How to put in a gore in a medieval garment


Remember my latest spring green wool dress? I took lots of photos during the process so I could show you how I made it, and share some great hand sewing tip if you want to hand sew a garment yourself. This post is a step-by-step on inserting gores in a garment, like front and back gores, small sleeve gores and gores for a hood.

The pattern? Here is a tutorial on how to make one.

Here’s an old post about a recreated Herjolfnes dress.

Let’s start with my favourite way of inserting gores! With this method, you will always get a gore that looks nice and ends in a smooth top.

Start with cutting up the back panel, make it around 1,5 cm shorter than the side of your gore.

Press the sides (the seam allowance) of the cut on the inside/wrong side of the dress.

Pin or baste the gore into place. If you are a bit new to hand-sewing, working on the inside might be easier, but you can also do this from the front/outside of the dress. The photo above shows the inside.

Start sewing from the outside, with a version of the whip stitch. Here you can see the bottom of the gore where I start, and the waxed linen thread going in from under the folded seam allowance to hide the knot. Waxed linen thread (35/2) or a thin 2-ply wool thread are my favourite choices, but for an upper-class garment silk is also an option.

To make the seam as invisible as possible, sew it like this; making my progress upwards on the inside of the fabric. The result is a seam that is only visible by small dots.

When I reach the point of the gore I just continue around, sewing small whip stitches all the way around the cut. The result is a set in gore that looks tidy, like this! But we are not finished yet, the seam needs to be finished on the inside to be durable and neat.

This is what the inside of the garment looks like now.

Time to trim and fell the seam allowance! I start with cutting the seam allowance of the back panel down a bit, so the overlaying gore covers it. This looks tidy and makes it easier to sew down.

When I have cut all around, I press the seam flat and whip stitch it into place. This will give me two seams holding the fabrics together, creating a very durable garment.

And the finished gore at the back of the dress. The small shadowed hollows around the gore are where the whip stitch from sewing down the seam allowance shows, these are nothing to be afraid of; it is a result of hand-sewing.

Author: Linda at Handcrafted History

I am Linda, running the blog and business Handcrafted History and living in the middle of Sweden

4 thoughts on “How to put in a gore in a medieval garment

  1. Hello Linda, I like your tutorials very much. They help me to understand how to handsew and make viking clothing much better. But I have one problem with sewing gores. I learned somewhere else to use the running stitch from inside, some are using backstitch. It works good, but when I but the dress or coat on , the gores clapp together and don’t fall nice around me. What do I do wrong, are they to short ? Do I have to put them higher under the arms or is the fabric too thick, I don’t know ? I like these wide gores so much, but it doesn’t look that perfect as I want it. You use the other whipstitch from outside, is that the secret ? Kind Regards Kerstin

    • Hi Kerstin! Send me some photos of your sewing problem on fb or email, and I will try to help you out =) it’s so much easier if I can see what is going on with the project =) //Linda

  2. Hi there! thank you so much for this tutorial! Just curious – when you fell the seam allowance, are you folding the top gore seam allowance over the trimmed away seam allowance or are you simply just whip stitching the top gore seam allowance over the trimmed away seam allowance with the raw edge simply whipped down? I am just wondering as especially at the tip of the gore these is very little fabric as the seam allowance is so time so it would be much easier to simply whip stitch that seam allowance down. Thank you!

    • I almost never fold the seam allowance, just whip it down =) It might be a bother on very fraying fabrics like brocaded silks, but everything else works good for me =) thank you for your question!

What are Your thoughts? I would love to hear from You!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.