"It makes my butt look big"


added July 2010

Hi Anna,

There are several ways to bustle any gown. Since the hips area is slim, the bustle will sit low, often near the knee area. I can't say where yours will end up being. Other than that you have several options. These can depend on many factors that the seamstress has to deal with in designing the bustle for each gown. Once you decide who will be doing your alterations you need to discuss your options with her to create a bustle that works for the fabric of your gown's train and the look you are wanting for your backside. She may have an idea you like better than any of mine.  

Hi Jenny, 
Your seamstress actually designed the least puffy bustle possible for your gown. The fabric of your gown has a degree of crispness and the train is very full. All that fabric set on your butt in any fashion is going to create some added dimension to your backside. The overbustle she designed is the least likely to show puffiness, but what she failed to do is instruct you properly on how to adjust the fabric after the points are set.
It's pretty simple. All you do is tuck any fabric you think looks puffy under and towards the center. Smooth the pleats you create till you have a look you like. There is a lot of fabric there and it will not look exactly like the back does when the train is down. It will add some dimension to your butt, but you can minimize it with proper tucking.
I don't have any pictures or instruction of how exactly to do this on my site because it is explained in my DVD.


Thank you so much for you help and very quick response! I think I may just keep the over bustle then. I think I understand what you mean about tucking in the poofs. She did show me an underbustle and it did seem to make things even puffier. I like the look of the ballroom bustles on your website (it is the least poofy),can I make the bustle look like this? Is this basically what the seamstress is already doing for me? Right now the seamstress  is using three points to make the overbustle. With a ballroom bustle would there be more points? Is it possible to do a ballroom bustle with this dress?

Hi Jenny,
The bustles on my site labeled "Ballroom" are the same as an "Overbustle".  I just wanted something neater to name them than overbustle, so I started using the name "Ballroom Bustle". The main difference between what you have right now and mine is the tucking technique that your seamstress might not know about. I have been to many weddings where the bride had her bustle untucked. It seems just common sense to me, but I guess not many others think of it the way I do.
I don't think you need to change any hooks or loops your lady put on, just do the tucking. If you do want to do my official "Ballroom Bustle", you'll have to buy the DVD for instructions.

added October 2008

Hello =)
I was visiting your website to learn about bustles & your pictures & explanations are excellent. The one thing I'm wondering though is how would you bustle a tulle wedding dress? It has a slight - moderate train that I don't want dragging during the dancing & I'm concerned most bustling will make my bottom look huge (though my dress is a size 4). If you've had any personal experience with this I would love to hear from you. Or even if you have pictures I could show the person I consult for alterations here in Seattle. I understand you're probably a very busy person so I'll understand if you're not able to get back in touch.
Thankyou for your time & consideration,



The pictures I have are on the site. I do not have any of a tulle skirt bustle. Yes, because of the nature of the tulle bustling does add a lot of fluff to the butt area. BUT guests at a wedding never think this is a result of the bride's butt growing between the wedding ceremony and the reception. Most tulle bustles I have done were in the Ballroom style because it does end up looking less fluffy than the French style.

added July 2007

I didn't start thinking (until now,) what options to consider for my wedding dress as far as bustling is concerned. What thrilled me was the coincidence that you have MY EXACT DRESS posted on your site (Alfred Angelo #1516 -- the red and black dresses.) I wasn't entirely sure which bustle to choose since I don't want to lose too much of the back detail, so you opened up a number of options for me!

However, I do have a small question: I am a bit full figured (rather...well...ok, my butt sticks out quite a bit.) Will the bustle I choose make my butt look bigger or does it not effect that? if it does, is there one bustle option that would be suitable for the dress AND my figure?

Thank you for providing this link! If you have a comments section for visitors to see, you can put anything from this letter in there! This was a fantastic site with great pictures and descriptions, and I am VERY happy to have stumbled upon it.


Back in the day when bustles were the popular style for everyone it was because all that fabric hid the true shape of the behind so people could not tell if it was fabric or your big butt back there.

What ever bustle you choose is going to be placing a lot of fabric right on your butt area. Usually a Ballroom bustle is less fluffy because the fabric of the train lays on top of the skirt fabric and has the effect of weighing it down. A French Bustle is more fluffy and many brides think it makes their butt look bigger. I think it's better to give your guests more credit than thinking a bunch of fabric can change your butt size.

Yes, you're right about that fact -- I should give them more credit. They should be paying more attention to my dress anyway and how cute my hubby and I look that day ;) (hehe!)

