Author Topic: Boning a Bodice  (Read 15308 times)

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Offline AnnRowley

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Boning a Bodice
« on: February 25, 2007, 07:08:33 PM »
This was posted by Kathryn (fzxdoc) in reply to  a query about boning a bustier bodice.
Thank you for all this very useful information Kathryn


Vicki, there are two excellent articles in Threads about boning:

Threads #109, Oct/Nov 2003

and Susan Khalje's article in

Threads #87, February/March 2000.

Here's a link to Susan's online article:

Susan Khalje on Boning

I use Rigilene. It is more readily available than other boning materials, at least in my area.

I have made several bustiers, some more complex than others, and have added simple boning to sundresses.   For the simple ones (not using a corset layer, as Karla describes so well), I stitch right to the seam allowances of the underlined fashion fabric.  I use my tried-and-true method of cutting the seam allowances 3/4 inch, stitching the Rigilene to one seam allowance, then folding both seam allowances over to one side and topstitching (from the right side) them into place.

I also, like Karla, round and flame the ends of Rigilene after I have cut the appropriate lengths.  I think Kenneth King recommends that as well in his Bustier CD.

One more caveat about the bustier, as Karla mentioned, you HAVE to be certain that it fits perfectly before you start adding the boning, because taking all of that stitching and boning back out again can be a real pain.

I also put boning in all the seams and long darts, if present--side front, side side back, and sometimes center back, depending on the type of closure.  I don't put a waist stay in unless I am making a dress, or if the bustier extends well below the waist, because I make the bustier very form fitting (think sausage factory here), and haven't needed it for myself.  Here is a link about making a waist stay:

Waist Stay

And here is a link to boned lacing for center back (or front, if that is the style) treatments.  I love the Farthingales site and order from them on occasion.  They're great.


For boning that goes below the waist in front, check out the methods in the Threads articles about adding separate pieces of boning in the lower front for more support, because the Rigilene can crease if it is bent at the waist for a long period of time (as in lots of sitting).

One thing I always do (which was not mentioned in the Threads articles) is to see which way the Rigilene naturally curves. You have to make sure that the ends of the stay point in toward your body. This will make it seem that the middle of the stay will bow away from the body, but it does not, in the final garment. If you sew a stay in so the ends point outwards, the garment will not hug the bodice correctly, it will tend to "shelf" outward. Nice for catching crumbs, but then who needs that?  I have tried pressing Rigilene so it doesn't have that curve, but the curve always persists, so I just use it to serve my needs.

Here is a link to a page with the types of boning available and some FAQs about boning:

Boning FAQs



Offline AnnRowley

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Re: Boning a Bodice
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 07:03:32 PM »

This is Karla's post on the same subject.
Thank you for this useful information. 

I tackled something similar some years back (Prom Girl is now 24) and started by building the corset using the underlining.  In the interest of sanity (mine), I used a sturdy poly/cotton batiste/broadcloth stuff to avoid using slippery fabric where it didn't matter. I used Rigilene boning because it was flexible, could be sewn through and was available locally, smoothing the ends by shaping them into a curve and flambe-ing them with a lighter to melt the fibers together.  Once the corset was sewn and boned, I sewed the silk dupioni bodice together and layered it over the corset and attached it; after that I treated it as one layer.

The biggest sanity-saver was using a muslin; I basted together a mock up of the bodice, fitted it on her to within a millimeter, assuring her that she could get along without breathing for a few hours; proms really don't last very long.      I drew on it, pinned it snugly, etc, then took it apart and used it as the pattern for the dress, interlining and lining.  It was more than worth the time and effort involved to get the fit right before I started in on the actual dress.  I also used more boning than the pattern suggested - center back, side seams, vertical darts, and halfway between the the two, running the boning from the top of the bodice (or the top of the dart) to hipbone level, and I added a waist stay - a snug interior grosgrain ribbon waistband - to the finished dress that held everything in place and anchored the boning at waist level when she wore it.  I think running the boning below the waist so that her hipbones helped provide bodice support made the dress more comfortable and secure.  She danced all evening without worrying that anything was slipping or falling down. 




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