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Fabric Dictionary

I got started on a fabric dictionary awhile ago, when I wanted a better way to reference fabrics than going through FabricMart mailers month-by-month. I used an OpenOffice book template, and then altered the layout to leave room to attach swatches and created a fairly organized mish-mosh list of fabric and fiber types. Some have definitions, some don't, which didn't seem too important since I was using it mainly for swatch organization.
I printed it out and got started started filling it with swatches from FabricMart mailers and the one sample issue of VogueFabrics' swatch club I'd gotten ages ago. (Vogue also has back issues at a discounted price, which is a great way of getting a whole bunch of swatches for cheap.) Then I added in more entries as I came across fabrics I had swatches of but that I hadn't yet put into the dictionary.

I have it divided up by fiber as the top category and then by whether it's woven or knit, so there are various fabric types that occur in more than one place. I have a separate section at the bottom for blends, although in my version, I generally put a fabric that's mainly one thing with just a bit of something else into the category of its main content.

Anyway, there was a question today in the Fabrics and More section on Pattern Review about having a reference so far as what fabric is what, so I figured I'd finally get around to posting this.

Since I put this together using OpenOffice, I'm not sure how it will look in other word processing programs. I saved it in both OpenOffice's native format and in Microsoft's .doc format, but I'm not sure to what extent all the formatting will hold. (Not totally sure why the .doc format version file is so much larger. I didn't make any changes between the two versions besides file type, so the size difference is a function of how it's saved--the content should all be the same.)

Feel free to print this out, adapt it, make changes, etc. I'd love feedback, so if you add anything or change anything or would like me to change anything (etc...) please let me know and/or send me a copy of your updated version!

(Okay, I think I fixed the permissions problem)

And on With the Gore-Talk

Gore Front CloseupGore Front Closeup
Gore Back CloseupGore Back Closeup: Please excuse the messiness, it's just a test-gore.

As I consider Gloria's small-dart suggestion in response to my last post about gores and gussets, I've realized that creating a tiny (5mm) dart is exactly what those Foundations Revealed instructions say to do; they just don't specifically say that this process creates a tiny dart. The way I'd been imagining it, that dart would have been impossible, especially with the expectation of making the edge into which I insert the gore wrinkle-free. But since nobody seems to ever really insert a gore into a panel without some decorative embroidery at the point, I'm thinking that that dart is how it's done, and it's the combination of embroidery and coercive ironing that makes it not look like there's a wrinkle.
Furthermore, look at these pictures. See how --especially at the bottom-- the fabric of the gore is being pulled outward, creating a rounded shape and putting it on level with the panel into which it's sewn? The physical impossibility of sewing the gore, right sides together, to the panel, and then having the whole of the gore completely to the inside of that panel is responsible for creating that shaping.

Further complicating the subject of gore-vs-gusset is the fact that the What is a gusset? Fashion-Incubator entry mentions two opposing opinions on the definition of gusset, and speaks as though it could be entirely possible that neither one is outright wrong. As Kathleen Fasanella is generally quite vocal about her belief that there are wrong ways of doing things, this leave me with the impression that there could be multiple, opposing definitions without one of them necessarily being wrong. Of course, I could be wrong about that, and the topic could be concluded on the F-I private forum, which I'm not a member of. (I've thought about buying her book and applying to join, as she is very knowledgeable. However, I can't imagine myself in manufacturing. Even if I were able to eventually turn sewing into a business [which I'm not sure I could do anyway,] corsetry doesn't seem to generally work in the same way as industrial sewing. She is the definitive authority on how to launch a clothing line, but I don't know if starting a ready-to-wear line and creating custom corsets overlap much. Even when industrial sewing machines are used, real [as opposed to fashion] corsetry isn't actually "industrial" in nature. When she refers to "the industry" that definition seems to fairly specifically exclude anything bespoke. The cornerstone of "industrial sewing" appears to be standardization and uniformity. [Actually, that could probably be said of almost any industry.])

Hey mom, you've been reading all this. Think you can inquire at school about the technical and definitional differences between a gore and a gusset?

Gussets, Gores, and Trademarks -- Definitions

The Wikipedia article on gussets starts with the basic definition that "In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or square piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing." While the Wikipedia article on gores states that a gore is "a segment of a three-dimensional shape fabricated from a two-dimensional material. The term was originally used to describe triangular shapes, but is now extended to any shape that can be used to create the third dimension." It should be noted that the gore entry is not specific to sewing; it's actually listed as a cartography article, although it also mentions parachutes, hot-air balloons, and round corners in duct-work.
These definitions lend themselves to the idea that a gore is used for the purpose of shaping while a gusset is added for the purpose of movement. I'm not sure why this would be different in corsetry, besides the obvious need to distinguish between a gore placed between to panels and a gore placed in a slit in a panel. However, given the close relationship between corsetry and costuming, I would think that corsetry-specific definitions for "gusset" and "gore" would actually get more confusing, since the use of gussets is so widespread in historical clothing.

