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Heathace | Posted in General Discussion on

The current wedding dress that I am working on needs to be bustled.  I have never bustled a dress before.  I opted out of a train for my dress.  I have understand bustling from the outside when there is an extremley long train.  I do not understand how to bustle with a shorter train.  Any suggestions?  I have attached a picture of the dress that the bride want’s me copy.  It might be small so I have also attached the web page for the dress. 


Also, if the bride has white silk fabric similar to the orignal dress do you think it would be better to have white silk organza underneath or perhaps an ecru or nude?




  1. Tangent | | #1

    Are you going to copy the dress as shown on the runway?  If so, it looks to me like there isn't any bustle, it is the fuller cut of the skirt at the back and the movement of the wearer that keeps the train spread out, assisted by the weight of the hem.

    I'd go with white under the white, something fairly opaque, or it will make the seam allowances show.

    Good luck, I hope it turns out well, and that you will post pictures!

  2. jatman | | #2

    Hi Heathace,

    I have a book called Bridal Couture by Susan Khalje.  In it she shows some bustling examples and has some diagrams, etc.  You might find it helpful to you.  I have to admit that I have never used it for bustling instructions but I just took a look at it and it might be a really good place to start. 

    That being said - like the last poster, I didn't think the example dress bustled, either.  There doesn't seem to be enough loose fabric at the waist to bustle it up - it seems to have more of a mermaid type fit.  What a beautiful dress.  I'd love to see your interpretation of it when you're done.  Good luck!




  3. sosewnem | | #3

    Hi Heathace,

    A friend at church had to bustle a wedding dress last year. A couple of us did an internet search and came up with the following:


    I believe this may help you out, however, it is possible the instructions I'd seen last year on-line are now on her DVD.

    The photos at the link above may help you - and an Internet search for "Instructions on How to bustle a wedding gown" may help you further.

    Singer also has a book that could be of help - http://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Special-Occasions-Evening-Reference/dp/0865732876

    (Pg. 95 - 99 is on bustling trains) Your library may have it.  However, the first link sounds like the DVD could be valuable.

    Best to you on this project!

    1. Heathace | | #8

      Thank You for all of your responses.  Sorry it took so long to respond my lovely computer decided to be prissy and stopped working on us.  It is still not working as of right now but hopefully soon.  I have looked a the books and website and I think that for this style of dress it would be best to do the Pick -Up Bustle -Ballroom style that was found on this website


      I think this will emphasize  the ruffles at the bottom of the dress.


    2. Heathace | | #13

      Just wanted to give everyone a update.  The bride just got back from her honeymoon and I have some pics from the wedding.  Now it took me a long time to finish this dress. I moved at the end of April, went on maternity leave early due to stressing out about my high risk precnancy, and gave birth to my beatuiful son in the beginning of June.  We still had to do a final fitting the week before the wedding at the end of July.

      I am proud of my work but I am not proud about my time managment.  I could have been much more aggressive in the begining of the project.

      Hopefully the pics are not to small. I tossed in a pic of my son just cause he is so adorable.


      1. Heathace | | #14

        ok so I just checked the pics are way to small,  I have to work on fixing them.

        1. Heathace | | #15

          Should be better pics.

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #16

            The dress was a lovely success! You should be very proud of your work! The baby is beautiful too! Bravo on both! Cathy

          2. Tatsy | | #17

            The dress is gorgeous! To finish anything after you've just given birth is an accomplishment to be proud of. Your son looks very sweet. Tatsy

          3. Ceeayche | | #18

            Both the dress and your beautiful son are works of art!

  4. sewchris703 | | #4

    The bustle doesn't have to be at the waist. For that gown, I'd do a 1 point bustle starting where the train flairs out below the zipper. Just pick up the train and hold it up against the gown so it just brushes the floor, making sure that the hem curves nicely from side seam to center back seam. For an outside (American, modern) bustle, I use a fabric covered button matching the fabric of the gown and a thread loop. I reenforce the loop and button with small squares of fabric on the wrong side. For an under (European, Belgium, old-fashion, etc.) bustle, I do ribbon (or twill tape, cut 12") ties under the gown, stitching through all the layers of the train, matching the thread to the fashion fabric. The stitching lines really don't show when the gown is being worn.


  5. Tatsy | | #5


    Did you get a usable reply on this question? Sew Stylish had a very detailed article in one of their issues. If you still need it, I can ferret it out for you.


  6. mainestitcher | | #6

    Bustles are actually fun.

    Each one is individual, and depends on the height (And personality) of the wearer and the fullness and length of the train.

    The trend in OTR is underbustles, but you can do whatever looks well in the opinion of your client. Many small-ish bustles are under- or overbustled just behind or above the bride's knees. By experimenting with pins at one of her last fittings, you can see what will look best on her.

    In the store where I have worked, we decide on the bustle first, and then mark the hem, blending the hem into the back along the sides.

    1. sewchris703 | | #7

      That's what I do. My boss does it the other way around--marks the hem and then the bustle.CHris

  7. Ocrafty1 | | #9


    I did a gown with a similar back last summer.  Instead of a bustle, I made a hidden loop of ribbon in the center back of the 'train.' It stayed on the inside during the wedding and the bride just pulled it out, and slipped it over her wrist for the reception.  It kept the gown off of the floor, and wasn't so heavy that it was any trouble for her.  She loved the effect....like the gowns from the 1800's. 

    Here are a few pix of her in the gown. Hope this helps.

    It rained on her wedding day...so the outside wedding moved into the barn...LOL.  They had a wonderful time!



    1. User avater
      rodezzy2 | | #10

      That was truly a beautiful color combination for a wedding dress.  Chocolate is showing up everywhere.  Love it!

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #11

      This is the dress with the pleating you were working on this summer! It fits the bride beautifully! Superb job, I can see how happy she is with her dress. Well done. Now post it on the Threads Readers Closet, if you have not already! It deserves to be there. Cathy

    3. moira | | #12

      How nice to see this dress in action! I also followed your pleating dilemma and saw the photos of the finished dress, but this was an extra treat!I always love looking around on people's photos to see what's in the background!
      Sometimes interesting things are going on which maybe weren't noticed by the photographer and those bits can be as entertaining as the things we're meant to be looking at! I can build little stories around them in my imagination!However I was also grateful for this question as I'm trying to think of a way to bustle a dress whose train is actually a godet. The rest of the skirt is quite straight so bustling the train in such a way that it affects any other part spoils the skirt shape and hang, and it's also difficult to lift the train as it gives a very uneven hem due to the circular shape. But the website you or perhaps someone else gave, has lots of ideas and I'm sure there's something there that will trigger thoughts of a way to do this.Edited 1/17/2009 8:39 pm ET by moira

      Edited 1/17/2009 8:42 pm ET by moira

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