Boning, boning, boning. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a real bodice unless you’ve got some boning in there, especially if you have a sizable bust like I do.
I used two types of boning: 1/4 inch white featherlite in casing and 1/2 inch black featherlite without casing. These weren’t purchased specifically for this project, they just happened to be lying around in one of my storage drawers. I need the most support in front and on the sides, so I used a double layer of the 1/2 inch in those places. The 1/4 inch I used along the front side seams and back side seams.
I sized each boning piece by laying it alongside the seam that will contain it, and then I cut it approx 3/4 inches shorter than the seam length. I then trimmed/rounded the ends and put boning caps on.
Then I slipped the boning inside the seam allowance and sewed it shut. Normally you’re supposed to sew seam allowances open and flat for a smoother finish, but with thick multilayered bodices these boning pieces won’t really bulge out so it’s OK.
After affixing the boning, I then sewed the lining to the outer layer (right sides together), turned it right sides out, pinned the shoulders, and put it on to see the fit:
Not bad, though the shoulders seemed to be sloping upwards from inside seam to outside seam, so I adjusted it when I sewed it to account for my shoulders which slope slightly downwards instead of upwards.
Here’s the finished bodice (still open along the bottom so I can sew it to the skirt) pinned to the skirt. (The skirt was pretty easy: just sew the two layers with right sides together along the two sides and the bottom, then turn right sides out.)
Here are a few side-by-side comparison pics with me wearing a peasant blouse (that I did not make) and a red circle skirt (that I did make):
All that’s left now is to sew the underskirt (gotta decide on elastic or drawstring) and then sew the bodice to the overskirt, and then add the grommets. No sweat!