Bonings for corsetry, which one should you choose?

Bonings for corsetry, which one should you choose?

Bonings for corsetry, which one should you choose?

You get home all happy with your sewing pattern, now you just need to buy the materials that you need to start sewing. Fabric, thread, scissors, grain…you have everything, except the bonings to start your corsetry project. So what now?!

If you find yourself needing to buy bonings, but don’t quite know what kind of bonings to get and what their difference is, then keep reading!

The first time I encountered this intriguing piece of material, during my journey into the world of sewing, was when I decided to make my first corset.

At that moment, I realized how complicated it was as a material to find and how limited information there was about it online.

So I want to share with you all that I have learned over the years.

What are corsetry bonings?

 If you’ve never seen a corset boning in your life, don’t worry, I’ll start with the basics.

Corsetry bonings are rods made of a flexible material that are applied to clothing. and accessories to provide them with stiffness and rigidity so that they do not easily form creases.

The role of bonings in history

In the past, bonings were widely used to stiffen stays, corsets, umbrellas, and petticoats.

Bonings were made from a wide variety of materials. Back in the day they were made of dry grass, cane, wood, metal, and the famous whalebones.

Whalebone or baleen bonings are made from the bristles that are part of the whale’s mouth. Whales use their baleen as a filter for small animals such as krill and expel water. Made mainly of keratin, they have now been completely replaced by the use of plastics or metals.

Types of corsetry bonings

There are several types of bonings available on the market, each with special characteristics and appropriate for different uses. Let’s look at them together:

Steel bonings are perhaps the most popular corset bonings on the market today. They are made of steel and can be coated in white or skin-colored resin.

They are available both in pre-cut lengths and in continuous rolls. They are also made in various widths to suit all types of applications.

The main feature of this boning is its strength. It can bend without changing shape because it always returns to its original shape.

Without a doubt, this boning provides the most support.

However, let us now see what steel bonings are indicated for:

  • Corsets
  • Crinoline
  • Outfits
  • Lingerie
  • Bustles

As mentioned earlier we can find it either pre-cut in different sizes (and finished with resin suitable for rounding the edge), or in rolls from which we can cut the size we desire.

Now here’s the tricky part. How do you cut a steel boning?

It took me a while to find the right tool, but in the end, with sheet metal shears they cut like a charm.

STE1-30_28 Estremità delle Stecche in acciaio 7mm


  • they are strong and durable
  • they offer excellent support
  • they do not bend
  • they’re available in various sizes
  • they also support heavy fabrics


  • they are difficult to cut
  • they are heavy if in bulk quantities
  • if they’re not properly trimmed at the edges they can wear out the fabric quickly

Spiral steel bonings are made of steel just like the bonings mentioned above, however, they have a completely different appearance which gives them a fantastic characteristic: lateral bending.
Unlike other corset bonings, they are in fact composed of a steel filament wrapped around itself, creating a continuous spiral.
Now you may ask, “What would I do with a boning that also bends sideways?”.
The answer is simple. As a tailor or seamstress, you will most likely find yourself needing support along a curved seam, or you will simply need a boning that is a little more flexible than a rigid boning.
You will be able to use them for:

  • Corsets
  • Outfits
  • Lingerie

This type of boning can also be found pre-cut to size or in continuous rolls.
You can find them either “bare” or covered in resin or plastic, typically skin-colored.
You can use wire cutters to cut the bonings, and the edges are finished with end caps made for this purpose.


  • they can bend sideways
  • they are available in pre-cut sizes
  • they are flexible but do not bend permanently


  • they are difficult to cut and trim
  • they have an uneven surface
  • if not fastened well, the end caps can come off inside the garment
  • they’re heavy if in bulk quantities

Synthetic whalebone bonings, originally from Germany, are made of plastic materials which, due to their characteristics, reproduce the features of the original vintage whalebone bonings.
In fact, these corset bonings are very flexible. They can bend without permanently folding, and they follow the shape of the body due to the body heat. These characteristics make them extremely comfortable even for everyday use.
The stiffness of these bonings varies depending on the thickness used, but thanks to variations in thickness and width they are suitable for a variety of uses, including:

  • Lingerie
  • Corsets
  • Outfits
  • Sleeves

Since they are made of plastic, you have the possibility of easily cutting them and rounding off the ends with a file. You can also drill holes in them to pass a wire through. This process can be very useful when making period costume corsets where flossing is to be used, namely those embroideries made in period corsets to keep the boning in place while decorating them at the same time.


  • they are light
  • they are comfortable
  • they can be drilled and shaped


  • they provide reduced support compared to metal

4. Rigilene boning

This type of boning is often found in traditional haberdasheries and is usually the first choice when approaching the world of sewing.
You can find them sold in rolls or by the meter, and because of their material, you can cut them with a simple scissor.
Rigilene is nylon tape stiffened with plastic filaments.

Since it is not entirely composed of a rigid material, it is possible to sew it directly onto the fabric with a sewing machine.
Due to its composition, Rigliene bonings are easy to bend and for this reason, provide very little support. In addition, the filaments tend to come out of the boning after using it for a while.
They can be used in all projects that require having support to the fabric that needs to be applied with a seam:

  • Parts of the corsets
  • Outfits
  • Hats
  • Carnival costume
  • Hems
  • Sleeves
Stecche in rigilene


  • they are light
  • that can be sewn on
  • they’re easy to cut


  • they provide little support

  • they bend easily

  • they tend to get damaged over time

5. Plastic bonings

These are the bonings commonly used in store-bought clothing.
They offer more support than Rigilene bonings, but they retain some of their flaws such as a tendency to bend.
They are composed of lightweight material and can be easily pierced. This type of bonings can be used for:

  • Outfits
  • Lingerie

I personally do not recommend using them when the splint needs to extend beyond the waist, precisely because of their tendency to bend.

Stecche in plastica


  • they are lightweight
  • they are easy to cut
  • they provide moderate support


  • they bend easily

Corset bonings on Secret Times

I hope I have cleared up your doubts. Now you can choose the best bonings for your next sewing project. Once you have made your choice, you will find your favorite boning available in our online store.

7mm steel bonings

0,42 0,52 

7mm End Caps

0,08 0,11 

7mm Continuous Steel Boning

0,82 0,90 

7mm Continuous Spiral Boning

1,38 1,50 

6mm Synthetic Whale Boning

1,50 1,70 

12mm Continuous Steel Boning

0,95 1,05 

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