Boning is a key component in making a foundation for a corset. It gives the fabric structure and creates the shape that hugs the curves of the body.
Throughout history corset makers have used many different types of boning. Each one has unique benefits and challenges.
Baleen or also known as whalebone comes from the filter-like structure in the mouths of Baleen whales. During the 18th and 19th century it was used for constructing corsets, in collar stiffeners, as parasol ribs, and even buggy whips. Another material used for boning in the early days of corsetry was Coraline. It was made from the straight, stiff fibers from the Mexican ixtle plant, bound together by two strands of thread wrapped in opposite directions.
Featherbone was another alternative to baleen, and was made from the quills of feathers
In more recent corsetry there has been a transition to using steel and plastic. These are more humane options and easier to work with.
At ani&ari we prefer to use a combination of steel and plastic boning. The steel boning is either a half-inch or quarter inch wide flat piece of powder-coated metal. It is also rust free, which allows it to be washed or dry-cleaned. It offers the most strength and structure in a custom corset.
You can also use two types of plastic boning. You can buy individual lengths, like the steel pieces or you can use the rigilene, which is a woven plastic boning that comes by the spool. The regilene is used in lightweight, looser fitting garments. You have probably seen rigeline in your own gowns and structured dresses.
Boning is a corset makers best friend! Hope you enjoyed your glimpse into the ani&ari studio. Until next time!!