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Friday, April 20, 2012


We thought a blog about bustles would be appropriate to follow our train lengths blog. Regardless of how long your train is, your train will add elegance as you walk down the aisle. But sometime during your wedding festivities, those extra yards of lace and satin will probably be in the way. Adding a Bustle to your gown will make walking and dancing easier, and keep your gowns hemline cleaner also.

History of Bustles

Bustles date back to the 1800s when stylish women wore a frame underneath their dress to support the back of their very full skirts. This Victorian fashion also helped women's waists look smaller (a fashion goal that never goes out of style).

Bustle is in use today primarily to lift the long, elegant trains of wedding gowns off the floor. Instead of a framework worn under the wedding gown, the long train is lifted with buttons or ties to create a lovely bouffant style that is also very practical.

Although almost all brides utilize Bustles for their wedding gowns, you may be surprised to discover that the dresses do not come with bustles in place. They are added during alterations. This makes sense since all brides are not the same height and your bustle should lift the back of your gown to your hem length. So your bustle must be custom made.

Bustle Options

You have several choices in bustles: The Over Bustle and the Under Bustle (also known as the French or Victorian bustle) are the most common. But you can also choose the Austrian bustle which is less common but beautiful (see below.)You can choose the style you prefer and the one that will flatter your gown the best.

Bustles for Delicate Fabrics

Use care in selecting your bustle style if your gown fabric is delicate. The weight of the gown on the bustles may tear transparent, lightweight, fabrics like organza. So if your fabric is delicate, choose a bustle style that reduces the weight on each individual bustle. Read below for several bustle options.

The Over Bustle

The Over bustle consists of several hooks and eyes lifting your train off the floor. The "eyes" are placed along the waistline. The "hooks" are sewn in about 14" to 20" down the back skirt. Lace appliques, rosettes or bows may be needed to cover the hooks and eyes. Covered buttons also work well, and may look nicer, especially if you have buttons down the back of your gown. The longer your train is, the more hooks or buttons you will need.

The Under Bustle

Another option is the Under Bustle also known as the French or Victorian bustle. This method works especially well for gowns without a waistline and gowns that are especially decorative in the back area, as it doesn't cover up any lace or details in the gown right below the waist. The gown is lifted from the bottom area. The Under Bustle is also more secure than the Over Bustle.

For the Under Bustle, ribbons are sewn under the gown securing the outer fabric to the lining. Use different colors of ribbon to make the task of tying easier. Another way to make a French Bustle is sew loops into the inside back side of the gown in a diamond shape. A ribbon is run through the loops, gathered and tied to give the gown a bouffant look.

Austrian Bustle

While it is not as common, you can also create a very interesting bustle by creating a casing down the back seams and running a ribbon through it. The ribbon is pulled to create a look similar to balloon shades.

As you can see, with a variety of bustles to choose from you can add a great deal of style to your wedding gown while making it much easier to get around.

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