Related side note:
There is also a brand of jeans called "Diamond Gusset" that uses (you guessed it) a diamond-shaped gusset in the crotch. While this would again lend itself to the theory that gussets are about allowing for freedom of motion, I'm seeing some problems here. For one, gussets aren't exactly a new idea, and these are being called "the original" gusset jean. Beyond that, they're referring to this gusset in the crotch of their jeans as a "our trademark gusset." Stop right there. Trademark gusset? At the top of their what is a gusset? page is the question "Why didn't someone think of this sooner?" Since when are crotch gussets a new idea? Or is the newness simply in applying it to jeans? Are jeans considered a different item of clothing than pants? I'm fairly certain that the term "jeans" refers to denim pants, denim being a specific type of twill. The variety of specialized fabric weave types is certainly fairly new, but can we call something new when it's an old idea, just a new fabric/pattern combination? Could there still be "original" crotch-gusseted khakis? But let's move on to the real problem with this statement about a "trademark gusset." 15 U.S.C. § 1052 states that registration of a trademark shall be refused if: "(e) Consists of a mark which (1) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them, (2) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically descriptive of them, except as indications of regional origin may be registrable under section 1054 of this title, (3) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of them, (4) is primarily merely a surname, or (5) comprises any matter that, as a whole, is functional."
If we were to assume, for the sake of argument, that a gusset could possibly be considered a trademark to begin with (which I highly doubt) part 5 is clearly problematic. Their own site states rather clearly that the gusset is functional; it's not a mark of distinction, it's a method of providing superior characteristics to their jeans, so the likelihood of this diamond-shaped gusset being a trademark strikes me as about zilch. There's good reason for this limitation on trademarks-- functionality is legally governed by patent law. If someone could trademark a way of making something, that trademark would be so ingrained by the time that patent expired that it would be impossible for anybody else to use it, despite the expired patent putting it in the public domain. Not only would covering functionality under trademark law be redundant, it would effectively remove all time limits on patents.
Of course, I'm being pedantic, and given that I see no legal statements or legally representative trademark symbols being used, after having written all this, it's now occurring to me that they're probably using the phrase "our trademark _______" in the colloquial sense of "something about us that differentiates us from the majority of similar products on the market," rather than in a technical, legal sense. Furthermore, those Diamond Gusset jeans are both reasonably priced ($50 jeans, $120 protective motorcycle pants) and made in America-- not only "Made in America" but completely made in America, down to the American-grown cotton! Their customer service information page states that they have a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship, and a "fair-play" statement that if something goes on sale within five days of having ordered it, you can give them a call and they'll adjust your order to match the sale price. So now I'm somewhat regretting having objected to their non-technical use of the word "trademark" but hey, I linked to them four times! And I've never claimed not to be a pedantic geek.

Erm, I had more specific ramblings about gores, along with pictures, but I'll save that for another post, and leave this one as a post about definitions. Suffice it to say I'm now satisfied with the distinction that gores are usually-triangular pieces used for shaping and gussets are usually-four-sided pieces used for providing an increased range of motion. That does make it difficult to distinguish between set-in-panel gores and set-between-panel gores. Gore type 1 and gore type 2? Gore A and gore B? Gore B and gore I?

Gores, Gussets.. Gussets, Gores..

Gores and Gusset: Or gussets and gore?Gores and Gusset: Or gussets and gore?
After dfr made her very successful denim corset, I realized that the too-tightly-woven-for-jeans non-stretch denim sitting in my stash would work wonderfully for corsetry. I'd gotten it during a sale, so of course I had no way of knowing what the denim would actually be like-- they almost always take pictures completely flat, and only show scale if it's a print. They had a whole host of heavyweight non-stretch denim that was on sale, all with nearly identical pictures. I'd selected two, theoretically the same denim but in different colors, not that that was visible on the site. While they are somewhat different colors, the actual difference was that one was a much tighter weave than the other. For jeans, I prefer some stretch to denim; mostly I go after heavyweight denims with lycra, but I've had some success with less tightly woven denims.

So, denim corsetry. I've started a mockup of my new altered version of my self-drafted pattern that doesn't quite fit. But then I decided to get a subscription to Foundations Revealed, and so I've been working on some of those techniques. Like the gussets and gores. Or gores and gussets. The article says that gores are the pieces set into a slit in a piece of fabric, and gussets are the ones that are set in between two panels. Talking about it in the PR chat last night, though, everyone else thought that it was the other way around. When I ask Google, the main results I come up with are late 1800s and early 1900s supreme court cases dealing with shoe patents. And no, those don't answer my question. Then there's the What is a Gusset? Fashion Incubator entry, which makes some mention of the difference between gussets and godets (apparently godets are more decorative rather than functional) but doesn't seem to define gusset in any way that I can solidly distinguish from gores.

But anyways, the Foundations Revealed article is on "wrinkle free" gores and gussets. I used the front two panels and the gore and gusset pieces from the 1878 patent they used in the examples. I'm starting to believe that "wrinkle free" gores (or whichever ones are inserted into a slit rather than in between two panels) are a physical impossibility; you have to sew it to a tip, and then turn it inside.. how does this work? It doesn't seem physically possible. The standard method seems to be to embroider around the bottom of the gore (gusset?) in order to hide the wrinkling that occurs. With some coercive ironing, I managed to get it fairly straight, but you can see that it's still not quite right, and that's using just denim. There's no way I'd attempt it with, say, silk layered onto a strength layer. Maybe I'm being too picky, is it "too" picky to want professional looking results? Well, I suppose that if what the professionals do is embroider the bottom of the gore to hide imperfections, that's what should be done.. but it's making my brain hurt as I ponder whether this is a work-around or an actual technique, and whether those can actually be the same thing.
I may try doing that corset in denim, as well. It's an interesting and very pretty pattern, despite all of the infuriating gores/gussets. If my head explodes, you'll know why.

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