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. Farthingales
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