I've said this often - "You do not have to bustle your gown." You can leave it as it is or do many other things.
added July 2010
I've been spending quite a lot of time searching through your website. It's a great site full of useful information! However, after reading and searching I cannot find any information about puddle trains. I know you don't respond to all emails due to the sheer amount of info already contained on your site, but I really hope you can answer mine!
My dress is a very simple gown - 2 layers of plain ivory chiffon ending in a puddle train. The train seems a bit big to leave down as I plan to do a lot of dancing. However, my seamstress has held the train up in numerous ways, and none of them looks good to me. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for a simple elegant dress with a puddle train. I'm debating getting rid of the train altogether, or changing it into a sweeper train and leaving it down, but the look of the puddle train during the ceremony is so beautiful!
I define puddle trains, as puddle hems, as the fabric of the hem being just barely too long, like 2 inches dragging on the floor. Sweep trains are longer, 3 to 10 inches dragging the floor. I have not had any puddle hems at my studio thus not much need to write about them, but I did have one puddle hem with a chapel train. That bride didn't want a bustle.
For very short sweep trains I usually do a low Pick-up French bustle because it doesn't show how much fabric is tucked up as do the Ballroom Pick-ups. The bustle usually doesn't look skimpy with the French.
That's about all I can say without seeing your gown. If your train is only 2 or 3 inches dragging, you may be able to get away with no bustle. You'll just have to be careful of folks stepping on your gown as you are standing still. While dancing, it's not that big a problem because you are moving and so is the dress. It's harder to step on a moving short train than a still long one. It's still a risk for anything can happen, but it is a viable option.
added January 2010
||Hello! Thank you so much for your website and information. It is the most clear and helpful resource on the web for tasteful bustles. I am all alone in this venture to bustle my wedding dress (I have no money to spend on a professional) so I am asking for your advice on what to do with my train as it is an outdoor wedding. The dress is a semi-heavy lace with satin beneath, from the 40s. The front is perfect as is; about an inch off the ground so my toes are perfectly visible. I absolutely love this dress and would like to do as little as possible to it. The idea of a wrist loop sounds great, yet, is my train too short for this? On the hanger, the train is 12'' longer than the front. If you believe it is too short, I will attempt to bustle it and would appreciate any style recommendations! Thank you for your time.
You can set the wrist loop lower on the canter back seam than is usually done to accomplish what you are wanting. The back of the skirt may ride a bit higher than longer trains do when you have the loop on your wrist but that doesn't mean you can't do it.
You can try it by pinning a loop to the base of the center back seam near the hem and see if you like the effect
added January 2010
I'm keen to have a wrist strap/or loop for my wedding dress. It'll have a chapel train, but I feel a wrist strap is more romantic than a bustle...however, I need to show the seamstress and cannot find any pictures for her. Do you perhaps have any?
Would you suggest a bustle rather than a wrist strap?
I thank you for your time,
I don't have any pictures of wrist straps. They aren't popular but I personally love them.
What I do to make one is sew a loop of nice ribbon to the underside of the train where the hanger loop usually goes. You can use the hanger loop that is there but it's usually not nice as good satin ribbon. Then I make a small gap in the seam so the loop can be threaded through the gap to the outside of the train. Some brides simply use the hanger loop as is, but that flips the underside of the train up and doesn't look very pretty IMO.
Chapel length trains are a bit short for this to look really good. You can certainly try it with your gown and see if you like the effect. If it pulls funny, you can position the loop closer to the hem to see if you can get it to look good.
added September 2009
I have received your DVD and found it very helpful. However, I have a
difficult dress to work with. My mother made the dress for my wedding in
1952. The dress is chantilly lace over satin. I think I remember buying 33
yards of fabric. My daughter wants to wear the dress and would like a
bustle so she can dance.
I asume that I take the pickup points with both fabrics together. Tell me
if I'm wrong here. One of the problems is that the lace dress is much
fuller --more gathers at the waist than the satin under dress. At places
the lace dress is longer than the satin. The dress is very full. The
center back seam from the waist to the end of the train is 81 inches.
