Yeah, that's how one of my gowns that's actually a professionally made one is made. I never would have thought of it, but it saves a lot of fabric and keeps you from having too much bulk in the hips. I'm actually on the verge of redoing my dress from the blog-along like that. I might have to resurrect that thread to go along with the changes. As far as horsehair vs. crinoline vs. soft boning- from what I can tell, they all seem to be various names for the same thing, though "crinoline trim" might be a more appropriate term since crinoline can also refer to a fabric/skirt shaping contraption. Good luck!