Godets are shaped fabric pieces inserted to garments to enlarge a particular area or as a decorative element. They are sewn in between the seams already present in the garment or after making slits on the fabric.
Godets are usually added to skirt hems to give flare or to give a ripple effect. You can add a lot of godets to a single garment as long as you have the slits/fabric edges to stitch them too.
Godet is usually a triangle shaped piece of fabric that is pointed or rounded on top or even a wedge shape. It can also be gathered or pleated. You can also add a semi-circular shape as a godet for a nice flare. You can add the godets as small pieces or add them as a long panel running the whole length.
You can design your own type of godet with special kinds of drapes with the slash method. Make a paper pattern for the godet and then cut and slash the pattern as you want. Remark the pattern and sew your own sepcial designer godets.
How to sew Godets
First, make a pattern for the godet
Decide on where you will start adding the godet. If the skirt is tight from the waist you will need a godet that measures the whole length of the skirt. Measure this. Remember that the opening in the garment where the the godet is to be inserted should be 1/2 inch shorter than the sides of the godet.
Mark the length on the godet fabric. Add extra hem allowance. Mark the width of the godet. Cut it out. If the skirt edge is curved you will have to curve the edge of the godet too, especially if it is wide godet.
Method 1. How to sew godets, if there is a seam
Usually, you add godets in a seam when you need extra flare; for example, if you decide that your dress has become tight along the hem you can add a godet in the seam to add extra ease.
To cut the godet you need to decide how long you want to make it and how wide. Take the Measure of the length of the godet you want. Add 1 1/2 inches to this (1/2 inch for the top seam allowance and 1 inch for the bottom hem); Add 1/2 inch each to the sides for seam allowance. Cut triangle shapes in this dimension
Mark and sew the seam till the point where you will start sewing the godet. Trim the seam allowance to 1/2 inch. Press the seam allowance open
Mark and cut godet for the seam keeping in mind the seam allowance needed at the top sides as well as the bottom hem.
Hem the Godet. Hem the rest of the fabric. (you can do this later as well; but you will have to do this together ie if you are hemming the rest of the garment, do hem the godet as well)
Keep the garment right side out in front of you.
Keep the godet face down on one of the seam edges.The top of the godet (seam allowance) will extra as you can see in the picture below. You will be joining 1/2 inch down from the top of the godet.
Sew the godet edge and the seam edge together with 1/2 inch seam allowance. Start sewing from the bottom. When you reach the top point of the godet, stop just at the tip you have marked. Do not sew over to the other side. Anchor the stitch with a backstitch or stitching in the same place.
Now bring the garment wrong side out. Join the other edge to the other cut edge. Start stitching at the point where you have stopped earlier. Do not sew over this.
Method 2. How to sew a godet, if there is no seam.
Mark and cut the slits on the garment.
Take the Measure of the length of the slit you want. Add 1 1/2 inches to this (1/2 inch for the top seam allowance and 1 inch for the bottom hem ); Add 1/2 inch each to the sides. Cut triangle shapes in this dimension.
After you have cut the slit on the fabric, Interface the top of the slit, on the back of the fabric. This is needed to reinforce the area.
Sew the godet on the cut edges of the slit.
Method 3. Flared godet
You can get a very flared godet if you cut it as a semi-circular shape.
Take the Measure of the length of the slit you have. Add 1 1/2 inches to this (top and bottom hem and seam allowance). You can cut a half-circle piece or a quarter circle shape with the sides measuring this dimension.
This is usually added as a decorative element. You can add this kind of godet on the sleeves, on the hem, etc. These godets give a fluted effect
Instead of a plain seam you can also sew a lapped seam to sew the godets.
Related posts: Sewing tips and techniques.