The many comments and illustrations (thank you Carol!) posted in comments to Tuesday’s entry make me want to step back from this just a bit- to revisit some earlier topics on this site. With respect to Tuesday’s entry, a lot of confusion could be cleared up with a re-reading of the camel toe entries, particularly this one because wad and camel toe are but two sides of the same coin. Really, they are.
Then I find I should have followed up with an old entry in which I posed the question, what is a gusset? (which was inspired by this thread in the forum) but I wasn’t wholly satisfied with the comment responses (to the blog entry). It seems there remains a bit of disagreement as to what a gusset is. For many people, a gusset can be a join piece that really doesn’t do much more than move seams to a different location. For example, many would describe the crotch piecing in women’s panties to be a gusset. In my perhaps erroneous thinking, this is an extension or bridge piecing, joining the front to the back. We cut the crotch separately -if you think about it- more as a way to improve fabric utilization than a fitting function. Perhaps removing the seam also provides a bit of comfort too but it doesn’t extend the range of motion which I think is implicit in gusset definition.
As I’ve said previously, I think
A gusset is an insert of fabric bounded on all sides that serves to extend range of motion or fabric area. With this definition, the crotch of a panty isn’t a gusset because the crotch isn’t joined on two sides, only the front and back. The extension or trim edge (albeit functional) on a diaper is basically the same thing.
The jeans I described in Tuesday’s entry seem to be the seam displacement sort of gusset (not wholly but we’ll go with that). In other words, the traditional four way seaming of front and back pieces and leg bifurcation has been cut away, its area substituted with a diamond shaped piecing. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, quite the contrary because seam stressors have been removed from one spot and replaced with four offset stress points which are less likely to cause fit distress.
This is the crazy thing, I’m not certain that a gusset -the kind that extends range of motion as opposed to one that shifts seams around- even needs to be a separate piece. I have a quarter scale draft (more of a drawing really) that has a built in gusset in the crotch. I’m almost afraid to show it to you; it’s one of those crazy ideas you don’t want to tell anyone about lest they think one has taken leave of their senses. I developed it because I wondered about something having nothing to do with any of this… specifically, why is the bottom of zipper extensions in pants, curved? Why? It makes no sense if you think about it, none at all. Forget that it is tradition and we’re all so used to looking at it that we can’t imagine any other way -but it’s not useful. Sure, we’ve found ways to make it work, designed our methods around it but I’ve come to the conclusion that the curved edge is what amounts to a sort of drafting vestigial tail. That the curve formerly had another purpose in an age when we didn’t even use zippers because they weren’t invented yet. The most obvious thing is to do some research by examining old garments (I suspect civil war era pants or earlier) but I don’t have access to things like that.
I think the thing to do is for me to clean up these drawings or better yet, sew up a tiny little sample and have Carol illustrate the pattern for you because I think the curved end of the zipper stand in pants was a built in gusset at one time. Then you all can laugh at me. ~sigh~
In the meantime, we can continue the discussion I abandoned a year ago. Specifically, do you think a gusset is a gusset because its a separate piece that works to displace seams and lower fabric costs or do you think a gusset is a feature that extends the range of motion and even, that it need not be a separate piece from the body of the draft? I eagerly await your opinions…