Way back in the 18th century, our dressmaker ancestors would use whalebone to add shaping and stiffness to a garment.
Today, thankfully, the whalebone has been replaced by the modern day equivalent – plastic or metal boning.
Today’s flexible boning is found as a strip, available by the metre or yard and comes in a variety of widths, from 1/8 to 5/8 inch.
But what is it used for?
Well as mentioned right at the very start of this article, boning is used by fashion sewers to add shaping and stiffness to a garment.
Typically, boning gives vertical support to a garment when required and is commonly found within strapless tops and dresses but can also be used in seams, darts and garment edges.
How today’s modern boning looks compared to whalebone!
Whalebone (left) compared to modern day boning (right).
So we now know what boning looks like, when it is used and how it is bought, but have you ever actually used boning in a sewing project?
It’s not a difficult media to use and does give impressive results if used correctly.
Let me show you!
How To Sew Boning Into A Seam
How To Sew Uncovered Boning Into A Straight Seam
1 – Sew the seam (closed) and then press the seam to one side. Stitch a line 3mm from the raw edge to create a channel.
2 – Cut the boning to the required length and ‘round off‘ the end. This will eliminate the sharpness and help protect the skin against the boning.
3 – Cover the rounded edge of the boning with a small piece of fabric (I’ll be using double sided tape as adhesive) which further protects against any ‘nicks‘ and protects the fabric when the boning is introduced through the seam.
4 – Insert the boning into the seam to the required position, and before securing the ends, add a small piece of fabric to cover the other rounded end, (see point 2).
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If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
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Happy fashion sewing
Colleen G Lea