Boning in corsets: Everything you need to know

Written by: Laraib Javed



Time to read 7 min

Corsets are those fancy tops that make people look great and stand tall. Boning is what gives corsets their shape and strength. There are different kinds of boning – plastic, and steel, each kind has a special job.

Let's explore these types and see why they're cool!

What is Boning in corsets?

Corset boning is like the corset's skeleton. These boning materials are typically made from materials like steel, plastic, or even whalebone (historically used). Corset boning is important because it keeps the corset stable, stops the fabric from wrinkling or falling in, and makes sure the corset keeps its right shape.

Boning is usually sewn into channels or casings within the corset's fabric. These channels can be either vertical or horizontal, depending on the design and function of the corset. The boning materials used vary in flexibility, with steel boning offering more rigidity and support compared to plastic boning.

In modern times, corsets are often worn as fashion garments or for waist training purposes. The corset's boning is the mastermind behind the distinctive hourglass shape, infusing the attire with structure and seamlessly shaping the body to perfection.

Types of boning in corsets

The versatility of plastic boning, the nostalgia of synthetic whalebone, the flexibility of ridgeline boning, or the comfort of feather boning, your corset experience can be elevated to new heights. Each boning type brings its own unique charm, contributing to the artistry and elegance that corsets have embodied for centuries.

18 Types of Corsets With Photos

A Historical Choice: Corset Boning

Whalebone (Baleen)


Corset Made Using whalebone


Back in the 18th century, Victorian times, and the Edwardian era, people loved wearing corsets – those special clothes that helped shape their bodies. Inside these corsets, there was something really interesting called "whalebone" or baleen. It was not really bone, but it came from whales.

This whalebone was cool because it was both bendy and strong. People who made corsets used heat and water to shape them so that they could fit nicely on the body. But as time passed, it became hard to find and cost a lot of money.

Featherbone: A Plume of Creativity


1893 Ad Featherbone Corset Co Kalamazoo Woman Clothing Accessories Vintage


People had to think of new ideas when the cool whalebone became scarce. One of these ideas was "featherbone." Instead of using whale parts, they used stiff feathers. Featherbone was not as common in corsets but used in other clothes like dresses and belts. It was stretchy and strong, like a little helper behind the scenes.

Horn Resurgence: Crafting with Precision

Imagine if you could make things change shape using heat and water. That's what people did with "horn." It became another option instead of whalebone. It was special because it could be shaped when it got hot and wet. But using a horn was not so easy – it was hard to find and cost a bit more. In places like France, people used horns to make their corsets special.

Reed & Wood: Nature's Budget Alternatives

A long time ago, when people needed something cheaper than baleen, they looked to nature. They used things like "reed" and softwoods like hazel and willow. These materials were not as strong as baleen, so they didn't last as long. But they were okay for a little while. People used these things to make corsets, especially when they needed a quick fix that didn't cost too much.

The Modern Alternative for Corset Boning

Flat Steel Boning: The Classic Choice


Flat Steel Boning


Flat steel boning stands as a timeless option in the realm of corsetry. This type of boning is mainly made from strong stainless steel.

It gives really strong support and helps shape things very precisely.

Flat steel boning is commonly used at the center front and back of the corset, ensuring the garment maintains its structure while allowing for a certain degree of movement. This means it can easily fit the curves of your body.

Spiral Steel Boning: Embracing Flexibility

 Spiral Steel Boning

Spiral Steel Boning


Spiral steel boning, as the name suggests, features a spiral shape that grants it a remarkable degree of flexibility. This boning is really good for corsets that need to bend and twist, so they can move with your body and how it naturally moves.

While providing sufficient support, spiral steel boning also allows for a greater range of motion compared to flat steel boning. Corsets intended for active wear or prolonged periods of use often incorporate spiral steel boning in their designs.

Plastic Boning: Versatility and Comfort

 Plastic Boning

Plastic Corset Boning


Lots of people like plastic boning because it can do many things and feels comfy. Made from materials like polyester or nylon, plastic boning offers a more lightweight option compared to steel boning. If you're looking for a corset that's really comfortable but still keeps its shape well, this is a really good choice.

