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altering bust & sewing boning

rsew | Posted in General Sewing Info on


I’m in the process of altering a bridesmaids dress.  the dress is strapless

tea length and the bust is way too big-there is boning at the bust seam and side seams.  After opening the lining I see the boning is sewn directly thru next to the

seam line.  What size needle do I use to sew the boning back into the altered bust

line seam??





  1. suesew | | #1

    I would try a 12 or 14 sharp. You need something to pierce the boning if it isn't wrapped with a casing. I hate to do that alteration - there is so much to take apart and it is usually all hard to get to and get under the machine.

  2. wlric | | #2

    What type of boning is it? Is it thick plastic or metal or thin woven plastic? If you can match the stitch length you can try to sew into the same holes that are already in the plastic. Make sure you have a lot of needles and sew carefully. On the thicker plastic boning I have had to go to a 16 needle. But, I prefer to place the bone into a casing rather than sew it into a seam. Good luck.

    1. rsew | | #3


      the boning is a thin woven plastic - it looks like white elastic-without the stretch of

      course and it is sewn right next to the seamline.  The poor girl who owns it is

      not a size 12 in the bust area and the whole front of the dress just gaps and bags.


      1. maggiecoops | | #4

        I do sympathise with both yourself and the lass who owns the dress. At one time you didnt need a chest to wear the boned bodices and they didnt gape or sag. The solution was elegant and simple, though nowadays seems largely to be forgotten. We had what I can only describe as built in soft powder puffs,  layers of dress net with the top layers made from soft prettily edged chiffons and finally a soft lace, the whole lot looked like a multi petalled peony that acted as a former for the bodice bust area, and a modesty shield for the wearer, so if she bent forward all one could see was the froth created by the flower effect insets. Worked brilliantly for those of us who had small busts but were still wide backed and wanted the strapless ball gowns. .

  3. mainestitcher | | #5

    I don't care to re-sew boning, and sometimes I cheat.

    I'm going to guess the boning is sewn to the lining, and not to the fashion fabric.

    When feasable, I take a seam in the lining as close as I can to the original, w/out taking out the old one.  Press the extra material away from the boning.

    Yes, I'm quite aware it isn't "right."  I'm also aware that the individual who paid $169.99 for a special occassion dress that she'll never wear again will appreciate expediency more than couture tailoring.  Do a neat job of it, and you'd be surprised how unobtrusive it is.  Really. 

     Mainestitcher slinks off to hide when she admits this awful technique is in her repertoire.


    1. User avater
      Becky-book | | #6

      It is not an awful technique!!
      You did not say you would make something that way.
      Fixing someone else's boo boo as quickly and inexpensively as possible (for the poor bridesmaid who had no say in choosing the gown most likely!)is a valuable tool to own. And I think you know when to use it!

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