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boning in bodice

happy2sew | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am making a strapless top with boning in the princess front and back seams (bridesmaid dress).  After I turn the bodice right side out, how do I prevent the boning from rolling out of the intended shape?  The pattern instructions don’t tell me to tack the seam allowances of the fashion fabric to the seam allowance of the lining, but I think it seems to work better this way.  Does anyone have any experience with this?


  1. mygaley | | #1

    If you are using plastic boning, it can be pressed and curved into the shape you desire.  Tell us more about your problem.  Is the boning rolling out the top edge, is it understitched, does basting the bottom edge together wst help it stay in place?  Sometimes making the lining just the tiniest bit tighter will make boned seams cling to your body.  Also, have you put a rigid waistline stabilizer in?  You can tack your boned seams to it and be sure nothing will show from the outside.  I use wide grosgrain ribbon for the stay, but I saw a rtw gown with a 2" stiff elastic stay, fastened with velcro, and it emphasized the waistline and held everything in place.  Galey

    1. happy2sew | | #2

      thank you for your questions. I don't think I made myself clear.    This is just a strapless top that goes to the high hip area.  The boning (plastic) does not show at the top nor does it show at the bottom.  I have appropriately trimmed the boning, seamed the edges, seamed the fashion fabric to the lining, understitched the top and bottom edge, and now I'm ready to handstitch the lining to the zipper tape.  The problem is that instead of keeping the convex curved shape at the bust, the boning wants to shift away from the seam line and the garment will look strange on the hanger.  When I finish the zipper/lining will the boning stay at the seamlines, or do I need to tack the seam allowances of the princess seams (fashion fabric) to the seam allowances of the lining?  The lining is sufficiently snug.  The waistline stay may control the shifting of the boning at the waistline, but what helps in the bust area?

      1. mygaley | | #3

        It certainly sounds as though you have done a careful, complete job.  Is this garment for you?  I think if you could try it on-get someone to pin the back seam allowances-or try it on someone, you would be reassured.  On the body, the boning will be forced in place by the fit of the lining, and the fashion fabric will lay over the lining held in place by the upper and lower seam edges.  If you still feel you must tack, I'd start with only the underarm seams.  One of the considerations here is that as a bridesmaids dress, your garment should not be too different from the others.  Anyway, I think a try-on will do a world of good.  Galey

        1. happy2sew | | #4

          Thank you. The dress is not for me, I am making it for my niece's maid of honor.  It's a two piece outfit (this top and a long skirt).  The girl lives approximately 2 hour drive away.  I am going to see if it can be fitted on someone else to see if the boning stays in place when it is on a body.  Thank you for your help.  I may be "chatting" later.

          1. mygaley | | #5

            I was able to snoop shop in a formal and bridal store today and looked at the boned tops.  To my surprise, some of them had the boning attached to either the fashion fabric or the interlining.  Mostly the lining hung separately from the face and it did its own thing.  This was true even in the tops that had built-in bras and cups.  Nowhere was the lining tacked to the fashion fabric.  Galey

          2. happy2sew | | #6

            Thanks for snooping.  (How do you avoid the "Do you have an appointment ?" query from the efficient salespeople?)  Anyway, the difficulty I'm having with the boning is that it seems to twist and or shift away from the seam, so I think the bridesmaid may question its fit before even trying it on.  I understand that sufficiently snug lining should alleviate the problem.  I'll make sure that the lining is exact.

          3. Josefly | | #9

            I had the same problem when I made a strapless cotton sundress for my daughter. As "Artfulenterprises" said, the boning wanted to keep the curve it had on the roll of boning, so no matter which way I turned the boning, curve inward or curve outward, it looked funny when the dress was off. My daughter wasn't worried, though, because she had tried the bodice of the dress on several times during construction, and could see that the boning would follow the shape of the seam when it was on. Galey has a great suggestion for you about handling your client's fears. I just wanted to tell you that the problem is not uncommon, and after wearing, the shape of the boning seems to mold to the shape of the bodice.

          4. happy2sew | | #10

            thank you all of you for your helpful comments and suggestions.  I'll give it a whirl.

  2. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #7

    This may be completely off the wall here, but I'll throw it at you anyway. Boning often comes in a roll, which means it is inclined to bend in one direction. While someone else has mentioned that plastic boning can be reshaped, still, perhaps simply turning the boning so that it wants to bend toward the body may help. It may be a little late for that in this stage of construction, but it''s a thought.

  3. mygaley | | #8

    Here in the casual almost rural south when you have lived and shopped in one place for over 30 years, you know a lot of people and have more freedom.  In this instance I had my granddaughter with me and told the saleslady that we wanted to look at the sale formals.  There are always some sale bridals, but don't touch or even get near the regular price bridals.  Also, chain stores are more casual about this than privately owned businesses.  I don't feel that I am cheating the store out of anything because although I may not be in the market for a bridal,  their customers frequently come to me for alterations, and from time to time we purchase a gown that is a good bargain in terms of style, fabric, trim, etc.; in other words exactly what we need to make exactly what we want.  Also, I often accompany brides to these stores to reassure them that what they are buying can be altered to be exactly what they want.  This gives the store sales.  Also, I am very careful with their merchandise and I do not copy designs. 

    Now about your boning, turning the direction of the curve is a great idea.  If you have not sewn through the boning anywhere, that ought to work.  I have had another thought.  Perhaps you could baste on the seam allowances with 2" stitches, leaving both ends loose.  This way, when the bridesmaid sees the garment, it will be held together; put it on her, allow her to admire the fit, and pull the basting stitches out while it is still on her.  She will then see that it will work even though the face and lining separate when it is off her body.  A little slight of hand, there.  Galey

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