shopping, underpinnings

Ye proverbial corset supply question

Now that Farthingales LA has turned into Vogue Fabrics, who will only sell me German plastic boning by the coil ($150 a pop), I’m trying to find an alternate source.

Has anyone ordered from Greenberg & Hammer?  I guess you have to be old school, download their catalog, and order by phone?  Seems like a huge hassle.

Farthingales Canada is an option, altho not preferred because of crazy shipping rates to the US.

I refuse to shop from Grannd Garb, they screwed up one order multiple times and it took months to get everything right. doesn’t have German plastic boning in stock (says to special order, but with no info about how one would do that.  (Customer service = hard, apparently!)

Any other options?  I need:  standard white spring steel boning, extra hard spring steel boning, and German plastic boning.

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  • Reply Angie January 6, 2010 at 8:11 am

    For the plastic, try

    Make sure you spell it with two ee’s, not ea.


  • Reply Kate in England January 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I get all my boning from Vena Cava Design, although postage may be prohibitive for you.

  • Reply Lisa in Galena January 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve ordered from Greenberg and Hammer – it is best to just call them to get the pricing, as the pricing in the online downloadable catalog isn’t always accurate. Overall they were very prompt and easy to work with. I would, however, strongly suggest calling in the morning – they misplaced an order once when I phoned over their lunchbreak (but they quickly sent the order once I called back).

  • Reply lmcbeth January 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve ordered from Greenberg and Hammer over the phone…it did take a while to give the item #s of what I wanted, plus, the process didn’t seem very streamlined. Also, I was only given an estimate on what shipping would cost, only after I asked. However, they did ship quickly and were friendly.

    Looks like they’ll be offering online ordering at some point, which will be nice.

  • Reply Linda January 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I’ve had luck with heavy duty plastic cable ties. They come in a 3/8″ width and they’re cheap. They need to be cut to the proper length and you’d have to hold the cut edges over a flame to smooth the edge so it won’t cut through your fabric. You can find them at a building supply stores such as Home Depot.

    There is some information on using plastic cable ties for boning here:

    I’ve no idea how they compare to the German plastic boning you’ve been using, though.

  • Reply Katherine January 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Yikes! That sucks about Farthingales LA. Does anyone know the story there?
    Maybe we should get people together and go in on a roll – I’d be interested.

  • Reply kendra January 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Katherine: I don’t know the story, probably not making enough $$? And I’m unclear whether they still have a brick & mortar shop — their website makes it sound like they do. A roll is BIG — I want to say like 150 meters? I’d have to check! Plus there are different widths…

  • Reply Katherine January 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Ok, that’s a big roll!

  • Reply kendra January 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Ok, I checked and it’s actually 100 meters… slightly less!

  • Reply T. Eacker January 7, 2010 at 2:52 am

    How about Richard the Thread?

  • Reply Alyxx January 7, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Farthingales LA does have a store front but it either has very limited hours now or is by appointment only. It was open full time for a while but didn’t make enough $ to stay open.

    I would call and ask them about special ordering. I’ve had nothing but good service from them, even if shipping is a bit high, and if they can do it I’m sure they will do it quickly.

  • Reply Kira from Oz January 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I’m with Linda on the cable ties – I used some long 10mm ones, and the advantage is you don’t have to finish one of the ends ! You can get lots of different widths and lengths and they don’t tend to curl up like I’ve found with the rolls of plastic boning.

    And it’s CHEAP! I boned a whole elizabethan for under $10. The only tricky thing is finishing the cut end, but you can file them down or melt it with a lighter and it’s just as good as a boning cap.

  • Reply Kim January 8, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I live in LA and have called Farthingales (and left a message) to see if they will sell the plastic boning by the yard if you visit their store. I would be more than happy to purchase and send you what you need if they still sell it by the yard.
    I’ll let you know when I hear from them.

  • Reply Suzette January 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Lost Coast Historical Patterns carries boning and if you are a member of GABCG, the owner gives a discount. And she’s right here in California, so the shipping many not be as much as from vendors in other states or outside the U.S.. Have you noticed the hike in postal rates this month for packages over 13 oz.?

  • Reply kendra January 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks everybody! One thing about the plastic, it needs to be the German/Wissner boning, not standard plastic boning. I will check out all these options and let you know what I use!

  • Reply leah bessette January 18, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I highly recommend Greenburg and Hammer. I’m not sure what the deal is with their website, it used to have the catalog online, but it’s been a while since that was the case. The reasons I recommend them are: 1)Fantastic customer service – you will almost always talk to the same few people when you place your order, and they remember you. I had one of their clerks question me about a boning size I gave her, because she remembered that I almost always order a different one. Saved my butt, since I was on a tight deadline. And if you ever have a problem, they don’t fuss about who made the mistake, they just figure out how to get it straightened out as fast as possible. 2)Pricing – I spent years trying to break down who had what for cheaper before I realized that even when G&H costs more for a few items, the pricing on the rest evens it out, and I’m not paying 15 different shipping charges. They also ship FAST: 3 day UPS on most orders is standard, and a lot of times your order goes out the day you place it, even on HUGE orders that most places would take a week just to gather together. 3) They carry EVERTHING – these guys supply the NY fashion and theatre districts. If you need something that isn’t listed in the catalog, call them anyways. Chances are, they have it, it’s in stock, and the sales person will be glad to tell you everything you ever wanted or needed to know about it. If by some bizzare chance they don’t carry an item or they are out of stock, they will help you find it, even if they have to send you to a competitor.

    In short, they seem a little old school and less accessible cause of the website, but it’s more than worth it to do business with them. Some of that “old school” attitude isn’t just low tech. It’s also high service levels, long term knowledgeable staff, and a huge inventory. Fantastic!

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