Boning - Types and Sewing Tips
Boning helps a garment maintain its shape and stay wrinkle-free. While it is most often used in a corset, bustier, swimsuit or strapless gown, it can also be used strategically in other garments. Use boning to stand up a collar, keep folds or pleats in place, and keep necklines from sagging.
Types of Boning
White steel boning: nylon-coated spring steel, ½" or ¼" wide. It is very rigid and strong, and can be bent in one direction to make a curve. It can also twist or buckle. This is perfect for corsets or costumes, and should only be dry-cleaned. When cut, this it needs to have tips to prevent it from poking through casing and other fabric.
Featherlite boning: durable and flexible plastic, ½" or ¼" wide. It is made for flexible support, and prevents rolling of fabric on garments. It cannot be sewn in a curve, and would not work for a "waist-reducing" corset. This is perfect for costumes or garments that require very light support, and can withstand machine or hand-washing. When cut, this boning does not require tips.
Flexicurve boning: lightweight and flexible plastic, 1/2" wide. It is able to flex around the curve of a supportive garment meant to fit the torso. Flexible enough to wear with comfort, flexicurve can be used for a corset, bustier, or strapless garment.
Boning tips: U-shaped tips that cover the cut ends of continuous boning. They come in ½" or ¼" to match your the size of your boning.
It is important to always make a casing for your boning. Here are steps for creating simple casings:
- Measure the area where you want the boning, and cut your boning around 1/2" shorter. This will prevent it from putting stress on the sewn edges and keep it from eventually peeking through.
- Cut a strip of fabric that is one inch longer and one inch wider than the boning.
- Fold the long sides of the casing under ¼" and press; do the same with the bottom, but fold ½".
- Pin the casing to the inside of the garment, positioning the top edge of the casing ½" higher than you want it when it is finished.
- Start ½" from the top of the casing, and hand sew the sides of the casing to the side seam of the garment. Use small stitches.
- Slide the boning into the casing.
- Fold the top edge of the casing over and sew closed.
Using Boning in Everyday Clothing
Plastic or featherlite boning can be used for more than just shaping clothing. It can be sewn in any direction needed to keep your garment in place. Here are some ways you can use boning to make your everyday clothes more comforable and fit better.
- Sew it along the hips of a tight pencil skirt to keep it from riding up. It will prevent the fabric from folding and wrinkling as you move.
- Add boning to the top of a wide neckline to keep it from draping.
- Sew it horizontally into the dart of a bustline to keep it in place.
- Sew a few pieces of boning into a high waisband to keep it from riding up or wrinkling.
For picture tutorials and more how-to's, check out the Craftster.org forum!
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