Hustle your bustle.

Since my first fitting is looming closer and closer, I’ve started thinking about bustles. My dress doesn’t have a long train – I’m pretty sure it’s just chapel-length – but regardless, it would be pretty impractical to leave it as-is the entire reception if I plan on dancing the night away. If your dress has a train, this alteration is pretty much a given.

There are almost as many different types of bustles as there are styles of dresses! When choosing your bustle, consider your train length, dress materials, budget, and – of course – aesthetics. I mean, what’s the point if it doesn’t look pretty, right?

First, you’ve got your over bustles, also known as American bustles. These are super simple, and they are typically the least expensive to create. Your seamstress adds a loop and a hook or button, you pull your train straight up and hook it onto the dress, and it’s that easy. One point means that there is one hook, two points means that there are two hooks, and so on. The more hooks, the more secure your bustle is – definitely something to consider if your dress is a heavy fabric and/or you have a long train.


(One point over bustle via Bee blogger Mrs. Ladyfingers)


(Two point over bustle via Secret Diary of a Dressmaker – the two anchor points are side by side, giving the appearance of a single point.)


(Three point over bustle via hive member iarebridezilla)


(Over bustle on a trumpet-style dress via hive member blondiegirl)

A twist on the over bustle is the ballroom bustle, which is perfect for ball gowns (duh) or dresses with really long trains. Several anchor points are placed along the bodice so that once the dress is bustled, you get a perfectly seamless look, like there was never a train at all. All the anchor points make this bustle very secure.


(Ballroom bustle via hive member littlemrschatterbox)

Another option is an under bustle, also known as a French bustle. In this style, the train is pulled under the dress and tied with ribbon. Since the bustle is tied, rather than hooked or buttoned, it tends to be more secure than an over bustle, so it’s a better choice for dresses with long trains or heavy fabrics. This style of bustle can have a lot of anchor points (I’m talking ten or more on a complicated bustle), so a good seamstress will color-code the bustle ribbons to make your bridesmaids’ lives easier.

mhairi m bustle

(Under bustle via Secret Diary of a Dressmaker)


(Under bustle via Bee blogger Mrs. Ladyfingers – same dress, but the different bustle creates a whole new look!)


(Under bustle via hive member LavenderBride24)

A variation on the standard under bustle is adding two or three layers, to create a double or triple under bustle. For good reason, these are also known as “whipped cream bustles” – the layers really are reminiscent of a dessert!

Cathedral train 1 (6)(Triple under bustle via Elegant Designs by CandiceLouise)

An unconventional option that is seriously gaining popularity is the Austrian bustle. This could not be any easier to bustle – all you do is pull a ribbon or cord enclosed in a casing, and your train is cinched up and bustled perfectly. If you can pull up a window shade, you can do this bustle. It’s really secure, and in my opinion, looks absolutely gorgeous.

austrian bustle

(Austrian bustle via Secret Diary of a Dressmaker)

I can’t write a post about bustles without including the Nacho/train flip bustle! In this style, the entire train is flipped underneath the dress, creating a sort of bubble hem effect. In order to pull this off, your seamstress needs to create a lot of anchor points, so it can get expensive, but it’s incredibly secure and doesn’t add bulk to your backside the way more traditional bustles do.


(The Nacho bustle, via Bee blogger Mrs. Nachos)

So those are your basic bustle types, but there are endless variations of these! For more inspiration, I highly recommend checking out Leanna Studios. She’s got photos of every bustle configuration under the sun, as well as detailed explanations as to why they suit a particular gown. If you have no idea where to start researching bustles, this is a great resource.

Do you plan on bustling your dress? If so, how? Was your bustle secure enough to last the entire reception?


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