You may have read a recent article I wrote on boning in bustle bodices. How you HAVE to have boning to keep the shape of bodice in place. Yes. You do.
Well, Frank asked the question about just how one applies boning to the front waist darts. “Do you encase the bone in the dart, or do you open up the dart and bone it like a regular seam?”
Yes. And they are both period correct…. Woo hoo!
Technically, you’ll find 3 ways bones were applied to darts in the 19th Century. Each has their basic purpose (holding the bodice in shape) but vary in their applications, which in turn vary the support. But it’s not that noticeable.
1 . Press the dart towards the front and apply bone casing on top.
I use this method most often as it works well. It also doesn’t take much thought.
You’ll first want to press the waist darts toward the center front. If you have a long dart that goes several inches below the waist, the center of the dart take-up may need to be clipped for it to sit flat.
Put the bone in the casing and fold under the top & bottom raw ends. Lay the casing over the SEAM of the dart – center it as best you can. Whipstitch the edges down.
2 . Slice open the dart take-up and apply the casing the same way as in #1.
This generally works if you have a wide enough dart to press open. If your dart is only ¼” wide then it’s best to press to the side and lay the bone on top.
Slice the dart fold, stopping about ½” away from the point. Lay the top of the bone (in its casing) at the top of the slice. Whipstitch the long edges down. It also helps to whip the cut dart edges to the bodice underlining to keep everything in place.
The last method could seem like a lazy cheater trick. But you know, it’s actually a period technique!
3 . Slide the bone INTO the dart take-up.
Slide the bone between the bodice layers of the dart up as far as you can. Don’t push up too hard or the bone may poke through the layers.
Stitch by hand or machine next to the bone (be careful!) to create a casing. Press dart toward the front.
Tips to Remember
- Dart bones should come within ½” to 1″ of the sewn dart points. Yes they go that high. (Your dart points should stop ½” to 1″ from the bust apex anyway, so this dart placement works okey-dokey.)
- You *can* machine sew the casing sides to the dart take-up edges if you want. Period garments are generally hand whipped however. (It’s ok to cheat here & use the machine as far as you can go for faster finishing. I do.)
- Add “spring” to your casing by pushing more length over the bone before tacking to the bodice. You’ll see this quite often in late Victorian antique garments and is a way to prevent the bone from poking through with the wearing of the bodice.
Was one of these techniques new to you? Which one do you like best or use most often?