how to sew in boning

How to Sew in Boning: Upskill Your Sewing Projects

When you see an outfit with a runway caliber bodice, you can’t help but want to cheer (at least a little… even, if under your breath).

The first time I saw it I immediately wondered how to sew in boning.

And, since, I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of my work, this has been an area that I’ve focused on and tested multiple different tactics.

DIY lace up bustier
This matching lace up bustier top & high waisted pants set was made from thrifted pajamas and curtains.

While sewing boning is a seemingly complex task, I found that with proper guidance and practice, it was easily achievable.

Gaining expertise in this can significantly level up your dressmaking skills, giving your garments a professionally tailored look and fit.

Tap into the art of boning installation, get acquainted with new methods using unconventional materials, and master the finish to get that perfect form-fit.

Let’s dig in!

Understanding Boning

Let’s journey into the world of garment construction, notably the bodice, a critical component of a dress. Why is it important?

The bodice helps establish the form of the dress, giving it form and enhancing the figure of the wearer.

If you’re unsure, boning is commonly used in bodices, corsets, swimwear, and bridal wear and refers to thin strips of rigid materials within each to provide shape and support.

Traditionally, boning was comprised of whalebone (hence the name), but modern materials now range from steel to plastics. When inserted correctly, boning can lift, shape, and enhance the shape of your body and the look of your sewing projects.

Understanding how to install boning in, say, a corset, could be a game-changer in your sewing pursuits. By the end of this, you’ll find yourself more knowledgeable and your sewing skills more refined. So, sharpen those scissors, line up the mannequin, and prepare your materials.

It’s time to learn how to sew in boning.

Key Elements of Boning

To simplify, the key elements of boning: preparation, installation, and finishing.

Considering each phase with careful attention guarantees not only the finished product’s appeal but also its durability and comfort.

Preparation: Precise measurements for the boning should be done based on the pattern of the bodice. It’s super important to note that the length should fall short of the seam allowance. This helps to ensure that you aren’t overcompensating on the fashion aspect while forgetting that you have to wear this thing. Too long of a length can cause a lot of discomfort.

Installation: I give multiple ways of sewing in boning below, but essentially you’re trying to ensure that your boning is slipped into sewn casings or the seam allowance.

Finishing: Your going to want to ensure the installation allows for a gentle curve. This helps the boning to align better with the natural shape of the body. Subsequent stitching secures boning, keeping it from moving around within the casing. The result is a comfortable, well-structured bodice, ready to enhance any garment.

Creating and Attaching Channels for Boning

Let’s unpack another crucial element in boning installation: creating and attaching channels. Channels, or casings, house the boning, keeping it in place while ensuring the wearer’s comfort.

DIY Boning Channels in my Upcycled Corset
see how I used DIY bias tape as my channels in this bustier

These channels can be made with bias tape or seam allowance.

The width of these channels is very important, as you want them to be snug enough to secure the boning, but not so tight that it hinders insertion. Once creation is complete, channel attachment is the next task.

Attachment should align perfectly with the bodice’s seams. Remember, this alignment is important as it determines the overall fit and comfort.

Creating and attaching the channels with care will ensure your boning sits comfortably within the bodice, lending its much-needed support without compromising your comfort.

Adding Boning with Heavy-Duty Zip Ties: An Innovative Approach

You know I’m looking for the most effective (cost, materials, and time) way to do things. The fashion world is forever adaptive, constantly embracing innovation. So, when I saw this as an option, I was excited to give it a shot.

I’ve since learned that I will not use zip ties or plastic in my boning again.

Part of being cost efficient and reducing waste is ensuring that you aren’t working on the same project over and over again. I want something sturdier. I want something that’s going to last. I want it to have smoother lines and a more comfortable feel. Metal gives me that.

My experience with plastic and zip ties has been that they are more likely to break which causes the garment to lose its shape and the potential for being uncomfortably poked. They can also melt in the dryer. I’m truly not a fan.

However, I know a lot of people find this trendy and an easy way to insert boning into their corsets given their availability and affordability, so I wanted to include the information for you.

If you use zip ties, please ensure they are heavy duty. They are more likely to carry the strength needed to support the bodice, while also exhibiting a flexible nature allowing a comfortable fit for the wearer.

You may enjoy this video by KatieBethDeath on how to use zip ties as boning.

Understand the Role of Interfacing in Garment Structure

We can’t discuss boning installation without talking about interfacing. Given its role is often unspoken, let’s shine a light on its significance in garment structure.

