Did the title of this Talk slightly make you wince? Yes, the word “crotch” tends to do that. Its etymology branches from the word “crutch” originating back in 1539. No, not the under-our-armpit crutch. Back then, a crutch was the name given to a forked stick farming tool.
Today, the word crotch is mostly used to define that part of our body where our torso ends, and our two legs join together. And in clothing, the part of any garment that covers this area of our body is also referred to as its crotch. But in panties, that panel that resides between our legs is factually called a gusset. So, here’s what I know about panty gussets and how they impact fit.
What’s Your Pelvis Type?
Each of us has our own uniquely shaped pelvis. Think snowflakes. But there are 4 very loosely defined types. And there is no test you can take to learn your type. However, the next time you find yourself staring at the ceiling with your feet in a pair of stirrups, that person between your legs can probably tell you.
• Gynecoid pelvis – Most common, round in shape
• Anthropoid pelvis – 20-30% of women, oval-shaped from front to back
• Android pelvis – Around 20% of women, funnel or heart-shaped with the point aiming forward
• Platypelloid pelvis – About 5% of women, oval-shaped from side to side
For many years now, the lingerie industry has used a standardized width for panty gussets for all panty sizes and styles (but not thongs). Yes, that’s right. Whether you’re an XS or a 5X, the width of your panty gusset is around 8 cm or 3 inches wide. It’s because this width truly does comfortably fit most women. But let me stick a caveat here. Manufacturers who are not versed in making panties, many times don’t know this. This is my pitch to you for why you should at least buy panties from a known lingerie manufacturer.
For the narrower Anthropoid pelvis, this standard gusset width could cause a few small vertical ripples in the front and back, but the panty will fit comfortably. For a Platypelloid pelvis, this standardized width may not be enough. If you have the recurring problem with panties riding up in back and/or find that the leg elastic is not resting in your leg creases, you probably have a wide pelvis.
There are panty styles available with a wider gusset. You just need to know what to look for. HerRoom always provides a straight-on “front” image for all our panties. Keeping in mind that we are also required to edit all our images in such a way as to not be pornographic or offensive, here is a comparison of a standard width gusset vs. wider gusset options:
A panty that makes use of a lace trim around the leg opening will also create a wider gusset. And the boyshort style, due to its added leg length, too, can be a great fit for someone looking for a wider gusset.
FYI, the length of a gusset increases about ¾ cm with each panty size increase. A size small/5 panty has around an 11.5 cm or 4.5-inch long gusset. A large/7 panty size will have a 13 cm or about a 5-inch long gusset. Though this is the industry pattern grading recommendation, there are panties out there with longer gussets – mostly the styles without a gathered elastic leg edge.
4 Panty Gusset Lining Designs
It is extremely rare that a gusset in a panty will not have a lining. And a very high percentage have a cotton lining of some type. Our Fitter’s Comments always provide fabric content and lining construction for all the panties we offer for sale. There are 4 primary styles of gusset linings in panties.
• Fully enclosed gusset lining – This is the original method for adding a gusset lining. Two gusset seams – one in front and one in back – and sides enclosed within the leg edges. This is how we describe this lining design in our Fitter’s Comments: “Sewn-in cotton crotch. Seamed at front rise and rear.” The position of the front seam is intended to be right at the base of a crotch’s rise. In fact, all rise measurements are measured starting at this line. The only small negative to this lining design is for those few women who find the bulk caused by the front gusset seam irritating.
• The “pocket” gusset lining – An enclosed gusset lining but for its front being left open and not sewn down. So, it looks like a pocket. There are a lot of urban legends surrounding this gusset lining style. No. It was not designed to be a “hide-a-key” or “hide-a-anything” solution. It is also not intended as a pocket to insert any type of feminine hygiene product. The reasoning behind this lining design is threefold. First, this design eliminates the need for a gusset front seam. Instead, the panty front and gusset can be cut as one panel for a smoother line. Second, the open end allows for a more thorough washing of both sides of the lining should the need arise. And third, not having the lining attached allows the gusset to stretch independently. So, as you sit, the gusset can move more backwards on your body to accommodate your bottom becoming larger.
In our Fitter’s Comments, this style of lining reads something like: “Sewn-in cotton crotch lining is unattached at front with an exposed seam and is sewn down at back with a finished seam.”
• Knit-in lining – This type of lining is more common with panties also claiming to be seamless. The front panel and gusset are combined into one piece. But, the knitting machine is programmed to introduce cotton threads into its knitting while creating the gusset area to add absorbency. And sometimes you will see a terry-like texture created as well.
In our Fitter’s Comments you will read something like: “Knit-in crotch of the same color.” And then, the crotch lining fabric content is provided.
• Here is a panty with terry lining which reads in our Fitter’s Comments as: “Unlined crotch is breathable, French terry knit.”
• Bonded gusset lining – Sewing panties together with needle and thread is making way for a new technique called bonding. The fabric is laser cut, layered on top of one another and a special glue bonds the two pieces together without creating a raised seam, thus reducing visible panty lines. Bonding has proven to be stronger and lasts longer than a regular stitched seam. And the fabric maintains a fabulous stretch at the bonded seam.
Many new panty styles are now made by bonding. They’ll be made with just one piece of fabric that incorporates the front, gusset and back, then bonds a cotton lining inside, folds and bonds all the edges, and finally bonds the two side seams – done! If you haven’t tried one yet, you really should. They have taken the panty category by storm because they are so thin, invisible and stretchy you forget you’re wearing them.
Many, many years ago, an OBGYN (which I cannot confirm) publicly claimed that wearing cotton panties would reduce/prevent yeast and urinary tract infections. To date, there has been no study that I can find that confirms this. Cotton is a natural fiber, highly absorbent, and breathable. But it is also very slow to dry.
Our industry was quick to respond and today most gussets are lined with cotton. We have all been conditioned to think that cotton means more hygienic. It’s a good idea to have a breathable gusset for this reason, but just keep in mind that other fibers today are as absorbent, if not more absorbent, than cotton. These include modal, micromodal, Tencel™, and other viscose-base fibers which are plant cellulose-based, thus love water. I bring this up because some of our products do not claim a cotton gusset lining. But, this doesn’t mean the manufacturer has not selected an absorbent option.
Once again, I’d like to brag about my content team which works tirelessly to create our magnificent product details and Fitter’s Comments. There is no other place on the planet but for HerRoom where you can find actual details on the gusset linings in garments and how they are constructed. And, I also need to acknowledge our photography team who makes sure you also have a straight-on shot of every panty so you can zoom in to see more detail, along with editing these shots to make sure they make it through the internet filters.
For our longtime customers of HerRoom, you may have noticed an evolving change to our logo over the years. This is because of me. It’s my fault. I have never been 100% happy with its look and feel. Well, get ready, because we will be shortly releasing a new one. I hope it communicates what I’ve been trying to impart to all who visit us – a comfortable, helpful, female-friendly site, curated by highly knowledgeable women who know and love lingerie. Stay tuned…
YIKES! or YEAHS!
The bras below obviously don’t fit properly. There are several giveaways that these are “YIKES!” bra images. Try your hand at being a bra fit expert and see if you can identify the issues with these bras.
Founder & CEO