I'll be showing the French bustle, also called an under-bustle. It looks a bit like the robe a la polonaise and works well with dresses that have details at the top of the skirt. I like it especially when the train is full and long; when the train is not very full, the French bustle starts looking more like the bride went to the bathroom and caught her skirt in her undies...
(Bridesmaids of this bride, you can scroll down to the header "How to Bustle This Gown" for your tutorial!)
PINNING AND SEWING
(What about the petticoat net and tulle?, you may ask. All the underskirts have been trimmed to be level with the front hem of the skirt, and the bustling happens just with the train fabric, on top of the petticoat net.)
First I pin the rings to the seam allowances at the bustle points. Bearing in mind that they'll be pulled upward, I sew them facing in that direction. Then I take a scrap of red, somewhat coarsely textured ribbon and pin that to the bottom of the zipper and the seam allowances there. Wanting to make things easy for the bridal attendants and secure while the bride is moving, sitting, and dancing, I choose red because it's visible in the midst of all that white fabric (and the skirt is opaque enough to conceal the color when the dress is down). I choose a coarse texture to make it grippy when it's tied in a bow. I test the bustle one more time before hand-sewing things in place, catching only seam allowances and zipper tape in my stitches, so nothing shows from the outside of the gown.
HOW TO BUSTLE THIS GOWN!
All right, bridal attendants, this is your section! To bustle this gown, lift the train up (have the bride turn her back to a wall while you do this, of go into a private room!), find the red ribbons, and thread them through the three loops like so:
Notice that only one ribbon end goes through the Center Back ring (top one in picture)? If you put both ribbon ends through it, they'll slide right out again. Put one ribbon end through it and tie it to the other.
But actually, you'll want to pull the whole thing tighter, almost up to the base of the zipper, and tie your bow there. Then flip the train back down and fluff the skirt so it lies attractively.
RE: WEARING CONSIDERATIONS
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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