French Bustles…Making Them Even Easier Than Before!

A big thanks to Christy, at Alterations By Christy, for telling me about an even easier way to put French bustles in your gown!

Many of you have seen the post I wrote on How To Put Bustles on Your Wedding Gown. Christy saw it too and wrote to tell me about a step in the process that will save you lots of time.

Please read the original post How to Put Bustles on Your Wedding Gown and then come back here for the short cut.

This time I am using a red formal gown that came with some bustling on the back already as part of the design.

red dress with bustles, 767

Don’t let that throw you, if your dress back doesn’t have this poofing.

Your dress can have a simple plain train or a fancy one. The technique is the same.

This dress needed three bustles to keep it off the ground and the dress had three seams in the back, so it worked perfectly.

I always try to pin along the seams so I can hide the mechanics of the bustles under the dress.

If you don’t have seams that align with your needed bustles, you can still make bustles easily in your train. I like to make them toward the hem of the dress so the dress hangs well and the stitches are not easily seen when the dress isn’t bustled.

Here is one of the bustles I pinned up.

close up of pinning a bustle on red dress, 756

Then, I put a pin to mark the upper part of the bustle and a pin to mark the lower part of the bustle. (In other words, when you pin a bustle up, you are catching two parts of the dress, does that make sense?)

So, before you take out the original pin, use pins to mark the two parts of that one pinned bustle.

Are you following me so far?

The photo below should help you see the two pins that come from the one bustle:

close up of pins on back of red dress, bustles, 758

Then, I transferred the pin marks to the underside of the skirt where I need to work on the bustles.

To do this, take an extra pin, and poke it through the front of the dress so that it shows up on the back side. If you have lining, treat the two as one fabric. Just make sure you line everything up well.

transferred pins to underside of dress, 759, for bustle of red dress

Instead of creating the loops like I did in my first post How To Put Bustles On Your Wedding Gown, Christy suggests using these instead:

box of rings for red dress bustle, 760


You can find them at your local JoAnn Fabric store for about $4.00. They are in the section where the snaps are.

Ideally, you want the ring to sit above the top pin’s mark.

However, sometimes, that isn’t possible, as in this case:

ring sewn in by hand in bustle of red dress, 761

Because of a previously sewn in bustle, my ring can’t sit above the pin mark.

You may find that this situation arises if your zipper tape is in the way as well.

So, let me tell you how to adjust for this problem.

I went ahead and stitched in the ring by hand onto the seam allowance only.

Then I measured the distance between the bottom of the ring and the pin mark:

measuring where to place the ribbon for bustle on red dress, 762

In this case, it’s only 1/4″, which may not seem like enough to bother with, but I do anyway.  If yours is a greater amount, you’ll want to make the adjustment or your dress will hang too low when bustled.

So, I take that 1/4″ measurement, and go 1/4″ lower than the bottom pin mark and stitch the ribbon to the seam allowance only at the new mark:

ribbon stitched in for red dress bustle, 764

Now, just thread the ribbon ends through the ring…

tying ribbon at the bustle ring, red dress, 765

and tie in a bow like you tie your shoelaces, and you have it!

ribbon tied in a bow onto bustle ring, red dress, 766

Show your bridesmaids, mom, or friend how to tie these. It will only take a couple minutes of their time.

These bustles will stay put all through the reception and dance!

Update: I used this method on my daughter’s wedding dress and sometime during the reception, one of the plastic rings broke! Thankfully, I had put 5 safety pins along the seam allowance of her hemline, so I was able to grab one quickly and safety pin her bustle in place. It took only a minute and it saved the day!!

view of back dress with bustles in, red dress, 755

Thanks Christy, for the great idea!