Have you ever noticed when donning a vintage garment that the armholes are cut much higher than you are used to? A higher armhole gives a much better and more defined fit through the bustline and sleeve. In the 70's, as clothing manufacture was streamlined, clothing became less expensive, and knits were used more frequently, designers sacrificed fit for speed and lower cost. Tops became looser and more square shaped, many loosing the bust darts altogether.
But, I digress. Back to the gorgeous 1950's Gigi Young dress shown at the top of the page. The armholes are cut quite high and the bodice is shaped with two princess seams and darts. How can the dress be comfortable with all those seams bunched up under the arm? The solution is a gusset.
A gusset is a diamond shaped piece of fabric inserted into a slit in the underarm to provide ease , relieve strain, and add comfort for the wearer. They are usually cut on the bias to provide maximum ease of movement. Inserting a gusset into an underarm involves great skill and accurate stitching of a bias seam onto a straight one so the corners match and the gusset lays flat. You just don't see this attention to detail in modern garments...one more reason why I love vintage clothing!
See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .