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Sewing internal boning channels

Internal boning channels are a great option for a smooth, sleek corset silhouette, perfect for avoiding too much bulk and ideal for a stealth corset to get that classic cinched look under your 50’s style dress. However, getting perfectly stitched internal boning channels can be a bit of a headache and quite frustrating, especially since they really need to be stitched from the outside of your corset. Yes, you heard right, you need to stitch them to your corset without actually seeing the boning channel that you’re stitching. Seems unreasonable, I know, but bear with me on this, it’s worth it.

Why the outside, you ask? Machine stitching just looks nicer from the top thread side, and it’s more important to get your lines straight on the outside of your corset than it is to have the channel lined up perfectly on the inside. Here is (in my opinion) the easiest way to get nice tidy internal boning channels without any headaches.

First of all, you need to know where to sew on the outside of your corset. The best way to do this is to invest a little extra time and make a basting line where you want the boning channel to go. Using a thin thread (to avoid making any lasting thread holes in your fabric), simply make a long running stitch along the centre of the boning channel placement marks that you made when marking and cutting your corset. If you plan on adding a waist tape, you can baste along the waistline now too.

The length of your stitches doesn’t matter too much, as long as you can see them clearly on both sides of your panel. I generally find that around 7mm keeps them nice and tidy without taking up too much time. Now, baste all the panels that will have central boning channels (this is a great time to slip in an episode of a good period drama!)

Next, centre your boning tape (or whatever you’ve chosen to use for the channels) over your basted line on the inside of your panel and pin in place. I’d recommend making your boning channels at least 3-4mm wider than your boning width to give yourself a bit of leeway with the stitching. In the example pictured, I’ve used 15mm wide herringbone tape to make a 1cm channel for a 7mm bone. You might find it easiest to pin the tape with the pins horizontal across the panel, that way you can easily pull them out as you sew. It is worth taking your time to be very precise with lining up your channel, it will save you a lot of unpicking if it’s pinned central and straight! You can of course baste the channel in place if you prefer.

Now, flip the panel back over and you’re ready to sew! Measure out half of your final boning channel width on one side of the basted line – this is where you’ll sew. In this case, that’s 5mm which happens to be the foot width. If you can, it’s great to use the foot width as a guide. If your foot isn’t the correct width, just sew slowly and smoothly, re-measuring every few centimetres. After you’ve done a whole corset-worth of this, you’ll probably find that you start to get better at judging the width by eye. As you sew, periodically flip up the panel to check that you're catching the tape underneath and don’t forget to pull the pins out from underneath as you go!

Hooray, one side is done!

Now, repeat the measuring and stitching on the other side of the basted line

Pull out the basting thread and there you have it, a beautifully stitched boning channel.

Repeat this on all panels that require a mid-panel boning channel.

That’s all for this tutorial, we’ll cover internal boning channels over the seams next!

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve found this useful. Please feel free to leave any comments below!

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