Creating a Leg Gusset

I want to share how to create a leg gusset.  When I first learned about gussets, I felt confused. A gusset was described as “just a slice”. So it is, but I’d never seen a gusset and couldn’t imagine where to slice and what to do about the slice after it was sliced.

I like to make about a 3″ deep slice which ends about 4″ beneath the crotch point. I find this small gusset is totally unnoticeable.  So lay out the pattern

and then place my 6″ ruller 3″ away from the crotch tip and make a mark (the mark helps me keep the ruler aligned at the 3″ point)

I align the ruler, at an angle, about 4″ down from the crotch point and draw a dashed line.

The dashed line will be the stitching line. I also need a seam allowance. I use a 1/4″ seam allowance. If you use a larger seam allowance, substitute your number where ever I write 1/4″. I slide my ruller towards the inseam 1/4″ and draw an unbroken line

The unbroken line, will be my cutting line, but I don’t do anything with it just now. My next step is to slide a piece of tissue paper well under the two lines just drawn.

I trace the outside edges and then reposition the tracing paper so it is on top and my tracing aligned with the shape of the crotch.

I trace the dashed line. I place my ruler on top aligned with the dashed line and then slide the ruler towards the interior of the pant leg 1/4″. This is where I draw the unbroken line for the gusset cutting line.

One other line needed is the straight of grain on the gusset. Position the ruller so it is aligned with the straight of grain on the pant leg and so that it overlaps the gusset. You may need to use two rulers.  I had a nice 7″ wide ruler which did the job for me.

Cut out your gusset piece but when needing to use a gusset don’t cut the pattern. Instead, fold along the cutting line and just tuck that portion out of the way.

Nearly every large sized men’s pattern uses this gusset. Just because  in those larger sizes it is impossible to fit the largest sizes onto a single width of fabric. Even if that’s not the case, using a gusset is a big fabric saver.  A large man’s pant wastes lots of fabric.  I nearly always create a gusset version of my favorite pants for those occaions when I don’t have quite enough fabric.  B5403 (the pant pattern I’m altering here) calls for 2-3/8 yard of 45″ fabric and 2 yards of 60″ fabric. My black twill fabric was 52″ wide and 2 yards long.  I added 1″ to the leg length. Because I used the gusset, I used 1-1/2 yards of fabric and had some large unused scraps:

If you look closely, you’ll realize that I didn’t layout the pocket facing. I prefer to use a light weight cotton for my pocket facing. However in the 1.5 yard length there was room, right above the back pocket, had I wanted a same fabric facing.

I prefer to use only a back leg gusset. It is possible to make both a front and back leg gusset and to make the gussets both longer wider or to join back and front gusset into a diamond- shaped-formation along the inseam.   Usually I only need to create a back gusset to achieve the desired fabric savings. You’ll note a second fabric savings, in that I cut a 2-piece waistband and placed it on the straight of grain instead of cross grain. There will be a seam at the waistband’s center back which I always cover with my belt. Another option would be cutting the waistband 1.5″ wide (instead of 3″) and cutting a 1.5″ wide waistband-facing.  I could have saved another 2″ in length, had I not altered the leg to be 1″ longer. Also the hem could have been trimmed to 1/4″ and bias tape used to finish the hem. With the 1″ in leg length, that would have saved 4.5″ (1/9 yard) of fabric. 1/9″ yard isn’t much, but if all you have is 1-3/8 yards, it could be enough.

Last thing, I want to assure you that the inner leg gusset is totally unnoticeable unless you sit with your legs wide open. Unfortunately, the black pants don’t reveal much at all so posting a picture won’t support my assertion. You’re going to have to try this yourself sometime and prove it for me.