Adding a gusset to pants pt.2

Continuing where we left off yesterday, I’m not sure what to show you first -the process or the result? Oh what the heck. Let’s do results first so you can know whether you want to follow along.

I have to apologize for the discoloration in these (new) photos. Mr. F-I came home too late to shoot these in natural light. I may reshoot them tonight (if he’s home on time) and amend this entry. First the front. On the left is pre-surgery. Right is post gusset insertion.

Now onto the back, the original is on the left and the modified version on the right.

Right off the bat, the first thing that should strike you is that the points I made in Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.2 are demonstrated in the flesh. The camel toe (hereafter abbreviated CT) is eliminated but we still have her brother Wad. In CT pt.2, I explained that some companies -I can only imagine to increase marker yield- have trimmed the side seams of pants and grafted what was subtracted from there, onto the CF/CB crotch line. This has the effect of shortening the crotch line. While the subtraction and addition cancel each other out in total girth -say in a simple undarted skirt- they don’t when it comes to a bifurcated pant. Reducing your fabric costs by shaving the side seam and adding to the CF/CB creates other problems. Specifically, you have two possible results and perhaps a combination of the two. If the pants are snug, you get a CT. If the crotch line is baggier to start with (as I made it baggier with the addition of the gusset), you can end up with CT’s big brother Wad which is what we have now. Off to the side is an illustration.

The only possible cure for a Wad -assuming the pant is roomy enough at the side seam- is to take the excess fabric out of the CF and CB seam but There. Is. No. Way. I. Am. Going. To. Fix. That. You can’t make me. So the end result here is I’ve eliminated the CT by lengthening the crotch with a gusset but now the underlying Wad is unmasked. I really hate how they make jeans and pants these days. The end result is these pants are wearable for the purpose but no sample of beauty or engineering.

How to design the gusset
First open your crotch, guesstimate the length of gusset you’ll need. For mine, I planned a length of 4 1/4″ off to either side of CF/CB. Mark the ends with a wax pencil or something as shown below.

You also need an approximate gusset depth. I’d decided 2″ was good. Now, this is such a simple draft, I did it right on the fabric rather than drafting on paper. By the way, this is all done on the bias, not the straight of grain. Draw in a cross line along the bias that represents the total desired depth. Extend the depth line in both directions the amount of seam allowance -I used 3/8″- as illustrated below.

Now, from the center point depth line of the gusset, draw a line the same length as your crotch opening, making it diamond shaped to end up on the baseline. Again, below.

Repeat this for all sides. You should now end up with a diamond shaped thingy. b.e.l.o.w.

Now, you can cut it out as is but really, those points are unnecessary. You can round them off. It’s much easier and no, the gusset police will not come and get you for this. For the life of me, I don’t know who invented this “rule”. I’ve been rounding off the center points of my gussets forever; these are so much easier to sew. In fact, you might want to make your gusset depth just a bit deeper to compensate for this trimming off.

Because this whole thing was done on the fly, the draft (drawing on the bias with a wide leaded wax pencil is not optimal) it is possible your gusset may not fit perfectly. Mine did not. This is not a problem. You can trim it off on the too long side to match. Obviously this wouldn’t work for an actual pattern draft but this is an on-the-fly alteration so I’m not going to be crazed about it. Oopsie shown below.

Anyway, here is the finished result of the gusset applied. I hope you never need to do this but this should come in handy if you do.

Related: Jeans and pants fitting tutorials
Jeans fit so lousy these days
Jeans fit so lousy these days pt. 2
Yet another pet peeve: Waistbands
Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.1
Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.2
How to fix a camel toe
Adding a gusset to pants pt.1
Adding a gusset to pants pt.2

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  1. Paband says:


    The information you posted is quite interesting regarding removing from the side seam and adding to the cb and or cf. Joyce Murphy published an article in Threads magazine and suggested one remove from the side seam and add to CB seam if one has a flat seat. She calls it fitting one’s body space for pants. You state not to do that alteration or am I confusing the two?