Interfacing is a force to be appreciated. This unsung hero adds much-needed rigidity and structure to garments, especially in areas requiring additional support.

It makes sense then, that when inserting boning into a bodice, interfacing becomes a critical pieces of the puzzle.

Depending on your fabric choice and desired final look, you may choose between sew-in or fusible interfacing. Last but not least, the engagement of interfacing with boning cannot be ignored.

Interfacing acts as a supportive layer, providing an added buffer between the boning and the fabric. This can help to maintain the shape of the bodice, ensuring the boning does not create any unsightly bulges or lines when fastening your closures.

Integrating interfacing to your garment construction routine can be transformative in the quest for perfecting the art of boning installation.

Embracing Rework, Reclamation, and Rehabilitation

If you watch my YouTube channel, then you know that I aspire to be as sustainable as possible. My goal is to help people create their own wardrobes while removing textiles from landfills, as much as possible. As always, I encourage that we hold the focus on “rework,” “reclaim,” and “rehabilitate.”

If you’re interested, I’ve included some of my favorite upcyles that incorporate boning in the makeover.

THRIFT FLIP | DIY Corset with Removable Straps & ShortsTutorial
$1 THRIFT FLIP | DIY Corset and Skirt + Cowl Neck Dress Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you hand sew boning?

Yes, it is possible to hand sew boning. While using a sewing machine is more common and convenient when it comes to attaching boning to garments, hand sewing can be a great option for smaller projects or when a sewing machine is not readily available. Hand sewing boning requires patience and precision to ensure a secure and neat outcome. To hand sew boning, start by cutting the boning to the desired length, making sure to smooth any rough edges with sandpaper or a file. Then, mark the placement of the boning on the fabric, using tailor’s chalk or fabric marker. Thread a needle with a strong thread that matches the color of the fabric and knot one end. Bring the needle up through the fabric from the wrong side, close to the marked spot, and slide the needle through the boning’s casing. Make small stitches around the boning, securing it in place. It is important to stitch close to the boning but not through it, as this may weaken the structure. Repeat the process for each section of boning until all desired pieces are sewn in. Finally, secure the thread by making a knot on the wrong side of the fabric and trim any excess thread. While hand sewing boning may require more time and effort compared to using a sewing machine, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding technique to achieve a professional-looking finish.

Can you sew through plastic boning?

Yes, it is possible to sew through plastic boning. Plastic boning is commonly used in the construction of corsets, bustiers, and other garments that require added structure and support. Sewing through plastic boning can be done using a regular sewing machine or by hand, but it is important to take certain precautions to ensure a strong and secure stitch. Before sewing, make sure to use a heavy-duty needle that is suitable for sewing through thick or rigid materials. You may also want to adjust the stitch length on your sewing machine to accommodate the thickness of the boning. When sewing, it is advisable to use a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch to hold the plastic boning in place. Additionally, reinforcing the stitching with multiple rows or using a double stitch can provide extra strength. It is important to be careful not to sew directly through the plastic boning, as this can weaken or damage it. Instead, aim to sew alongside the boning, ensuring that the stitches are close enough to securely hold it in place. By following these steps, you can successfully sew through plastic boning and incorporate it into your garment construction.

How do you sew through boning?

Sewing through boning can be a slightly challenging task, but with the right techniques, it can be easily accomplished. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sew through boning:

1. Prepare your materials: Firstly, gather all the necessary materials, including the boning, fabric, a sewing machine, matching thread, and sewing pins. It’s important to choose the right type of boning for your project, such as steel or plastic boning, depending on your fabric and desired outcome.

2. Mark your fabric: Use a fabric pencil or tailor’s chalk to mark the areas where the boning will be inserted. These marks will guide you during the sewing process and ensure that the boning is properly aligned.

3. Cut the boning: Measure and cut the boning pieces according to your pattern or desired length. Make sure to use sharp scissors or wire cutters designed for cutting boning to get clean, precise cuts.

4. Pin the boning in place: Take the cut boning pieces and carefully insert them into the marked areas on the fabric. Use sewing pins to secure the boning along the edges, ensuring that it follows the marked lines. This will prevent the boning from shifting during the sewing process.

5. Sewing machine setup: Set up your sewing machine with a designated needle for heavy-duty fabrics. Choose a zigzag stitch or a stitch specifically designed for sewing boning, depending on your machine’s capabilities. Adjust the stitch length and tension to ensure that it securely holds the boning in place.

