Thursday, October 25, 2012

GBD - Boning Tutorial!

This is the third time I've made this dress. Each time I've put it together up to this point, I've closely followed the directions, especially how to install the boning.

My first go round, I installed it on the wrong side of the lining, so it was showing when you saw the inside of the dress.

 The second go round, it was on the correct side, but stitching was showing through, and I really didn't like the way it looked. In addition to the looks portion, measuring the boning wasn't an exact science because of the curves of the upper portion of the bodice and the seam allowances. The first time I ended up sewing through my boning and breaking several needles.

On both versions, I used the cotton casing that came with the boning.

On this incarnation, I've got 5/8 seam allowances, so why not put them to use!? I am sure someone else has already come up with this method, but I am very excited to show you the way I installed the boning.

In the first photo, we are looking at the lining, wrong side out. You can see my 5/8 seam allowance pressed open, and on the right side, a channel I'd already sewn. You can also see in white thread, that I've sewn my lining and main fabric, right sides together. I ripped out some of this stitching because I figured out how to do this AFTER I had sewn them together. You will want to do this BEFORE sewing your main fabric and lining pieces together.

1. Determine which side of the seam allowance you want your boning to sit.
 Since I wanted my boning to sit to the right side of the seam allowance on this side of the bodice, I simply folded the left seam allowance over on top of the right seam allowance. For the left side of the bodice, I would do the opposite. This follows the general sewing idea that you should press seams away from center for a more flattering look. Press these channels to the correct side.

2. Sew the seam allowances together to create the channel.
I ran the first set of seam allowances through my sewing machine, but the remaining three (there are four seams with boning in them) I ran through the serger. Just sew the seam allowances together to create a tube/channel.

3. Press channel flat against the bodice.
The channel should be pressed flat against the bodice to whichever side you want the boning to lay.

4. Sew your lining piece to your main fabric.
The pink dots indicate where you are sewing your lining and main fabric together, just as you normally would. In the photo, my lining piece and my main fabric are right sides together. When sewing them together, make sure your channels are flat and on the correct side and don't shift during sewing. This will close the top of the channel.

5. Slide boning into the channel.
In the photo above, I am sliding the boning into the channel. At this point, you should measure the boning to fit, minus seam allowance for the attaching your skirt piece or midriff to the bottom of the bodice. In this case, I chose to use a smaller seam allowance at 1/4, so I removed 1/4 from the boning length. The boning will not reach to the bottom. This is good, as you don't want to sew over it.

Once you attach your skirt or the midriff piece, the channel will be completely enclosed and should look like this from the inside of your garment:

No pesky lines, a very nice, clean finish!
This was my very first tutorial, I hope you have found it helpful. I did a lot of sewing over the weekend, so I hope to post more about my progress soon!


  1. What i noticed with this pattern was it said to cut TWO bodice linings... I didn't end up using the second lining. I always wondered if one lining was for the boning and then the other lining would be the "real" lining.

    1. You know, I think that one layer is supposed to be used as an underlining. I'm not really sure why you'd need an underlining if you've already got main fabric and lining, unless it's super sheer. The burgerdress I made last year was made out of taffeta or a taffeta-like fabric, which I think is associated with most formals, and I didn't need an underlining. Very strange. Sometimes I wonder who writes these directions!!


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