The poor ladies of 19th century had to endure the dreaded corset. We can be thankful we are spared!
The key ingredient in corsets is boning, which gives it it’s rim-rod straight shape. While we may not have to wear the corset, boning still has its uses. When used in purses, boning gives the bag support and stability. When boning is sewn into the seam allowance of a purse it prevents flimsy, collapsing bags and gives a firm, sturdy feel.
There are quite a few different types of boning. I recommend (and use) Rigilene polyester boning. This should be available at your local fabric store.
Rigilene boning comes in ¼” and ½” widths (compatible with common seam allowances) and two colors: black and white. This is flat, can be sewn through, and is easily cut with scissors.
Most other types of boning cannot be sewn through and require a casing. Riglene does not require a casing. Because Rigilene boning is flat, and not round like other types, I feel it shapes the bag better.
I have found the rounded boning (like the Dritz brand) can make the seams curl inward a bit.
Using Rigilene fixed the problem and created sharp seams.
While boning is great for adding shape and endurance to a bag, it can be a nuisance! There is a reason it is used in corset making… it doesn’t bend very well! You can save yourself many minutes or hours of hassle and sew the boning into the seam allowance LAST! Just before you turn your bag inside out (and after you sewing the lining to the exterior bag) sew the boning on. This will make it easier as manouvering a purse with boning can be difficult.
I like to use boning on the main seams. This means usually along the side and bottom seams. If the side and bottom seams were sewn together in one piece then use one strip of boning for all the seams. If the side and bottom seams were sewn separately then use separate pieces of boning for each seam. It can also be added to top or side seams. Here is a few pictures to show how to sew boning.
Line the boning up inside the seam allowance. Stitch down the middle of the boning.
The boning sewn along the seam allowance
Try and experiment! Boning adds a sturdy feel to your purse and can be the secret ingredient to give your bags the lift they need.
Pep up your purse and try using boning!
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