Plastic boning is particularly favored in modern fashion corsets and costumes, where flexibility and ease of wear are essential. However, it's important to note that plastic boning may not provide as much support as steel boning in tightly laced or heavily structured corsets.

Rigilene Boning: The Supportive Contender

 Rigilene Boning corset

Rigilene Boning corset


Rigilene boning is a strong plastic kind that's known for being supportive and lasting a long time. It looks ribbed, which makes it stiff and hard to bend.

Rigilene boning is often used in corsets that require a higher level of support, particularly at the seams and edges.

Because it's strong, the corset keeps its shape even when you do tough activities. However, the rigidity of Rigilene boning may limit certain movements compared to more flexible options.

Synthetic Whalebone: Tradition Reinvented

 Synthetic Whalebone Corset Boning

Synthetic Whalebone Corset Boning


Synthetic whalebone, also referred to as corset coutil, is a modern alternative to traditional whalebone, which was historically used in corsets. Constructed from synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon, this particular boning type is skillfully designed to replicate the attributes of genuine whalebone.

You get a mix of flexibility and support with this, so you can wear it comfortably and still have the corset keep its shape like you want. Synthetic whalebone is often used in corsets that strive to replicate the aesthetic of vintage designs.

Feather Boning: Light and Soft

 Rigilene corset Boning

Rigilene corset Boning 


Feather boning provides a unique approach to corset construction. Made from a combination of feather and polyester, this type of boning is exceptionally lightweight and soft. While it may not offer the same level of support as steel or plastic boning, feather boning is perfect for corsets that prioritize a gentle shaping effect and light structure.

People often use it in corsets that are like lingerie, or in clothes where moving comfortably is more important than strong shaping.

Cable Ties: An Innovative Twist

 cable ties corset boning

cable ties corset boning


In recent years, cable ties have found their place in corsetry as a budget-friendly alternative to traditional boning materials. These ties, typically used for securing cables, are repurposed for corsets due to their flexibility and affordability.

While not as sturdy as steel or plastic boning, cable ties provide a surprising level of support and are suitable for corsets with moderate shaping requirements. They introduce an inventive resolution for individuals seeking to construct corsets without exceeding their budget.

Choosing the Right Boning for Your Corset

Selecting the appropriate boning for your corset depends on factors such as the intended purpose of the corset, the desired level of support, and the aesthetic you wish to achieve. There's plastic boning, which is flexible and comfy, making it great for everyday wear.

Then there's steel boning, super strong and perfect for giving that iconic corset shape. And don't forget spiral boning, which is like a mix of the two – it's both sturdy and comfy.

Each type of boning has its own superpower. Plastic boning is like the cozy friend, steel boning is the superhero, and spiral boning is the cool combo of both.

Consider the balance between support, flexibility, and comfort to ensure that your corset not only looks stunning but also feels comfortable to wear.

So, next time you see a corset and wonder why it looks so awesome, remember, it's all thanks to these different types of boning doing their thing!

Conclusion:  Boning in corsets

In the world of corsets, the boning is like the secret ingredient that brings out the best in your design. Each type of boning adds its own special touch, shaping the corset and enhancing its charm. Whether you want a classic look or something more flexible, there's a boning type that's just right for you.

At Miss Leather, we take pride in using top-notch boning for our corsets. We know quality is key, so we use the best materials to make our awesome all Products. Our corsets are not only stylish but also comfortable to wear.

When it comes to choosing the best type of boning, it really depends on what you're aiming for. If you want a solid, timeless foundation, go for flat steel boning. If flexibility is key, then spiral steel boning might be your best bet. Plastic boning offers a balance between comfort and structure.

For strong support, Rigilene boning is a great choice. And if you're looking to capture a vintage vibe, synthetic whalebone is the way to go. If you want something gentle, feather boning is great.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The best boning for your corset depends on your design, comfort preferences, and the statement you want to make. So go ahead, explore the world of corsetry, and create a corset that's uniquely yours.


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