    Some sewists on are doing what you suggest not to do and appear to have good results with altering their pants to fit their bodies.

    Anyway, thanks for this information!

  2. Kathleen Fasanella says:

    Ask yourself, do you have a CT/Wad? If not, walk on by, this doesn’t apply to you.

    The engineering, design and process of home patterns has very little in common with industrial patterns. Forced to say, I’d suggest that home sewing patterns have exactly the opposite problem of industrial ones, the body being too deep meaning that it would only be logical to add to cf and cb as the people you mention have. The point remains tho, do you have a CT/wad in your home pattern? If so, you’d use this otherwise the fixes you describe would only make it worse. If you don’t have this problem, why apply the repair? Context is everything :).

  3. Connie says:

    As always you make a daunting procedure look easy. I would have told my son/husband to try the next size. If that wasn’t helpful, I would have told them ” Forget it, now we know why they’re seconds. There was something wrong with them in the first place.”

    I personally don’t think badly of a company if their ‘seconds’ are problematic. I go into “buyer be ware” mode but if the item is acceptable to me at a very reduced price, I figure it’s a win/win situation for the company and me. However, if their ‘firsts’ fit like that, I’m willing to give them a second chance. After that, I avoid them like the plague.

  4. Paband says:


    I think Kathleen is using the word “wad” to refer to too much fabric after she put the gusset in the pants. If you look at the pictures above, the one on the right was taken after the alteration. The backside is now quite baggy compared to the picture on the left.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Mary Lombard says:

    I agree with Kathleen re: home patterns. Store bought pant patterns usually have a generous hook and extension. Industrial patterns are opposite, ‘specially from China! Currently I’m developing a short block pattern for my company. Most of the patterns I’ve seen have this tiny leetle extension, about 3/4″ to 1″ from the CF. Unbelievable! Ack!

  6. Anir says:

    Well, I might be shooting myself in the foot for saying this but I think that there are two problems with the crotch–the crotch depth–from waist to crotch is too shallow and the crotch width–from front to back and what Kathleen attempted to fix. Fixing the crotch depth would mean dropping the crotch seam an inch or so and rounding out the front and back center seams–if you’ve got complicated seams there–well yes, it’s a pain to rip out and restitch these. Then if the gusset is just a sliver–the 1″ mentioned earlier you could end up with more attractive pants that fit.

    Just my $.2

  7. nutty one says:

    wow! this really helps me to understand why there is such ill fitting pants out there. Personally, I think the CT is evil and the off shore clothing manufacturers are secretly laughing about how they are forcing us to wear these ill shaped clothes (just joking about the conspiracy theory – but you get my drift ). I applaud Mr Fashion Incubator for his courage.

  8. Eff says:

    Totally needed this. Made some pants for my son who is in cloth diapers and followed the pattern… crotch was too tight, it was a 5min fix, now the pants fit like a glove.

    Thanks! :)

  9. Erin says:

    Couldn’t a gusset be added as a stability enhancer? I’ve also seen elsewhere that its used to minimize pattern cutting waste. I’ve also used one for my cloth-diaper wearing baby. It seems for more athletic type pants, it would make the pants more durable, and less likely to possibly tear in the crotch, and all around more comfortable when doing strenuous activities, like hiking or skateboarding, etc.

  10. I’ve been working on a shorts pattern and ended up adding what was effectively a gusset to make them more comfortable for bending, sitting, riding etc. in. They are much more comfortable now, and I feel that the gusset improves the comfort by eliminating the crutch seam in that area (no more “slicer seam”). (It turned out I was using the wrong block for the look I wanted anyway; I was using the jeans block when I ought to have use the trouser block (Aldrich)). I can’t quite see how a gusset would improve ROM here though.

