This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
Use whalebone if you wish a soft, thin finish to the waist, but as it is expensive if good qualities are bought, many prefer to use featherbone, which is very satisfactory, its only disadvantage being its thickness. The great advantage of featherbone is the short time it takes to put it in, and its unbreakable qualities. Metal and composition stays are also used in place of whalebone.
First mark on the seams the height you wish the bones. This varies with different figures, an average being five to six inches in center back above the waist line; three-quarter inch lower on side and underarm seams; in the front, depends upon the height of the bust. Below waist, one to two inches, or so, end of bone does not show through dress. Casings of Prussian binding for the bone must first be sewed to the seams of the waist. Turn the end of the casing over one inch and overhand both sides. Crease casing through center; lay this over center of seam; begin three-quarter inch from top of casing to sew to seam; hold quite easy, sew to seam with small running stitches, down one side, up the other, leaving bottom open; cut off here, allowing some for finishing. A casing for book and eye is made in lining where waist fastens. Stitch one-eighth inch from turned edge of waist, and again, the width of the bone, allowing a thread or two, so the bone will slip in easily; stitch across top of casing.
Fig. 221. - Fitted waist lining, seam finished, boning and hooks and eyes; A, waist with several seam finishings, featherbone; B, waist with whalebone and inside belt.
Soak whalebone in cold water for an hour or two before using. Remove bones from water as you are ready to use them, cut bones length of casing, round off the corners, slip this end into casing, letting it stop one-half inch short of the top. Sew right through bone, and tack to casing. Tack again half way down seam, springing bone slightly. Trim off lower end to correct length, spring, cover with loose end of casing, not letting bone come to end of casing. Tack to seam, and overhand sides of casing. Place hook and eye bone in same way, tacking bone below top of casing to prevent its pushing through.
Featherbone is sewed to the waist by machine; no casing is used, as the bone comes already covered.
Use No. 4 "Swan-bill" hooks and eyes, alternating them in sewing them on. Sew them one inch apart from bottom of waist to bust, and one and one-half inch above this. Let the outer end of the hook come to one-eighth inch from the edge of the waist, and the eye just "peep" over the edge. This will just bring the edges of the waist together when fastened. Sew them on firmly, fastening the sewing with a buttonhole stitch. Tack the hooks at the outer end, and the eyes across the outer curve, to hold them down. Cover the ends of the hooks and eyes and raw edge of the waist with a piece of wide taffeta seam-binding; sew with running stitches. Spread hooks and eyes apart before sewing them on.
Finish the seams of the sleeves the same as the waist. Baste sleeves to place according to directions, p. 168. Try on. When correct, stitch, trim to three-eighth inch and bind with taffeta seam-binding, being very careful to keep the binding very easy, so as not to draw the armhole. Either bind or hem the lower edge of the lining, if it is not to be connected with the outside sleeve. Finish bottom of waist with hem, overcasting or pinking as it may need. Sleeves are frequently made of net; also the upper part of the waist.
This finish depends on the type of waist made over the lining. If a heavy dress or high in the neck, seam-binding may be used, or the edge finished with lace.
Sometimes the upper part of this lining is omitted and the top made of net, tulle, chiffon, moussiline, etc. In this case, the top of the lining should be finished with a facing through which rat-tail braid or ribbon can be run to draw and hold waist tight; narrow lace may be used to edge the top, under the net or chiffon.
A webbing belt, one and one-half inches wide, should be cross-stitched to the center back, or if waist fastens in back, to the center front seams, the bottom of the belt one-eighth inch above waist line to hold waist down well at point of strain (Fig. 221B).