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Altering wedding gown

martyw | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Help! My bride asked if I could “bustle up” her gown. I have no idea how to do that. It’s a very full skirt with a short trane. Also, I’m taking in the beaded bodice. Anything special I should know about that. The only thing I know to do is remove the beads, take in seams, sew beads back on.


  1. Jean | | #1
    1. martyw | | #2

      Jean, Thank you soooo much. I think I can do it now! This is my first experience on this web site. I had no idea it could be so easy to get help!

      1. Jean | | #3

        You're welcome.  Google is my friend. View Image

  2. Tikiclub | | #4

    Marty, in Singer's line of sewing books, their 'Sewing for Special Occassions' has two way to bustle - 'over', like Jean's website, as well as 'under'. The under is probably more complicated, but I think it looks nicer, since everyone's going to be seeing her rear to admire your work! When I bustled the under way, I simply sewed grosgrain loops on the underside (it helps tremendously if there is a deocration which can hide the stitching, or else a seam line). Be sure to reinforce the loop. You forget how much force is exerted while dancing and swishing that much fabric around. Then sew ties to the inside bottom of the bodice.

    1. martyw | | #5

      Hi Theresa,

      Thank you for the very helpful information on bustling the wedding gown. Between you & Jean, I just may be able to do this. I really appreciate any tips I can get. I'm certainly not an expert seamstress! I think I'm going to make a little fake skirt to practice. I like the idea of the underneath bustling but it sounds more difficult to do and maybe more difficult for the bridesmaids to attach?


      1. Tikiclub | | #6

        Wellllllllllllll, when I 'bustled' my sister-in-law, I basically got underneath her skirt to do the dirty work. Since that is where the attachments are, there is no way getting around it. Once her train was tied, all I did was fluff and rearrange the folds so they looked nice. Your idea about practicing is a good one. Play with each style, see how it drapes and then do which one works for you. For me, the toughest part was determining the loop spots on the train & dress. They need to be fairly evenly spaced, yet far enough down the train that it doesn't drag once it's fastened, and far enough over on the dress to help distribute the load on the waistline. I think I used 5 like the picture showed.

  3. Geri | | #7

    Working from the back of the wedding gown, pull up the skirt to the point where the bottom of the hem just clears the floor.  Put a pin here.  This is where you will sew one of the buttons to bustle up the back.  Continue doing this until you have the back all bustled and it looks good.  I usually have about six buttons and then make a loop on the dress at the point where it needs to fasten onto the button.  Make the loop by finger knitting the thread or crocheting a loop.  If possible, go look at a dress where bridal gowns are sold and see how one looks.  Perhaps the alteration person at the shop will tell you how to do it.  I worked in the alteration department at David's Bridal in Denver.  Yes, you will need to remove the beads , take in the side seam and then resew on the beads.

    1. martyw | | #8

      Hi Geri,

      Thank you so much for the info. My big problem is, there isn't any  trim to hide these loops. How can I disguise them? The skirt is plain with an organza overskirt until you reach about  10 inches from the bottom. Maybe when my bride tries in on for the bustling, the trim on the train may hit in the right place? Does that happen? As you can tell I'm very nervous about this. I really appreciate all of the help.

      Thanks again,


      1. rjf | | #9

        Are you going to bustle the two layers together?        rjf

        1. martyw | | #10

          Hi, I can't see any other way to do it? Do you have a suggestion?  Thanks, Marty                                   

          1. rjf | | #11

            Boy, that's a hard one.  Do you have some seams where you can attach the loops?  Going through two layers of fabric is going to be tricky.  When I did it, I made a separate train which hung from the waist line and just bustled that over the floor-length skirt.  I used thread loops on the train and hooks under the train at the waistline.  It worked okay and the thread loops were not noticeable.  Good luck!   rjf

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