    I notice that in your jeans pattern the gusset looks like it’s the crutch extension of the back leg, cut off to be cut on the bias. I can see that this would make more comfortable jeans (no crutch seam there), but I can’t see how it would increase ROM because if you get into “mounting position” you can still lift your leg far enough without a gusset, can’t you? (I can’t ride due to a bad knee, so I’m guessing here).

    Are add-in gussets just another “modern band-aid” to make up for a bad draft that has a too-short crutch extension? This is not a rhetorical question by the way. :)

  11. lynn higgins says:

    Wish I had had all this guidance 15 years ago when my son was really into JEANS. He lives in a wheelchair and all those seams in the crotch were miserably uncomfortable and deadly to his skin since he can’t move around and let things air out. I’d end up just cutting the entire crotch area out, about a 7 inch by 7 inch rectangle, and would sew in a slightly larger rectangle cut out of some stretchy knit fabric in the color matching his jeans. Since he was always sitting on the knit fabric, no one ever knew.
    His tastes have now matured to more sophisticated slacks and he doesn’t have the problem of all those stiff seams.

  12. Rennie Martin says:

    Thanks a billion!!!
    I just added a gusset to pants that I bought that were a mile too long in the leg and this extra material made the gusset to add some length to the crotch height.
    As I live in Mexico buying clothes to fit tends to be a bit of a problem and now I know I can adjust the next step is to make a pair of pants from scratch.
    Thanks for the help.

  13. Laura says:

    Thank you so much! I just fixed a onesie union suit for my husband. We bought it online as an extra large, the suit fit fine everywhere except for the crotch. His torso was just too long. I came across your article, fit in a gusset (my first ever!) and now it’s fixed! We’re having a onesie party for new years and we can’t wait! Thank you!

  14. Sue Scott says:

    Wow, this is great timeless information. Fitting pants is an incredible challenge every time. I understand CT and wad. If you look at the back of the man’s pants after the alterations, there are diagonal lines from the crotch to the side seam – I don’t know what you call them but how do you resolve them? Also for me, there is fullness below the widest part of the derriere and not enough at my widest point. I’ve heard tuck the baggy part horizontally on the pattern piece but to me that does strange things to the pattern – is that a good solution? And that need for more up higher, for some reason just adding at the sides doesn’t get more exactly where I need it – any suggestions?

  15. Connie Winton says:

    The baggy pants in the back will be less if the diamond shape is shallower in the back than the 1 inch provided for the CT in the front.

  16. Patricia Graefe says:

    Thank you for this information. I am giving a talk to the local ASG neighborhood group this Sunday on gussets and this is great. I will be giving credit to Kathleen Fasanella for the information obtained. I do alterations and repairs. A client came in with several pairs of pants that were baggy in the crotch. When I went to measure the inseam, I saw that there was a gusset present. I asked the client if he did a lot of squatting and he replied NO. I suggested removing the gusset, which I did. The pants fit fine. Those were the first pair of pants that I saw with gussets and it intrigued me to learn more about them. I appreciate this knowledge.

  17. Bridget Jacobson says:

    This is great information, I recently discovered your blog and really appreciate your take on things. Question – do you think it’s possible to successful add a gusset to jeans? Sometimes they have a terribly painful crotch seam. I have considered sewing it down (have not tried yet) but honestly would prefer no seam. I feel like a modification such as this would not wash or wear well over time. Thanks for any thoughts on this.

    • Ralna says:

      My husband is a contractor / carpenter and buys jeans with gussets all the time. They last much longer as not gussets ones tend to rip out in the crotch, that’s usually where they fail first . He does a lot of climbing up and down foundations and walls, big movements. He gets them at farm and ranch stores.

  18. Margaret Carter says:

    I know this is a very late post, but I am wondering if these are a low rise pant being worn at the gentleman’s waist. Most men’s pants these days are worn more at the hip. My dear hubby cranks them up high and the waist ends up all baggy and they are a bit tight in the crotch just like these. Then he shows my how big they are….nope, hubs is just wearing them too high.

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