Sew Over It Rosie dress, sewn by me using Liberty cotton tana lawn, front view.
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Yellow Rosie and how to add boning to a bodice

My recent trip to London resulted in a massive fabric haul. As I am a big fan of Sew Over It patterns I had to visit their Clapham shop and besides fabric, I also bought this pattern: Rosie Dress.


I think it is a wonderful summer dress and I also love the skirt version of it. At Shaukat at Old Brompton road I picked up a perfect fabrics for it: Yellow and white floral Liberty tana lawn and white Italian lawn for the collar and the lining.


At home I realised that the pattern called for some boning. I have never used boning before and was a bit taken back but it was a perfect opportunity to learn something new. I acquired the boning and started working.

At first I did a toile for the bodice since for this dress the fit must be perfect. This pattern comes in sizes UK 8 to 20. The size 8 was good for me after adjusting the center back seam a bit. (To be honest, it wasn’t me but my dear husband who did the adjusting by pinning the bodice on me and marking the new center back seam. He is getting quite good at it, too!) The pattern called for 3,2 metres of fabric but I was able to fit all the pattern pieces on a bit less than 2 metres of the main fabric when I used the white lawn for the lining and for the collar. The skirt was a tight fit, though (I had to cut a bit from the seam allowance at the corner), so with bigger sizes this probably doesn’t work.

For once, I followed instructions very carefully. I was originally a bit nervous about the boning part but it was actually very easy to do and the instructions were very good. I will attach I few images on how to do it in the end of this post if you are like me and hesitate buying this pattern because of the boned bodice.


I had to shorten the shoulder straps twice before they finally stayed on my shoulders without falling off. The only thing I really changed was that I turned the hem twice and topstitched it when the instructions told to slip stitch the hem by hand. I thought that for this cotton lawn the topstitching gave a neater finish.

I really love the outcome. In the images I wear it with a tulle petticoat but the dress looks lovely also without. The bodice fits well without being overly tight.


I love the white collar that gives the dress a bit 60s feel I also feel so ladylike in a skirt that has this much of volume. The waistline is a bit raised for me. I think it is mean to sit on the waist but I have a long back. I originally added a bit extra to the bodice to lower the waistline but chopped it of after I realised that the higher waistline looks better.

The only thing that bothers me is that the center back of the collar is a bit asymmetric, but I think I’m too lazy to fix it.


So, about the boning:

How to sew on boning

First, a word of warning. I am not a professional seamstress and I have done this just once as I mentioned above. I was just so impressed by how simple thing this was and want to share it with others, who like me, may be hesitant in taking up a pattern that calls for boning. Also, there are different types of boning and different ways of sewing them on. Very often it seems (according my quick research) that the boning either comes or is sewn in to a narrow casing. For this lightweight summer dress with pretty much straight seams, however, it is enough to fasten the boning only from the top and the bottom.

Here are the things you need, besides a sewing machine and some scissors. A bodice seam to be boned (I use the pink cotton just for this tutorial), a piece of plastic boning and medium weight scrap cotton.


Cut a tiny piece of scrap cotton to cover the end of the boning (make it just a little bit wider than your boning) you are fastening and fold it like in the image below.


Place the covered end of the boning in the middle of the seam about 2 cm away for the edge and stitch over it and back with a sewing machine. The machine sews easily through the boning, but it will probably make your needle blunt, so if you have an old needle that you are planning to throw away, use that. The scrap fabric piece is used to cushion the end of the boning so that it doesn’t poke you through the dress lining.


You should end up with something like this. The same seam fastens both the scrap cotton and the boning.


From the right side it looks like this:


The boning is sewn on the wrong side of the lining so it is not visible in the finished garment. However it gives the bodice structure. Now this whole process is repeated for the other end of this boning and for the other seams. See, how simple it is!

So, this is all for today. Thank you for visiting my blog and if you like these posts, please subscribe! Happy sewing!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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