Yeah Weddings

How To Bustle a Wedding Dress Train

As brides to be, we all want to look our absolute best as we walk down the aisle on our wedding day. While most brides let the train flow behind them at their ceremony, it’s important to learn how to bustle a wedding dress so that you can move around at the reception.

Once you’ve have taken your vows and kissed your new spouse, you’ll have to figure out how to take care of your wedding gown during the reception, especially the train. A surefire way to fix this dilemma is to create a bustle for the dress.

Let’s talk a little bit about this term and how to bustle a wedding dress.

According to the Fashion Institute of Technology, a bustle was once considered a “pad or frame worn under a skirt puffing it behind.” In today’s era, a bustle is defined as a framework that supports the drapery of the back of a dress.

During the bustling process, the dress’s train is tied so that the hem of the back is the same length as the hem in the front. As a result, it will be easier to move around in the dress without worrying about the train being in the way.

Bustles also prevent the dress from becoming dirty or damaged from dragging on the ground. No one wants the train of their wedding dress ruined at the celebration, especially if it’s outside.

Usually, people use a combination of buttons, hooks, loops, ribbons, and safety pins in the bustling process to secure the train from falling during extreme activities such as dancing.

dirty wedding dress

We all know that each wedding dress is unique. Whether your wedding dress needs a bustle or not depends on the length of your wedding dresses and the length of the wedding dress train.

If you have a wedding dress train that is long enough to be tripped on or that make it difficult to walk around or dance, then a bustle is needed.

There is no need for a bustle if you have a wedding dress with no train, a wedding dress with a mini train, or a short wedding gown. If you do have a long train, learning how to bustle a dress can be useful.

Types of Bustles & How To Do Them

There are various types of wedding bustles, but not all of them can work on your particular dress. Before determining which bustle to choose, you must be aware of the type of dress you have, the fabric, and train length.

Check out how to bustle a wedding dress with the following styles.

American Bustle

Also known as the over-bustle, the American bustle is the most common type of bustle used in wedding dresses. You can form this bustle by placing 3-5 hooks along the center and side seams, pulling the train from the center, and fastening it over the skirt’s top.

As a result, the skirt of the wedding dress gets a cascading effect. This type of bustle will look perfect on ball gown wedding dresses or dresses with cathedral-length trains.

The American bustle is also called an over bustle or a traditional bustle! Watch this video to learn how to make one on your own.

French Bustle

The French bustle is also called the under-bustle. You form this kind of bustle by folding the train underneath the back of the dress, placing ribbons or loops, or connecting and securing the train in place.

With this bustle type, the train can be folded once, twice, or thrice depending on the train’s length. If you have a trumpet, mermaid, A-line, trumpet, or a sheath wedding dress, the French bustle will work best for these styles.

There are two ways to create a French bustle. The first way is to sew ribbons underneath the wedding dress to connect the dress’s outer fabric to the lining.

Another way to create a French bustle is to sew loops into the inside back side of the dress in a diamond shape. Run a ribbon through the loops, then gather and tie the ribbon to form the bustle.

Check out this video on the French under bustle. It shows how to bustle your dress on the big day, but it does not instruct you on sewing the bustle itself. You may want to work with your seamstress during the alterations process to show you how your specific dress bustles.

Austrian Bustle

The Austrian bustle is the least common style and is on the pricey side, but it is steadily gaining popularity. The bride uses a drawstring to pull up the train to create a ruffled look.

You can make the Austrian bustle just at the middle backstitching or in various areas on the train to make an ornamented draping effect.

While this type is a complex bustle to apply to a wedding gown, it is easy to use. If you have a train made out of a simple fabric such as silk crepe, the Austrian bustle is the right style.

Because this bustle type is a bit more complicated, we don’t recommend sewing it into your wedding dress at home – leave it to the professionals! On the wedding day, you’ll simply have to pull on the drawstring and tie it into place.

Ballroom Bustle

The Ballroom bustle makes your wedding dress look like it was short when you first purchased it. Various pickup points are hemmed into the gown’s rear waistline so that the cloth folds delicately into itself, nearly causing the train to be absent.

Since you need various pickup points for this style, the ballroom bustle can be expensive. Your seamstress will have to sew in extra bustles to make this work.

This bustle style mainly works on ball gowns and dresses in intricate hems, but it can work on most dress styles. The ballroom bustle will make your dress look fuller, but you won’t see the bustle anywhere on the outside or back or your wedding dress.

Royal Bustle

The Royal bustle or the Victorian bustle is created by gathering the train in multiple points at different lengths on the back of your gown and then attaching the train in an under-bustle fashion.

The gathers aren’t as big as with the French bustle, creating a more layered look. If the dress style is a ball gown or if the dress is made out of heavy fabric and has a long train such as a cathedral train, this bustling technique is excellent since it’s very secure.

Bustling Tips

wedding dress bustle

Bustling can be a hassle, but these tips can help make the bustle dress process less stressful during the big day.

Ask Your Seamstress

Even if you have decent sewing skills, your wedding dress is an expensive investment. Rather than trying to create your bustles at home, go to a professional seamstress or ask your bridal shop if they offer bustling services.

It’s better to have your bustle professionally done so that your gown is in good hands, and so that your bustle looks great and holds up on the wedding day.

Enlist a Bridesmaid

It is always good to have a helping hand, especially during our wedding festivities. Ask a bridesmaid to participate in the final fitting.

During the final fitting, which is usually two weeks before the wedding, the alterations expert will guide the bridesmaid through the process of bustling. Also, have the bridesmaid record a video of the fitting to have a reference for the big day.

Have a Backup Plan

There will be a chance that your bustles can either tear or fall apart, especially if our dresses are heavy or have much material.  Lighter gowns are also prone to these mishaps, especially if there’s a lot of walking, dancing, standing, and sitting during the reception.

Prepare by creating a kit with safety pins, or consult with your seamstress about what to do if the bustle tears. Last minute wedding dress mishaps happen, so don’t panic!

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