Boning can make what seems like an easy alteration project into a difficult one. Boning made of metal, plastic and cord is used to provide shaping in corsets, corselettes, bridal and prom dresses and lingerie. While adding it to a garment is relatively simple, altering an existing garment with boning is trickier. In most cases, you'll need to remove the boning, then replace it after the alterations are complete.
Things You'll Need
Needle and thread or threaded sewing machine
Pins or tailor's chalk
Examine the boned garment to be altered. Determine if the bones are attached in channels or if they are sandwiched between the lining and outer layer of the garment.
Plan your alterations. Try the garment on or place it on the person who'll be wearing it. Mark the areas that need to be taken in with pins or tailor's chalk. Remember to distribute alterations evenly to avoid changing fit
Disassemble the boned seam. This may require you to take the lining and shell completely apart or just to disassemble the area you're altering. Remove the bones and any channels they occupy.
Alter the garment. Reconstruct it in the same way it was originally put together. Take in the lining, as well as the shell fabric. Do not sandwich them together in the same seam, as this can change the fit of your garment.
Try the garment for fit. Correct your alterations as needed. If necessary, tape the boning in temporarily to provide the correct shape.
Replace the boning. Determine the new location of the boning and sew a boning channel in the correct place. Remember to place the boning as it was originally placed. This will help prevent visible bones or unsightly topstitching.
Place the bones in their channels. Try the garment on again to make certain the fit is correct.
Close the garment. Stitch closed all open areas to reconstruct your garment in a smaller size. The new seam and boning should not be obvious.
Measure carefully. Alterations involving boning require precision Remember to distribute alterations evenly to avoid changing the fit. For extremely complex garments, see an alterations shop.
Choose the right boning – plastic is too weak to support large figures. You may need to close the seam by hand to prevent stitches from showing.