Fitting the gusseted jean

gusset_jeansI bought a pair of jeans with a gusset recently. I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time but only did it now because I have a customer making gusset jeans for men. It’s good to do competitive analysis even though this doesn’t really apply due to sex, just to get a feel for the range of options in the marketplace. Automakers do this all the time but worse (so called “tear downs”) so you should too.

I can’t be very specific about the brand I bought because I don’t want to be the cause of any unintended conclusions in the event I am misinterpreted and besides, they didn’t ask for my opinion. It’s a little different if a consumer does it rather than somebody like me with an arguably vested interest (technically, they’d hire me to fix it or consult with them to fix their grade). So the company is unnamed and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention the brand either. I’ve been much more specific on all counts here in the forum.

If you like and assuming it would be educational, we can troubleshoot the causes of these problems here as long as we don’t identify the company or cause any ill will. For what it’s worth, even though I’m less than satisfied with the product’s fit, I will continue to buy their products because they are a good value for what I need in a pair of jeans and plus, I don’t have to go to a store to buy them.

So, the floor is all yours. What say you? As always, think beyond the obvious…

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  1. Deanna Tanner says:

    I’m interested. I put gussets in jeans as an alteration as most people find they are cut too low in the rise and without any bum room. But I haven’t even thought of putting a gusset in my own drafts. Is it just a jeans thing?

  2. Terri says:

    I’d be interested in hearing people’s thoughts.
    I’ve put gussets in tights but that is so pattern specific. I’ve put them in trousers (usually purchased rather than made by us) where an actor or dancer needs more length in the inseam to spread the legs to the side rather than extra length front to back, so I wonder if the gusseted jeans are a correction for patterns gone wrong over the years, fabric allocation or what.

  3. Liz says:

    I am interested, too.

    I used to belong to the forum, but as a (currently) cash-strapped enthusiast, I could not afford to keep up my membership. Not complaining, Kathleen needs the money and the forum is worth the cost, and more if you are in the business. I’m just a bit sad I can’t get in at the moment.

  4. Patricia K. says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Would you mind putting a photo of the jeans lying flat in different positions? Maybe the overall silhouette from front and back and also a view of the gusset flattened out.

    I’m actually totally unfamiliar with jeans having gussets. Am I the only one who is just becoming aware of it?

    I’m hoping that some of the posters who are in the know about this and have relevant thoughts to share will post them here as well the discussion on the forum. There are probably quite a few of us in the same position as Liz. Maybe someone can give us an edited version of the meatier portions of the forum discussion. ( if that’s not overstepping our bounds as non-forum folk)

  5. Quincunx says:

    I’m not too familiar with it either. I mean, even after going back and reading the relevant articles here about gussets and pants and jeans (try the key words in the search box one at a time, not all at once–and it’s all nicely public!), the idea still hasn’t stuck. . .I don’t know what sticking a gusset in a jean is meant to fix.

    My pants are of the ordinary, non-gusseted, pile-’em-high-sell-’em-cheap variety. Curious then, that when I copy that stance in the pic, I get the same wrinkles. The jeans are better than my pants as far as the inseam goes: the jeans have mild and nearly parallel ripples for walking ease, my pants have sunburst wrinkles all converging high up on the thigh. However, both pairs of leg coverings have a weird clump of horizontal excess fabric at the top. What’s going on there? My pants are sliding south from where they were intended to rest on my bod and some of the fabric that should be covering my pelvis is instead bunching up there on the tops of my thighs. Flattering it ain’t. What excuse do the jeans have for replicating that effect? They don’t appear to have the same problem of sliding south.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Thanks Carol, you’re a doll. Btw, I’ve been in and out all day, not ignoring anyone; have visitors from out of town to tend to.

  7. Terri says:

    So are you saying the gusset has been made from the existing pattern, so there has been no gain in crotch or fork length nor a gain in inseam length but because the gusset is cut on the fold where the crotch seam used to be it is causing a problem? What is the grainline on the gusset in question? Often they are cut on the bias where you intend to gain the most give. Obviously the grain in the gusset will be different than the seam grains in a non gusseted trouser so maybe that is causing issues.
    Its hard to tell from the picture exactly what you think the fit problems are.

  8. Anir says:

    Judging from the picture, as I haven’t been privy to the forum discussion (my money is also tight, I used to be a member), I’d say that the crotch does not have enough fabric front to back. It’s possible that the crotch is not deep enough–Carol seems to indicates adding both width and depth in her drawing of the fix–but I would add width before I added depth. Usually if you don’t have enough depth you get camel toe. Smile lines usually indicate that there’s not enough fabric horizontally–either in the hip or leg. Also I can’t see the gusset on inside of the leg–so I would say it’s way too short–something that Carol’s drawings imply.

    I agree with Terri that the gusset would be better cut on the bias. Carol’s drawing indicates that the gusset would have a seam where a pant crotch seam would have been. I would take out the seam, add the necessary increase in width and/or decrease in depth, and then pattern the gusset as one piece to cut on the bias. I think a seam down the middle defeats the purpose of a gusset across the crotch. Usually when a gusset replaces other patterning, there’s more fabric to facilitate movement, but if done right, it’s not noticeably bulky or uncomfortable.

    Brands that commonly have a crotch gusset such as Gramecci or most karate pants you find, usually leave some crotch curve in the back, but little in the front. There’s a photo of the Gramecci crotch gusset if you scroll down on this page: Not sure why Gramecci pieces the gusset unless it’s to cut the lower pieces on the straight so that the bias is concentrated in the crotch and upper thighs. Now I’m thinking that Gramecci must have copied the karate pants–because the crotch is basically the same. Referencing Terri, if the existing pattern and the gusset were cut correctly, then there should be some, maybe only a little, gain, and that gain should not cause smile lines across the front of the pants. I realize that Gramecci and/or karate pants aren’t generally worn as fitted as the jeans in the photo. However I have done a lot of gussets on various parts of the body and the basically principal is the same.

    Anyway I think I agree for the most part with Carol, although I would make incremental alterations, first add width, then depth if necessary, and check for fit after each. FWIW if the first patten didn’t fit well in the crotch, adding a gusset won’t magically change that.

  9. No, the second link isn’t to a suggested fix, it was how I was was guessing the company made its mistake(s). Kathleen stated that the crotch was too low and we can see that there’s too much fabric wadding up.

    There isn’t a seam at the top of the gusset, it’s one long diamond cut on the straight or cross grain, which puts each of its sides on a bias.

    The problem isn’t whether there’s a gusset or not, it’s whether the crotch curve and width of the pants have been engineered correctly. If they have, replacing standard construction with a gusset simply moves the seams from right at the crotch to the sides, where they’re less apt to chafe.

    Karate pants and bicycle wear are a good example.

  10. dosfashionistas says:

    It is my belief that the gusset is cut in two pieces for sewing sequence. Inseam first, then crotch, then outseam was considered the proper order of sewing in several sportswear places I have worked (I am simplifying, not putting in all steps such as pocket, zipper etc.)

    I have recently had a problem with bought pants (plus size) that pulled down in back and came up too high in front. I decided they needed depth to the crotch, and solved the fit by taking about 2″ from the top of the front rise and adding it as a gusset. Not a true gusset, because I could not make them bias of course, but the pants fit comfortably now.

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