the right side out sleeve and “set it” into the arm scythe that hasn’t yet been sewn. You can pin this, but I like a little more freedom of movement. So I start with one side of the garment and work around the hole. Start by taking the free corner of the gusset and lining it up down the side of the shift.
When you start sewing, follow the line all the way around the scythe. You will be attaching the sleeve and the gusset at the same time. When you get to the end, sew the remaining seam to the shift. Continue down for another 1/2″. Leave the rest of the side open for the gores.**
Step 7- Press and finish your seams
Run a zigzag stitch around the full sleeve. Flip and iron flat. Add a finishing seam to lock the edge down.
Step 8- Repeat on the other side
Once you have the sleeves on, take a break. It will be time for part 2 and putting in the gores shortly.
*We did this technique in this post https://alysten.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/bfg-hidden-seams-in-lined-garments/. Rather than do a full lining, we are only doing a 2″ border.
**If you are sewing a man’s shirt (you can follow the same instructions), continue sewing down the full side of the shirt and stop at the hem line.