How to use hooks to attach trains to wedding dresses

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Long, show-stopping trains are often a favourite of brides, but it's difficult to know what to do with the cumbersome folds of fabric after the ceremony ends.

Some dresses come equipped with a hook and eye fixture to turn the train into a bustle for when it's time to dance, but such devices are easy to add to dresses made without them. This practical measure will ensure that the bottom of your dress stays clean through the reception and keep the train from getting underfoot.

Try on your wedding gown, along with any hoops or slips you intend to wear underneath. Ask a friend to measure the length of the train, starting at the hem of the lining (this layer falls on the floor, unlike the layers of the train) and finishes at the edge of the train. Divide the measurement in half as this is the measurement that you will use.

Mark the appropriate measurement with the safety pins, beginning at your waistline. The end of the measurement will fall some distance down the back of skirt, as the hook and eye fixture will hold the train up from the upper part of the skirt rather than the end of the train. For example, if you train's length is 1.2 m (4 feet), use your safety pins to mark the measurement of 60 cm (2 feet), sewing half of the clasp at your waist and the other half at the back of your legs or thereabouts. It is important that you draw the train up from the middle of the skirt, as hooking the train up from the hemline will expose the train's lining instead of keeping all of the gown's material on show.

Sew one hook and eye pair at the marked points on the gown, making sure to stitch through all layers of the train to avoid any dragging. When the first set is sewn in, sew the additional clasps on either side in the same way. Keep all of the clasps fairly close together to distribute the weight of the train evenly. Additionally, situate the clasps as discreetly as possible. For example, if the dress has a corset top, a prudent place to sew the hook might be at the underside of the corset.

Close the hook and eye clasp and fluff out the bustle, ensuring that the train's hemline falls to the floor. Try on the dress and gently test the strength of the bustle.