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Bustles for your Gown


Ah, the wedding gown.

One of the most expensive, beautiful, and criticized pieces of finery we'll every wear.  At best, its life is short and worn in full for at most 6-8 hours; in that time it will be cried on, admired, danced in, hugged, and otherwise well loved.  The train will drag on the floor for the pre-ceremony events and through to the time when the new husband and wife are introduced to the reception; and the bride will quickly realize the her precious gown is being stepped on, getting dirty, and making it hard for her to get around.

This is where the bustle comes in!  The gown will spend more of its short life being bustled up, so it's important that the bustle is not only functional but appropriate for the style and fabric of the gown itself.  The bustle is an opportunity for a bride to make another fashion statement, and can either enhance the look of the gown, completely change it, or just look like a pile of fabric getting the train off the floor. 

When considering a bustle, start by deciding your alterations budget.  Some bustles can be as inexpensive as $20.00, others may run $200 or more.  The more intricate a bustle is, the more it will cost.  Other cost factors include the length of the train, and the fabric being used.  A cathedral train will prove more difficult to bustle securly, as will delicate fabrics such as lace or silk organza that can tear easily.

Create an inspiration board with several bustles that catch your eye, and make sure to show it to your seamstress at your first gown fitting.  She will use pins to pull the train up for you as it would look with a particular bustle.  Don't be afraid to ask for changes or to try something that you don't think you will like!

There are several types of bustles.

(Photo, google images, other.  Please PM me if one is yours.)

One-Point Overbustle

The most simple and inexpensive is the overbustle, usually secured by one point at the base of the bodice.  This bustle is very full, and works well for brides on a budget with gowns created from lighter fabrics.  The one-point overbustle is notorious for breaking during the reception, so it is not recommended for long trains or gowns made of heavy satin.


Three Point Over-Bustle

A three point overbustle is more secure than the one-point version, and also helps to spread the train so it stays open.  This is a great option for gowns with heavier fabric, and also for the famous Alfred Angelo Dream in Color line.

The Ballroom Bustle

The ballroom bustle is a statement for girls who don't like the look of traditional bustles; if they are done well they make the gown look like there was no train at all.  They are a great option for ball gowns with longer trains, and tend to be very secure.  A ballroom bustle is an overbustle created by several points across the bottom of the bodice which spread the train out and create the look of a normal skirt.


One-Point Under Bustle

Under bustles work by ribbon ties placed inside the dress.  The ties are completely hidden and tend to be more secure than over bustles. 

The French Bustle

Like the under-bustle, the french bustle is created by a series of ribbons inside the gown.  The train is lifted up and bridesmaids tie together ribbons that are either numbered or color coded to create this elegant, secure look.  This is a great bustle for full gowns and gowns made with heavy or delicate fabrics.  They can be placed low or high and have anywhere from 2 - 25 points in them.


(PW bride Meadocroft)

The Double and Triple French Bustle

Also known as 'whipped cream bustles', the double or triple french bustle is achieved much like the single french by a series of ties under the skirt. 

                                     (PW Bride GoingtobeGoff)


The Austrian Bustle

The Austrian bustle is gaining in popularity.  It is a secure bustle created by the use of a loop and pull system similiar to that of a window shade.  A string is pulled and it bunches the train up. 

The Sash Gown Bustle

& other bustles for gowns with unique trains.

Creating further problems for brides is a gown with a large sash or other embellishments.  Some brides choose to remove the sash, others tie it up into a loopy bow. 

(PW Bride MountainBride)

There are so many other fun and unique ways to bustle your gown.  Ask your seamstress about combining bustle types such as a french and an overbustle, or doing a multi point overbustle with lots of points on it.  Remember that your gown will be bustled for a longer period of time than un-bustled, so make sure that it is not only a great fashion statement, but secure and comfortable to move in!

Happy Planning!


Last Updated: April 16, 2014 at 11:13 am
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