Unconvential Corset boning options and recommendations
There are a lot of options for boning a corset. Which one you should use depends on a few things. First of all what type of corset are you making? If you are trying to make a more authentic historical corset vs a modern corset it will dictate what you use, as of course will your budget. If you are going to spend hundreds of dollars to buy Duchesse Satin Silk you probably will also be willing to spend more on your boning. On the other hand, if you are making a corset by cutting up a few old pairs of jeans (Which totally can work) then there is nothing wrong with using the less expensive option.
Historically a number of things have been used as boning that many modern corset makers will not have considered.
This was often used in historical garments. Hemp cording would be sandwiched between two layers of fabric in a sort of quilt. This has a few positive points to go with it. First of all, there is nothing to poke you or break which means you can tight lace this type of corset. In addition, various forms of cording are fairly cheap to buy and may well be machine washable (make sure they don’t have a metal core).
To make a corded corset put down one line of stitches then use a zipper foot to create channels around the cording. Note that this will cause the fabric to get smaller so make the pieces larger than you need and cut them down later.
This was done frequently in 16th-century stays. Instead of using some form of boning take a plain linen layer and paint on a mix of xantham gum and water. After several applications and drying you will have a very stiff buckram that can work well for a 16th century look. Note this should not be machine washed.
Reeds were a popular option for boning at various places. I would imagine that in many cases they were used because they were a thing that was already around. The type of reeds that you can get at Michael’s or another craft shop for baskets will work quite well.