How to sew a gusset

Want to step up a handmade handbag, book bag, lunch bag? Or simply want to add some 3-D shape to any sewing project? A gusset is a good place to start. So here is a basic step by step guide to making a gusset!

1. By the time you're ready to sew a gusset, you probably already have the beginnings of a bag. Turn the bag inside out and iron the corner where the gusset will be:

2. Now grab the corner of your bag by the tip and match up the side and bottom seams together. This will form a triangle and you should see how this will turn your bag from a flat sack to a more three dimensional shape:

3. Open up the seam allowances (as shown in the picture above). Before you iron and pin, make sure that the bottom seam and the side seam match up. It can be helpful to stick a straight pin into the seam on top and make sure that it comes out in the seam on the bottom.

4. Once you're happy with the match up of seams, iron the area and put a pin or two in to keep it in place.

5. Now you need to determine the size of your gusset. If you're using a pattern, it will give you the size. For the gusset shown here, I measured 1" from the corner down the seam and then 3" from the corner down the fold on each side. Mark the three points using a fabric pencil, marker, or pin. Here's a diagram:

6. Connect the three points into an arc. Try to make the arc as uniform as possible so that the gussets on each side of the exterior and the lining (if you are using one) will look the same. Make the arc and sew along it.

7. Now is a good time to make sure you're happy with the gusset. I usually turn the bag inside out to make sure the seams are lined up and I'm happy with it. If you are, cut off the excess portion.

8. Turn the bag inside out and using a pressing ham (your finger or a butter knife also work great) press the seam you have just made out. And you're done!

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Comments 10 comments

tugsrus 6 years ago


These directions make the whole ordeal look, actually, possible. Even likely to lead to a good result.

I am going to try it.

tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

Love sewing! Thanks for sharing:)

On a Lark Design profile image

On a Lark Design 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Tim-tim!

Roger 6 years ago

I've searched the web trying to find an explanation on how to sew a gusset, but all the instructions I found were confusing to me. This one, however, makes very good sense and very easy to understand. Thanks in a million. I make Scottish sporrans, and can now add the gusset.

Thank you.

On a Lark Design profile image

On a Lark Design 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Roger! My brother is wearing a sporran (along with a kilt) at his wedding in a few weeks! Glad this hub helped!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

Am getting ready to start making bags again. Your bag is a nice example, thanks for sharing.

Katie Rogers 6 years ago

I am still fairly new to sewing, but my mom got me a bag pattern and I didn't even know what a gusset was, but these instructions have helped me alot. I just have one question, are all gussets sewn in an arc? My instructions for the bag doesn't say anything about an arc.

vivian langford 6 years ago

I was croceting a wrister and the gusset was mentioned at the beginning of increase for thumb area, but there was no diagram and I wanted to be sure how the gusset should look. I did figure it out, however, after much contemplation.

On a Lark Design profile image

On a Lark Design 6 years ago from USA Author


Sorry so delayed, I must have missed your comment before! Gussets don't have to be in an arc. A straight gusset will yield a squared, boxier result. It's great if you want a bag to stand up.


Glad you figured it out, they are a little difficult to visualize without photos!

Nicole 5 years ago

Thank you, Thank you, thank you! I am working on a big similar to the one above and have spent an hour trying to figure out how to add a gusset. Your site came up in my google search and was the perfect tutorial. You're a lifesaver!


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