How to Make a Bustle for a Wedding Gown

Updated July 20, 2017

The most difficult thing about a bustle is deciding which type you want for your wedding dress: you can choose either the over bustle or the under bustle. Then you may create the bustle yourself or simply hire a seamstress.

The over bustle (or ballroom bustle) is a common bustle where the train on the wedding dress is pulled up and hooked or buttoned to the outer part of the back of the dress. It allows the bride to keep her train from dragging on the floor once the ceremony has ended and the reception has begun. This form of bustle would work well on a dress with no embellishments on the top part of the train because it will cover or hide anything in this area. The creation of this type of bustle should be done by someone will a good knowledge of sewing.

The under bustle (or French bustle) is the preferred choice for a bustle. If the bride is going to be very active after the wedding, this bustle is best. Although the French bustle has more volume, it's a very beautiful display for a dress that has beading or embellishments at the base of the waistline. The under bustle is secured by tied ribbon from the area between the lining and dress skirt.

Determine how much of the train must be lifted to make it even with the hem of the skirt. This will inform you as to where your loops will be on the actual train. Carefully place pins where your heavyweight thread loops need to be sewn. If the train is curved, your loops will make a gradual "V" or "U" shape.

Sew six coordinating buttons on the waist seam of the back of the dress at an equal distance apart.

Use a coordinating colour of heavyweight thread or embroidery floss to create six loops on the dress train at your predetermined pin markers. Try to hide the loops in either seams or embellishments. Make the strongest loop by working from the inside of the train and pushing the threaded sharp needle through the fabric; pull it through until you have about 3 inches left on the inside.

Reinsert the needle carefully back through the fabric and knot the two ends together to create a loop. On the outside it is barely noticeable and on the inside there is a strong knot that cannot pull through nor break.

Continue until you have all the loops. Carefully bring each loop up and hook it on the appropriate button. Fold and move the fabric to make sure it is laying nicely.

As in the over bustle, you must first determine how much of the train must be lifted to make it even with the skirt. Mark with pins carefully; again the markers will be in a "V" or "U" if the train is curved.

Working from the underside of the train, find where the pins are and carefully sew 6 to 8 inch pieces of 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon. Again you will need at least 5 to 6 ties to make a nice bustle.

Sew 6 pieces of 1/2 inch wide by 6 inch long grosgrain at the waist seam, in between the lining and train at the waist. Secure these very well with a strong thread.

Bring each ribbon piece together and tie with a knot right at the waistline. This will create a beautiful full bustle. Move and fold the fabric to ensure that it is laying nicely.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Tape measure
  • Ribbon or buttons
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About the Author

Gabrielle Krake's writing career began in 1996. She is published in the "Chicago Sun Times," "IdahoStatesman," online magazines Got to Be Green, Chic Galleria, Blissfully Domestic and Divine Caroline. She attended four and a half years at Northern Arizona University, the University Of Alaska, Western Washington University and Boise State with an emphasis in sculpture and education.