6. Sew slowly and steadily: Begin sewing along the edge of the fabric, right next to the boning. Take your time and sew slowly, ensuring that the needle goes through the fabric and catches the boning. Sew as close to the edge of the boning as possible, but be careful not to sew directly over it, as this may damage your needle.

7. Backstitch at the beginning and end: Start with a backstitch at the beginning of your sewing line to secure the stitches in place. When you reach the end, backstitch again to reinforce the seam. This will prevent the boning from coming loose over time.

8. Repeat for all boning channels: If your project requires multiple boning channels, repeat steps 3 to 7 for each channel. Take your time and ensure that each boning piece is properly inserted and securely sewn.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to sew through boning with ease and achieve professional-looking results. Remember to practice on scraps of fabric before working on your actual project to get the hang of sewing through boning. With a little patience and practice, you’ll be able to create garments and accessories with beautifully structured elements.

How to sew a corset without boning?

If you’re looking to sew a corset without the use of boning, you’re in luck! While boning is commonly used to provide structure and shaping to corsets, it is not a necessity. There are alternative techniques and materials you can utilize to achieve a similar effect. Firstly, consider using heavy-duty interfacing or heavyweight fabric as the main body of your corset. This will provide a certain level of support and structure without the need for boning. Additionally, strategically placed channels can be created to insert flat steel bones or plastic boning strips for added support if desired. Another option is to rely on pattern drafting techniques that shape the corset through clever seam construction and fabric manipulation. By incorporating elements such as panels, darts, and gathering, you can create a corset that offers both form and function. Remember, when sewing a boning-free corset, it’s crucial to select a sturdy fabric, reinforce stress points, and utilize proper fitting techniques to ensure the garment remains supportive and comfortable.

How to sew boning channels?

Boning channels are essential for providing structure and support to garments, especially in corsets and bodices. By following these simple instructions, you will be able to create professional-looking boning channels that will enhance the overall fit and feel of your creation. Let’s get started!

Firstly, gather all the necessary tools and materials. You will need your fabric of choice, boning, a sewing machine, matching thread, a ruler or measuring tape, pins, and scissors. It’s crucial to choose the right fabric for your project, as it should be sturdy enough to hold the boning securely.

Measure and mark the desired locations for your boning channels. Consider the design and structure of your garment to determine the spacing and placement. For corsets, channels are usually placed along the seams and in the center front and back.

Next, cut fabric strips for your boning channels. The width of the strips will depend on the width of your boning. Add a few extra centimeters to allow for seam allowances. It’s essential to cut the strips on the straight grain of the fabric for maximum stability.

Pin the fabric strips onto your garment, making sure they are aligned with your marked measurements. You can use the ruler or measuring tape to ensure accuracy. Secure the fabric with pins, positioning them vertically along the edges.

Now it’s time to stitch the boning channels. Using a straight stitch on your sewing machine, sew along the pinned edges of the fabric strips. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each channel for added durability. Take your time to sew straight lines to achieve a professional finish.

After sewing all the boning channels, carefully remove the pins. Now it’s time to insert the boning. Measure and cut the boning pieces to fit each channel, leaving a bit of extra length at each end. Rounded-end boning is recommended to prevent it from piercing through the fabric.

Slide the boning into the channels, gently working it through from one end to the other. Make sure the boning sits flat and is properly aligned within each channel. If necessary, trim any excess length, ensuring that the boning remains hidden within the fabric strips.

Finally, secure the ends of the boning channels. Fold the raw edges of the fabric strips to the inside and stitch them closed. You can either hand stitch or use your sewing machine for this step. Take extra care to ensure that the ends are neatly finished, as they will prevent the boning from poking through.

And there you have it – your very own professionally sewn boning channels! With these steps, you can confidently add structure and support to your garments, creating beautifully tailored pieces that stand the test of time. Happy sewing!


Mastering the method of correctly installing boning in a bodice equips garment creators with an essential tool in their kit.

It helps in transforming an otherwise ordinary dress into a well-structured piece that complements the wearer’s figure.

Knowledge of boning installation prepares one to work with diverse materials and enables exploration.

Moreover, this skill opens the avenue to blend old traditional sewing techniques with modern fashion design.

Success here serves the dual purpose: besides achieving a skilled hand at dressmaking, it contributes towards sustainable fashion, reforming used materials into fantastic garments.

As it stands, grasping boning installation is an incredible way to enlarge your fashion creation horizons!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *