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Gores - Or how to lose one's sanity in one easy lesson

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:41 pm
by Catherine of Gwent
Can anyone save my sanity and explain in words of, at most two syllables, HOW TO LET IN A GORE.

I have looked on the wonderful worldwide web, and although the information looks straightforward I am obviously being a complete thicky.

I am making a 14 Century Surcoat and it requires a gore front and back. I have not yet made the cuts into the front and back (thought I'd have a practice on some scraps first). Glad I did, 'cos I can't get it to sit right, can't get the top of the gore to look pretty, just can't. So I have left the surcoat, which is looking good so far, on the coat hanger looking pretty, and am throwing myself at the feet of the font of all knowledge.

I have cut the gores, as instructed, as triangles. Should they be cut on the bias, as suggested on one website? I suppose this would make it easier to manipulate - and I have enough material left over to cut some more if you think that this would be a better option. Should the slits in the front be just straight slits, or should I make a slightly more triangular shape to help the gores to sit properly?

How does one turn the top of the slit so that the "right side" does not fray (but doesn't look all bunched up either) and you can attach it to the top of the gore?

Any suggestions warmly welcomed.

Thank you in advance.


Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:46 pm
by DeviantShrub
Practice, is the short answer.

There are some hints and tips in this thread worth reading though: ... ight=gores

I cut straight slits and sort of top stitch the top centimetre or so on either side into place. If the fabric is prone to fraying, I do a bit of blanket stitch round the very top of the slit too. Then at the back, I invariably add a patch of spare material to make it look tidy and stop the loose triangle at the top from fraying. Does that make any sense?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:19 pm
by Tuppence
in case it's not mentioned on that thread, cut them on the straight grain - that way you have the cros cut gore against a stabilising straight grain.

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:26 am
by Calendula

There is a picture demo here which might help:

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:32 pm
by Drachelis


I have sort of developed a technique if it a gore into a seam-stitch one side of the gore and main garment and then stitch the whole seam as if it were a continuous seam ( above the gore point and below.) I can actually do a french seam this way and it looks pretty good.

but..................... its is practice too.

When stitching a gore into a slit cut an inch off the triangle point at the top ( so it is straight and not pointed)- then if you are stitiching a half inch seam each side it should meet exactly at the top. Having said that - I do tendx to do a couple of top stitches for extra security.

The other thing is to make sure the diagonal of the gore measures the same length as the straight slit ( yes I know :roll: - I learnt from experience) otherwise you will have to cut off points to level the hem

OI tend to put my gores in the side of surcoats ( I also make the back longer than the front to make a train) and then cut right angled triangles rather than isoceles triangles
:shock: I actually remembered some of my maths from over 40 years ago - triangles which have equal sides) This then fits with the shorter side at the front and the longer one fits to the side of the train. It gives a sleek front with elegant fullness in the back.

Shadowslight Designs

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:06 pm
by Catherine of Gwent
Thanks to everyone who has replied. I shall now sit down and tack my gore into place, so that I can fiddle about with it and take it out, put it in and take it out! :D I think there must be a song and dance in there somewhere.

Probably taking time and not trying to rush is the best and only way.

Thanks again everyone - I'll let you know how I get on.


Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:19 pm
by Tuppence
If it's any consolation, when I was at college, it was the technique that took the longest to teach.

Each technique was continued till you had it, and some people took a month (that's spending a whole two days a week at it).

Pin tucks now - I like pin tucks - can't think why they didn't use 'em more in medieval times :roll:

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:47 am
by glaelia
I'm making my first shift at the moment, handsewing it but we (mother and I) cut it out from a simple dress pattern (Burda) so I didn't muck it up too much! I'm doing okay, whip stitching the seams together which is working nicely. However I put one of the gore's in tonight and its all gone down hill... mother showed me how to do it so I 'eased' the gore in. It's sitting okay at the top, that's not the problem - the problem is excess material at the bottom! It's sitting and hanging nicely, but there is about 3-4 of excess past the hem of the rest of the shift ... so is it okay just to cut it down (with mother's help!) and hem it... will it end up not hanging properly, or does it not really matter?

Mum said somethnig about the way we cut the fabric making it 'stretch' and therefore be longer? Not sure I understood that bit ...

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:37 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
Trim the excess when on the body

Or you can hang it up on a hanger for a few days and let it finish dropping before levelling the hem.

Most garments which are not left to hang before hemming will do this and droop in later wear. It is time well used!

Point: are you whipstitiching the seams as a construction seam alone or as a neatening? You need an inset seam line for strength in wear.

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:42 pm
by lidimy
Is whip stitching where you go over the top of the seam allowance rather than parallel to it? So covering the raw ends?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:58 pm
by glaelia
Alice the Huswyf wrote:Point: are you whipstitiching the seams as a construction seam alone or as a neatening? You need an inset seam line for strength in wear.

As construction ... I'm following the advice on the tudor costume page ...

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:43 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
That method'll do it - my concern that was that if you don't have a secondary seam (in this case the hemmed edges do the job) then you don't have a firm edge and the fabric frays and the seam goes under minor strain.

Personally though, I would run and fell for a stronger seam - however this is fine for a learning garment and if you are not anticipating heavy labour. Mind you, if it is roomy enough and you are in a stays period, there is less strain on body linens anyway and you don't want bulky seams - hence the method described.

Also you will find that the stitches are likely to pop rather than the fabric tearing with this method, so it is an easier repair job.......

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:13 pm
by glaelia
Ah, good, I was all worried for a moment then!!

I'm glad I haven't trimmed anything yet as I tried my shift on this morning and I actually need to move the gores up a couple of inches - I've cut it quite big and therefore the waist on the dress is lower than my actual waist!

So that should use up some of the material!

I'm not planning on a lot of running around, and I've pre shrunk the linen ... so hopefully it'll do the job for a while at least - has been, like you say, a good learning curve at the very least!

Made me realise I should buy a thimble if I'm going to keep up with the hand sewing .... ;) Thank you :)

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:11 pm
by Nigel
cann't you just glue it or something ?

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:23 pm
by seamsmistress
Nigel wrote:cann't you just glue it or something ?

Glad to see that I'm not alone in the struggle for quality staff, 2d!

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:37 am
by Tuppence
seamsmistress wrote:
Nigel wrote:cann't you just glue it or something ?

Glad to see that I'm not alone in the struggle for quality staff, 2d!

that would be his preferred option.

but then I've seen his sewing, so it'd probably be better that way!

As I said to his Mum - it's quite amazing really, how he can paint these tiny, tiny soldiers, and manage to be so ham-fisted at pretty much everything else... :roll:

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:12 am
by Eric the well read
seamsmistress wrote:Glad to see that I'm not alone in the struggle for quality staff,

Hoi, I resent that! :wink:


Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:30 pm
by Nigel
me too


Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:45 pm
by lidimy
I'm slightly concerned that I'm doing my gores wrong - I haven't had any trouble but maybe that's because they're so diddy?

All I did was cut out a triangle with a chopped off top, then sewed it down one side to the seam of the kirtle, measured the new length of the side, cut the other length of the kirtle seam accordingly, then sewed that on to the gore and side kirtle seam. (if that makes sense)

Is that a correct way of doing it?

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:19 am
by Tuppence
for a side seam yes that's right.

but it's the magical and elusive v insert gore that we're all in search of (as in the kind where you cut a slit ind insert said gore).

which is probably one of the hardest sew-y things to get right, and why I say if you have a successful way, who cares if it's the 'right' way?

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:59 pm
by lidimy
Ohhh I see where you're coming from.

No, I hadven't tried that type yet. And I shan't until I absolutely have to... :oops:

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:53 pm
by Nigel
still recon glue or staples

Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:56 pm
by RottenCad
Nigel wrote:still recon glue or staples

You really need to ensure that the seam is flat, and on the bias. Use a half-jointed piece of plywood as a former at a 30deg angle behind the front side of the garment, so that it matches the required gore angle. Match up the fabric of the insert, aligned to the former ...

... then nail the b**ger to the wood!



Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:49 am
by Alice the Huswyf
NICIE They are certainly not soldiers. (They can't buy you a drink and chat you up by suggesting that you are a nurse even though you have pointed out a dozen times that you are not.

They are not figures. (That is a column of bumber or a financial report).

Nor are they models. (They are all way under the height requirement ; being made of lead or plastic they cannot eat so therefore cannot acquire the required eating disorders to do cataolgue work, let alone catwalks. )

If they are representations of humans, representations that you spend hours preening and making look fine, that you love and play with lots and lots then they are dolls. Tiny, but dolls.

And if you don't play with them, but leave them on a shelf, lookng fine and preened and love them there - they are decorative dolls - but still dolls.

And don't try the whole battlefield creation / layout/ research and crafting thing to set the argument aside. That's just a big, flat doll's house, becuase it is where you move the furniture about , where all your dollies camp, play together and belong.

CAD you are wrong about the use of hammer and nails in setting gored seams. You need a boxwood mallet and cedarwood dowell pegs, finely sanded so that it doesn't pulll threads

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:05 pm
by Colin Middleton
IS there a reason why you can't create a triancle with the edges felled, fell the edges on the slit and then but stitch them togeather (or whatever the fabric equivalent of a but stitch is)?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:17 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
You can do that if the gore is let into the seam.

However, the one that causes the seamstress equivalent of below the belt retreat is the one that is let into a slit in the fabric: you run out of fabric at the point.

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:23 pm
by RottenCad
I'll have a look at my tunic tonight - I did manage one reasonably elegant solution, but I'm blowed if I can remember what it was!

I'm guessing though that the only practicable approach (ie one that doesn't have any bunching at the point) is going to be an overlapped flat seam - and I have no evidence for its use in the period.


Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:43 pm
by Sophia
Right there is a solution but it is immensely time consuming.

A) Cut slit for gore and finish with rolled edge as you would for neck slit on shirt/shift.

B) Finish edges on gore (favour rolled edge myself).

C) Lay gore on slit and pin/tack into place with edges overlapped by suitable amount.

D) Whip down gore to garment and garment to gore along edges.

As I said tedious but will look beautiful

Soph :D

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:02 pm
by lidimy
Sophia, what's a rolled edge? :D

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:25 pm
by Sophia
Rolled edge is where you make a vary tiny double hem, i.e. roll the edge of the fabric over. This can either be whipped (oversewn), felled or sewn with very small running stiches. Personally I favour the very small running stitch as it makes a nice flat edge which helps with assembly.

The neck slit on a shirt I am referring to is in MTA, p.48, fig.10 a, but with a minimum of re-inforcing at the mid-point to keep it sharp rather than rounded.

Hope this helps.

Soph :D