What a load of gussets

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Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about the word ‘gusset’ that has always made me snigger. It’s the sort of word the Two Ronnies would have used as a double entendre in one of their songs, usually performed while dressed as large middle-aged women.

Traditionally, it referred to a piece of fabric sewn into a seam to add breadth to or reduce stress from any kind of tight fitting clothing, especially at the shoulders, underarms and hems of traditional shirts and chemises. But over the years it somehow became associated more particularly with ladies’ underwear. Or, like I say, maybe it’s just me.

These days, working in the packaging supplies business as I do, gussets crop up regularly when talking about polythene bags. And just like that small boy giggling at a word he didn’t really understand, I have on occasion found myself trying to talk knowledgeably to a customer about the subject when, quite frankly, I hadn’t a clue. And so it is that, again like my younger self, I resolved to get to the bottom of the matter (as it were).


So just how big is your gusset?

The first thing to say about gussets is that not everyone gives the measurements of them in the same way. When we give the dimensions of a bag as width x gusset x length, we give the gusset size as the size the bag extends to when you fold it out. From the illustration below, this is width x (width + depth) x length.


Some people, on the other hand, give the dimensions as width x depth x length; in other words they give the size of the gusset itself, as measured from seam to seam.

So, a gusseted polythene bag we would describe as 200 x 300 x 500mm, others might describe as 200 x 100 x 500mm (where, in the above illustration, w=200, d=100, l=500).


Lining a box with gusseted bags

One of the common uses for gusseted poly bags is as the lining for cardboard boxes. And this is where the next problem lies – how do you determine what size bag you’ll need?

Let’s say we have a cardboard box measuring 406 x 356 x 457mm (and we do have one, we know it as ASW64) that we want to line with a plastic bag (see illustration 2 below).


To determine the width and depth of the bag you’ll need, add about 100mm to the box’s length and width. In this case, that gives us 506 and 456mm.

To determine the length of the bag you’ll need, add the box’s height and width together, plus another 150mm; in this case that gives us 963mm.

To find that bag from our website, you’ll therefore need one with dimensions of at least 506 x 962 x 963mm (ie 506mm wide when flat, extending to 962mm). Our 30 micron gusseted polythene bags, BGP12/050 would be just right! (Incidentally, if you wanted to tie the bag off, you’d need to add about another 250mm to its length.)

Hopefully, that’s made everything a little clearer, but do give us a call on 0844 800 9844 if you’re still at all confused, or if you have a good joke involving the word ‘gussets’.

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Dave Smith

With a background that has included spells in marketing and editorial management in the publishing and performing arts industries, Dave is now a valued member of Davpack’s marketing team, where he is our lead blogger and senior copywriter. Still relatively new to the business, he will be aiming to look at the world of cardboard boxes and packaging materials from a slightly different angle to the usual. Davpack

2 Comments to What a load of gussets

  1. Helen says:

    I am after a gusseted polythene bag to fit a can of Olive oil just to stop any leakage during transportation onto the cardboard packaging (you actually produce the bespoke boxes for us – a/c M4337). They do not need to be overly strong as they are only to keep the boxes dry.

    The size of the cans are
    H350 W150 D120

    Do you have anything suitable please?

    • Dave Smith says:

      Hi Helen – Sorry for the delay in replying! I think a 30 Micron gussetted bag would be fine for your purpose. I suggest either our product code BGP12/020, which measures 250 x 400 x 600mm (that’s actually 250mm wide x 150mm deep x 600mm high) or BGP12/025, which measures 300 x 500 x 600mm (actually 250mm wide x 150mm deep x 600mm high). Both are in the Sale at the moment, but the latter comes in packs of only 500, so may be the better option for you. Hope that helps, but do feel free to give us a call if you need further help.

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