How to sew boning into a dress bodice

Written by halley wilson
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How to sew boning into a dress bodice
A stiffer boning material will provide a more rigid structure to your bodice. (Hochzeit image by Petra Hilke from

Boning is a hard structural addition made of rigid materials like plastic or metal that you can add to your dress bodice to provide you with shaping for your figure and support for the fabric itself. Bodice boning is sewn into a casing at the seams for basic shaping and in between seams for added stability and style. The number of bones you use depends on what look you are going for, but each individual bone is sewn in the same way by attaching it either to the lining or directly to the inside of the outer fabric.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Boning
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Casing fabric
  • Iron
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Measure the length of the part of the bodice that you are adding boning to. Cut your boning about 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) shorter than this length. Rounding the corners of your bones slightly will make them more comfortable and less likely to break through the casing.

  2. 2

    Cut a rectangle of material for the boning casing. The length should measure the length of your boning plus 1.8 cm (3/4 inch), and the width should measure the width of your boning plus 1.8 cm (3/4 inch). Fold the material under on each side of the rectangle 6 mm (1/4 inch) and press. This should give you enough room to attach the casing and easily slide the boning into it.

  3. 3

    Sew the bottom and sides of your boning casing with a running stitch 3 mm (1/8 inch) from the edge of the casing to the bodice with the folded side facing the fabric that you are attaching it to. This can be either the lining of the bodice of the dress or the outside material of the bodice. Either way will provide support to the bodice.

  4. 4

    Slide the boning into the casing and fold the top edge of the casing under towards the material that the casing is attached to.

  5. 5

    Sew across the top of the casing to secure the boning in place. Try the bodice on to be sure that the boning is situated how you want it before adding more bones.

Tips and warnings

  • For a rigid structure add more bones between seams.
  • For a lifting effect add a curved boning under the bust.
  • If you are using a thin outer material, you may want to add a stiffer interfacing before attaching the boning to prevent the bones from ripping through the material.
  • Boning can be added with hand-sewing, but using a machine is ideal for creating sturdy seams that the boning will not rip through.

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