Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hemming a lined in-seam godet: a step-by-step tutorial

As promised here is a step-by-step tutorial for hemming an in-seam godet. I used Susan Khalje's tips she generously shared with me for my August Burdastyle couture challenge. This month I worked on a tweed skirt with an in-seam godet from Burdastyle magazine from August 2012.

Godet from the inside.  The form is held with the help of a powernet stay

  • Before you transfer your pattern and cut the fabric, add appr. 3 mm (1/8") to the length of the tweed piece at the hem (the fashion fabric) to turn it over for hemming. 
  • make sure you have at least one inch (2.5 cm) seam allowance, otherwise you will have very little allowance left to work with after the pieces were hang.
  • finally, it is essential to use extra fine silk pins if you are working with silk to avoid pin holes in the fabric.
  • to avoid permanent marks on silk, use fine silk thread and fine needles (I prefer Japanese). Test on a swatch first. If marks are visible after testing, remove the basting thread before pressing (thanks to Sewing Galaxy for reminding).

Hang both, the godet and the lining piece for a day or two so the vertical edges can stretch out. This will prevent stretching and fabric distortion after the godet was sewn. If you, like me, are working with tweed and charmeuse you will notice that charmeuse tends to stretch out more than tweed.

Retrace the pattern of the godet on the tweed piece using white chalk. Thread-trace if necessary (I do prefer to thread trace because the chalk will become almost invisible once you start pressing).

At this point I would also taper the top portion of the godet. Tapering vertical edges at the tip of the wedge is especially helpful if the godet is relatively wide, a quarter of a circle or more. The godet in this skirt was not as wide, but considering the weight of the fabric I wanted to reduce the bulk at the tip as much as possible. I measured down approximately 4” from the tip, then, took out ¼” on both sides of the wedge creating a slight inward curve on both vertical edges, gradually blending it with the original seamline on both sides. The vertical seams will curve in only on the top portion of the godet, blending in as they get closer towards the mid length. It is possible to make this step on the pattern and then cut accordingly, but I preferred to do it after hanging out the godet piece.

Align both godet pieces (tweed and charmeuse) along the grainline, then smooth out the lining over the tweed and carefully pin the two layers together from the grainline towards vertical edges.

Carefully turn over the two layers to baste them together. On the image below you can see that the stretched out lining is not trimmed yet.  I usually cut any excess fabric after stitching. Next, baste the rounded hem.

Stitch the fashion fabric and the lining and press the two layers from both sides to meld stitches. Fabric is much easier to manipulate if the stitches were set in (flat) on both sides. This is especially true if at least one of the layers is not a lightweight fabric.

Trim all the excess fabric leaving just 3/8" (slightly less than 1cm) seam allowance at the godet hem.

Thanks to Sewing Galaxy for reminding me to add the following information. It is also a good point to grade seam allowance, with the outermost layer having the widest seam allowance and the bottom layer - the narrowest. Start trimming the latter and move on to the outermost layer. I will add a quick how-to these days - there is definitely a need for a set f basic couture techniques tutes, which I can refer to in my posts. 

With the both layers still on the ironing board and the lining on the top, carefully turn over the lining so you can reach the seam with the iron tip. Carefully press the lining towards the hem seam allowance. This step will help set the hem curve of the godet, before you start clipping and turning it over.

This is how a portion of the godet hem looks like after it was pressed:

Lay the lining back over the tweed piece. It will look like on the image below:

It's time to clip the hem allowance. This technique is called staggering and it's used on curves. Essentially, you are not clipping both layers at the same time, but separately and at a distance.

Turn over the lining, folding in the tweed appr 2 mm (or 1/8") from the edge. It should look like on the image below.

STEP 10:
Finish the hem by pressing it and understitching to keep the seam allowance in place. Carefully realign the grainlines and vertical edges following the markings on your tweed piece and baste the two layers together.

The godet piece is now ready to be inserted into the skirt. 

Thanks for helpful comments on this post to:
  • Sewing Galaxy - (you will need Google translate to read her blog, but it's worth it!)

Please let me know if anything is unclear - I will be happy to edit the tutorial. In the next part I will cover how I inserted the godet into the skirt seam, and talk about the godet stay, a great technique I found in Threads archive. 


  1. darf ich paar anmerkungen machen? ich kann es leider nicht auf englisch..
    sollte ich was falsch vertsanden ahben-so bitte ich um verzeihung.
    meine haute couture meisterin hat mir mal beigebracht- die zugaben niemals auf einer länge lassen, es führt dazu,dass die stelle zu dick wird und sichtbar. ich habe es in meinem blog paar mal gezeigt-immer stuffig schneiden und die längste seite der zugabe ist immer die, die zum stoff liegt.
    zweiter punkt wäre- über seide nie heftfaden beim bügeln legen- es hinterlässt spuren(druckstellen und eventuell einstichstellen),duie möglicherweise ncith rausgehen..

    1. Danke fuer die Erinnerung! Es stimmt alles, und ich habe deine Tips eingefuegt :) Fuers heften bei Seidenstoffen benutze ich meistens feine japanische Seide - sie hinterlaesst keine Spuren und kommt leicht raus. Uebrigens, wo kann man in Deutschland feine japanische Seide kaufen, weisst du zufaellig?

    2. Das weiß ich leider nicht. ich benutze auch in solchen fällen seiden garn , sulky-ist aber von gütermann..

    3. Hallo Marina und Julia,
      ich benutze zum Heften und Abzeichnen von feinen Stoffen (und auch sonst) sehr gerne dieses
      Madeira Stickgarn.
      Es ist ein feiner Viscose Faden der sich auch sehr gut wieder entfernen lässt weil er nicht sehr reißfest ist.

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  3. I have to tell you that I was not all that interested in this skirt pattern until now! I love your skirt and would have never considered making this skirt had I not been reading your blog. Now I am definitely going to make it. Especially since you have given such wonderfully detailed directions for the godet. Thank you. I love your skirt and look forward to trying it out once I finish a few of the items already on my list :)

  4. Great Job! thanks for sharing the step by step couture sewing.

  5. I just love seeing the insides of garments - thank you for the information and the photos! I'm loving the addition of some powernet to keep everything together.

  6. Marina, I love this post! Thanks for sharing, my godets will look so much better from now on!

  7. Thanks for this beautiful tutorial. I don't sew many godets, in part because of a traumatic experience during a crash pattern making course (I thought godets would be easy), but maybe I'll give it another try some day.



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