I have three different ways of sewing a Boning Channel into a Corset. My choice will be based on the look of the Corset, whether I am sewing up a Historically Accurate Corset, or would like a Period look, wear-ability and the speed I need to make the Corset as some of these methods are very time consuming.
I would highly recommend doing as I have done, and cutting a Front and a Side Front piece from spare Coutil and Outer Fabric to have a little bit of a practice on.
The Eventide Method
I’d like to first show you the method which is in the Eventide Corset instruction book, and a method which is the easiest way to sew the Corset up, with Boning Channels.
Having inserted the Busk, you will begin to Pin, with right sides together, each fabric Corset Panel to the next until they are in a line. Once pinned, you can sew them together with your Seam Allowance (1.5cm, above left).
Sew all of the Outer Fabric Panels in this fashion, and then the Coutil. You should now have all of the Panels for the Front and Back of the Corset- with Wrong Sides Together- in a line running away from the Busk (above right)
The next part is a little tricky, and will require strong fingers! You will have noticed that each Seam is now curved, and not laying flat. As best you can, and pulling away from the Busk will help, smooth the Panels out so that the Seam of the Front Fabric is laying directly on top of the Coutil. Pin in place (above left).
This may require some fiddling on your part however; if the Coutil seams at the Back are a little mis-aligned this isn’t too much of a worry (unless it is more than .5cm). If you are finding vast discrepancies, and nothing seems to be lining up you may need to check you have used the correct Seam Allowance on every Seam.
Apart of lining the Seams up, you will need to make sure no Seam is pleated or in any other way distorted. They should lie flat. Pin at a right angle as illustrated so you can keep the Seam pinned for as long as possible when sewing.
Next, you will need to measure your Boning and the Presser Foot on your Sewing Machine. Roll your Needle in to the Machine, place a Measuring Tape up against it and lower the Presser Foot. Make a note of the measurement from the Needle to the edge of the Presser Foot. Measure your Boning.
As you can see, my Presser Foot measures approximately 6mm, and my Boning is 1cm. This means that, when I sew either side of the Seams on my Corset it will be stitched 12mm apart- the perfect distance as it allows for any slight wobble when sewing, and for sliding the Boning in when it is tipped.
You may need to attach your Zipper Foot to sew a narrower Seam however; as you can see your next task is to Sew either side of the Seams you have just Pinned.
You will need to remove the Pins as you get to them- this makes the stitching neater as your Needle can snag, or your Presser Foot wobble when a Pin is reached. Click on the images to enlarge.
And voilà, Boning Channels!
After sewing the first, I check the Boning fits snugly, but with a little movement and then continue with the rest.
The Internal Method
I used to create Bespoke Corsetry for a London Lingerie shop in Covent Garden, and one super fun day the owner and I ripped apart a very cheap Satin sample Corset because we simply could not fathom how they had hidden the seams… and this was our answer!
This method need to be sewn after any and all fittings as you are unable to get back in to each seam once sewn and unpicking is a nightmare!
Starting with the Front and Side Front Panels for both the Outer Fabric and the Coutil, after you have inserted the Busk lay out as above (click to enlarge), with the Outer Fabric and Coutil Front Panels Right Sides Together, and the Side Front Coutil Right Side up on the bottom and the Side Front Outer Fabric Panel on top, Right Side Down.
Pin, matching your Waist Line Snip first, and being careful to match all edges.
Sew with your Seam Allowance (1.5cm, above left).
Remove the Pins then, as close to the edge as you dare, Sew another line of stitching at least 12mm away from the first line (above right).
If you have purchased wider Boning you will need to adjust your Seam Allowance accordingly, and make sure these two lines of Stitching are separated by the width of your Boning plus a couple of milimeters.
Cut a length of Boning, and push in to your Seam carefully (above left) as it is not yet tipped, and the steel can rip the fabric. If it is too tight, or gets stuck, you will need to unpick and attempt the Seam again.
Smooth the Side Front of the Fabric and Coutil out, and admire your perfectly hidden seam!
Check every Boning Channel as you sew, as you can now see- if you have not sewn it correctly there can be an awful lot of unpicking to do if you suddenly cannot fir the Boning in, or have (oh the horror!!), forgotten to sew the second line of stitching.
The Bound Method
This is easily the most complicated, and time consuming method of creating a Boning Channel however; when executed properly can look stunning!
Insert the Busk as usual. If you are making your own Bias Binding, you will be able to make it the correct width. If you are using pre-made Bias Binding (which is recommended the first time you do this method), you may need to cut it down slightly.
Un-fold one side of the Bias Binding and place the Boning on top (above left), from the edge of the Boning measure out your Seam Allowance (1.5cm) and see if the Bias Binding needs to be trimmed down. In my case, as you can see, the Bias Binding needs to be trimmed down .5mm.
Once the Bias Binding is the correct width, Pin the side you trimmed down- Right Sides Together- on the Front Fabric Panel (above left). Pin the Side Front Panel, with Right Side Down, on top (above right).
Place the Coutil Front and Side Front with Right Sides Together, then slide underneath the Fabric (above left).
Sew the Seam, and remove all Pins (above right).
Smooth out the Front and Back, which will leave the Bias Binding flapping! The Back however; should be laying flat as for the Internal Boning Method.
Next, smoothing out the back and the front, Pin the Binding down as illustrated (below). As the seam is now curved, you will need to do this carefully and use of a Tailors Ham is advised.
You will need to ensure that the back is smooth, with no puckers or pleats, as well as the front at the same time as smoothing the Bias Binding out evenly. Remember the Bias Binding needs to stay the same width all of the way down the seam, and be wide enough to fit the Boning.
Once pinned (above centre), you can attach your Zipper Foot to the Sewing Machine and Top Stitch along the Bias Binding (above right).
Remember that, whilst this can be unpicked if you wobble a little, the Bias Binding will look rougher for it so try to stitch as neatly as possible, and with care.
And there we have it. A Satin Bias Bound Boning Channel. I have executed this in Black on Cream so you can see what I am doing however; your stitching will match the Bias Binding (unless you are a complete sadomasochist!), and any slight inconsistencies would not show as obviously.
Well, I do hope you have a go at all of the different ways to stitch a Boning Channel! As you can see they all have their merits.