Picture of How to Install Boning in a Bodice
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Boning. It's a great thing.

Hopefully, because you're here you wont end up like me at prom, with the top of your dress around the bottom of your rib cage on the dance floor!

Let me help you keep you undergarments under you clothes by following this quick and easy Instructable!

This is intended as an instructable to show you how to instal boning into a garment you are sewing yourself. However, by following these steps it is possible to add boning into the structure of a pre-made dress, depending on how it is constructed.

Here's what you'll need!

A bodice A bodice lining Covered plastic boning **See note below about types of boning! Coordinating thread Sewing machine

Notes on Materials:

The bodice and bodice lining should be sewing together per your pattern instructions or whatever plans are in your head! More than likely the zipper will not be installed yet, that's my preferred method and how I will approach it. Did you prewash your fabric?! I hope you did!


There's two general types of boning, plastic and steel. I prefer plastic and here's why:

Once while browsing the wares at the Renaissance festival i was checking out some corsets and the kind gentleman selling them told me that they were made with plastic boning. I asked why he choose plastic over steel and he told me that while steel boning is nice it is not meant to bend, so when you wear a corset and do things you're not supposed to do while wearing a corset, ie bending, the steel boning can snap and puncture you.

So in short, plastic boning is safer unless you plan on not moving too much.

Now that we decided on plastic boning, there are another two types when you go shopping.

Covered and not covered.

Covered means that the casing for the boning is already made for you. For most of my projects this is the type of boning i buy because it's not much more expensive, and its nice not having to make the casing (or pockets) that the boning will end up in. However if you are making something like a corset when you sew channels to put the boning into buying non covered would be better.

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Mama Reni9 months ago

Great post. Your helper kitty is cute too.

lynniehop11 months ago

well done lauraspiders! I have been sewing for many years and have never attempted adding boning to a project. i was always worried about doing it wrong but you explained it really well, and your boning won't be slipping down anywhere! have fun in your new dress :o)

lauraspiders (author)  lynniehop10 months ago

Thanks, I wish I started using boning much earlier, and I'm glad it's clearer for you now :D

astral_mage11 months ago

how come the pic of yr cat is side ways?

lauraspiders (author)  astral_mage10 months ago

I don't know, i tried to fix the thumbnail but its stuck, good thing it's the correct orientation in the text!

impied10 months ago

Awesome tutorial! Savior of strapless dresses and shirts everywhere. :) Also, if you have trouble sourcing real plastic boning (or find the ones at Joann to be too flimsy) I've used heavy duty zip ties, cut and sanded, to great effect.

The cat image is what made this instructable, though. I don't know what it is about cats and craft projects...

lauraspiders (author)  impied10 months ago
I have heard about the zip tie trick, I was skeptical, but I think I might give it a try now!

My cat loves to sit on all my projects so much I've started using decoy projects so I can get work done.