Bustles are created under the back skirt of a dress just below the waist to keep the hem of the dress from dragging on the floor. Originally popular in the mid to late 1800s when full gowns were in fashion, bustles are now used on wedding dresses post ceremony to prevent the train of the gown from getting dirty and to keep it out of the way for ease of walking and dancing.
Bustling a wedding gown can sometimes be a bit tricky and – believe it or not – there is more than one way to bustle. The type all depends on the style of your dress and what looks best. During your dress fittings, a professional seamstress affiliated with your bridal salon should describe the different bustle styles, explain what she thinks would look best with your dress and ask what you’d prefer. By your final fitting, the bustle will be in place and your seamstress will explain the process of how to correctly create it. Since YOU won’t be bustling your own dress, be sure to have a close family member or someone from your bridal party with you at the appointment to see how it’s done and practice a few times with the seamstress. That way, there are no dress malfunctions on the wedding day!
Types of Bustles:
Traditional Bustle – The traditional bustle gathers the gown’s train and attaches it to the back skirt. A professional seamstress can demonstrate what a traditional bustle would look like on your dress but, in the meantime, imagine pinching a part of your train and fastening the pinched fabric to the back, creating a pretty cascade. For trains beautifully detailed down to the hemline, this type of bustle highlights the embellishment by displaying it at floor length. Traditional bustles can be secured to the outside back of the dress with discreet buttons, ties, snaps, or hook-and-eye attachments.
French or Inverted Bustle – Often called an under bustle, the French or Inverted bustle hooks up under the skirt, as opposed to over the skirt as the traditional bustle does. For this type of bustle, gathers of fabric are brought to the inside of the dress, and the extra material is tacked underneath the skirt and secured with a series of strategically spaced ties, buttons, snaps, or hooks. The attachments are inside, near the center back seam. The French bustle often looks “fluffier” than the traditional bustle and should be used for long trains with large skirts or short trains on sleek dresses. If your gown does not have a waist seam to attach to, a French bustle will do the job. It’s also ideal for gowns with train ornamentation right below the waist area; traditional bustles cover embellishments at the waist while the French bustle highlights them.
Detachable and Removable Trains. A very popular and useful trend is the completely removable train that leaves behind a fully intact skirt. These detachable trains and overskirts are usually snapped or tacked on around the waistline, or are attached by a hidden layer that’s part of the skirt design. This style takes the guesswork out of bustling and allows for two looks in one.