Sometimes, bad things happen to good costumers. Like, your sister is throwing an 80’s party the next evening and you bomb out finding anything that can be mangled into some reasonable approximation of Cyndi Lauper so-unusual-excellence, and every bit of vintage you can find is a size 4. Now, that’s maybe not to traumatic if you actually are a size 4. I wouldn’t know, because as it turns out, my left thigh is a size 4. But I found the jacket of my dreams, and it was merely 4 or 5 sizes to small. What’s a girl to do? Gussets. Gussets will save you here.
Here’s your 40 second visual rundown on just what an underarm gusset does in a simple smock/shift/chemise/shirt pattern. I have two very simple smocks here – one eleventh century style, a la Kohler, and the other more of a sixteenth century style, adapted from Arnold. There’s a drastic difference in the fit at the shoulder.