I was thinking of doing the ballroom bustle (which is also the over bustle, is it not?) I figured that would look kind of flow-y and would still show the best feature of the dress. Your pictures were really helpful though! I am very grateful that I found your website! Thank you for replying to my message. You must run a great business. =)

Thank you again, Dawn

added June 2006

Hello Leanna,
Thank you for your site. It has been the most helpful so far. I am making my daughters wedding dress. It has a lining, flat satin and an outer layer of organza that is sandwiched with the satin as one material. There is beaded lace that is on portions of the top and down some seams to the complete hem line of see through lace. It is two patterns put together along with the ideas from two other gowns. It is a princess line dress. A lot of the dress detail is in the LOWER half of the train with buttons all the way down the back center seam and cut outs of lace on the lowest part of the train. My daughter will be flying to me in Virginia, I have all the supplies, we will make a muslin dress and decide where we want the lace and where to put the lace for the show through hem. She will fly home (I have two weeks to do this part) and I will make the dress from the muslin mock up and bring it to her with what ever bustle plans in place at the end of August or beginning of September. Wedding is Oct 7th. I am also making a custom corset, split underpants and slip so the muslin dress mock up will be fitted to the undergarments she will be wearing. But......I need some HELP.
HELP...HELP...How do I bustle up the train when there is NO waist and most of the decoration is in the lower part of the train. I must also say my daughter is a larger boned woman and not a tiny tooth pick. We want the bustle to be as slimming as possible. The pick-up bustle looks like it adds to your size. Does it???? Can you attach a ballroom style (if it winds up there is a lot of material) at the center back seam and the two back side seams???? Down the center back there is lace and buttons but there is not on the side seams. It is planned that a line of lace goes from the base of the zipper in the center back to the edge of the hem IN BETWEEN the back seam and the back side seams of the princess lines. Without a seam or waist or something to secure to how do you prevent it from tearing out??? I have been to a wedding where the bustle has broken and the bride has had to carry the train over her arm for the whole wedding reception. My daughter has waited 38 years for this day. I want to help make it the best I can on my part with a dress of her dreams and comfort on such an important day. CAN YOU HELP ME. Thank You, Peggy-Anne

Bustles are not slimming things. They add layers of fabric to the butt area and therefore add bulk. The French style is fluffier than the Ballroom, but they both add bulk to the butt. Usually the first thing out of a bride's mouth is, "That makes my butt look bigger." To this I say that the guests at a wedding know that the bride's butt did not grow between the ceremony and the reception. They know it's the fabric of the train bustled on the back of the gown.

This is a subject I have to deal with almost on a daily basis. Brides have a right to care about what their backsides look like and they want it to look as good as their fronts. I try to help them think about it a different way - This is the only time in your life you will be able to wear a bustled gown. It is a different look that was once very popular. Unless you are into historical reenactment, this is the only time you will get a chance to wear this dramatic style of gown. Go for it with gusto.

I know no way to bustle a gown shyly. The bride is the center of attention and her gown ought to be also. I know this is not the answer you were hoping for but it's the only one I have short of telling you to cut out the fabric under the bustle to reduce the bulk. I doubt you want to do that.

Thank you for getting back to me. It was very nice of you to take the time. I will share your email with my daughter. I still have a question and would like your opinion. On a princess line dress what is the best bustle for:

1- princess line dress small train - what bustle??

2- princess line dress medium train - what bustle??

3- princess line dress good size train - what bustle??

You see I don't know the size train till I cut out the dress in muslin. Thank you for all your help.

There isn't a set answer to any of these. For shorter trains I am going to try the Pick-up Bustle style first, either Ballroom or French depending on what the bride likes. The longer and wider the train gets the more likely I am to suggest the French style bustle because it is more secure and the more fabric in the train you have to work with, the more dramatic the bustle looks. Otherwise, it's up to the bride what look she wants. Usually you have to pin the different styles and let her look at them for her to choose. Most brides can't visualize this in their heads.

Most of the pictures of gowns on my site are princess line styles and there are many variations of bustle already up there. I have a few more pictures of gowns I hope to put up over the weekend.

added April 2005

I am a plus-sized bride and I purchased a Ulla-Maija dress from the Bridal Garden in Manhattan. The gown is off-shoulder with a fitted bodice and a ball-gown bottom. The concern I have is that I have a small waist and a large backside (the gown already sticks out some on the bump). Do you have any bustling tips for me? Thanks in advance.

The best tip I can give you is what I tell all brides. Your guests know that bustle is all fabric and that your butt did not grow between the ceremony and the reception. Actually, bustles were used to camouflage a large behind. It's hard for us now-a-days to wear a bustle because we are not used to the feel or look of all that fabric, it really does not make a butt look bigger.


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