If I sew loops on the train the lace will not lay smoothly.
Any suggestions and hints that will help me will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
Most bustles have all the layers of fabric in the points even when the outer layer is fuller than the lining, but I have had to bustle layers separately for special situations. There are several examples of this on my site. I can't say more without seeing the train but you just have to put the points where they need to be for whatever situation you have. It often takes time playing with the placement until you figure out a configuration that works for the fabric you are working with. It can be frustrating, but also creatively challenging.
If you can send pictures, maybe I can be of more help.
added September 2009
I was wondering if its possible to bustle a wedding dress by simply folding the train underneath its self, creating almost a bubble hem in the back? The reason I'm asking is because my wedding dress is a organza ballgown with lots of detailing around the dropped waist.
A typical ballroom bustle wont work because the dress is a dropped waist and lots of beautiful beadwork that would be shameful to cover up, and no real place to tack it to.
I also hate the look of the french bustle. Satin gowns look ok because it gives the dress a regal, 19th century look to it, but on my dress, it looks sloppy. And I just hate the way the fabric folds over on itself like a wrinkled bedsheet, or like I accidently tucked my dress into my underware when I went to the ladies room.
Is there anyway a seamstress can create a bustle that does not disturb the flow of the dress at all so that it hangs nice and straight? Can't they just tuck it under and secure with snaps or something? Any advice would be helpful!
All bustles change the flow of the gown. Every bride seeks ways to avoid this but it's just simple - - - if you don't want to change the flow you can't have a bustle.
That sounds tough, but the other side of things is - - - you do not have to have a bustle. It is totally ok for you to not bustle your gown. You are risking guests stepping on you at your reception, but you train is not so long that it's a big hazard.
I have not had a bride ask for the type of bustle you are thinking of but I'm sure it can be done. You can sew snaps or hooks on the edge of the train to flip it up under the lining. But - - - this might also disturb the flow of the skirt because the weight of the fabric at the points that it is secured underneath will pull the outer fabric. It might not disturb things much but you need to know that it can.
Finding a sewing profession in your area who knows how to do this is your biggest problem. You might need to do it yourself to get what you are wanting.
added September 2009
I'd like to thank you very, very much for your website! Your pictures and explanations have helped so much with deciding how to bustle my cathedral length ballgown.
While I know what I'm doing with my wedding dress, I'm not sure what I'm doing with my dress for my brother's wedding. I'm the MOH, and I am being asked to wear Bill Levkoff's 451 A-line dress with the criss cross sash. This dress has two issues for me. First, the sweep or court train is going to be problematic, and I don't know how to bustle it. I was thinking of a simple pick-up over bustle, but wasn't sure where to place the attachment point. Over my butt or at the back of my knees? What is your experience with the aesthetics of either option?
The second problem I face is the sash. It is as long as the train. Do I hem the sash to the bustled length from the start, or is there a way to tie a knot? Could I run loops up the underside of the sash similar to an austrian bustle and use a ribbon to gather the sash?
She hasn't left the bridesmaids much time to get our dresses in order. They get here at the beginning of December, and the wedding is the first of January. I worry with the holidays in the midst. I'd like to have a very clear idea in mind so that I can take it to a seamstress as soon as it arrives. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!!
Trains on bride's maid's dresses are quite popular and problematic. I have been doing simple pick-up bustles when the maids ask for them, either Ballroom or French style. Often the bride doesn't want the maids to bustle the dresses. Point placement isn't something I can tell you through email without seeing the dress on you. The type of fabric, length and width of the train, and height of the maid all have to be considered. My DVD explains how to determine point placement for this and other types of bustles.
Sashes are also a new problem that didn't used to be there. You can certainly do any of your ideas depending on what look you and the bride likes. The simplest is tie a knot or bow. Your style of sash has been popular this year because bows are out of style. It doesn't lend easily to tieing anything pretty. I've tried. If the bride will let you, shortening it to the hem of the dress is the easiest way to solve the problem.
You do need to be getting on a seamstress' schedule now. Do not wait to do your calling when the dress arrives. People like me are booked 2 to 4 weeks in advance. If you wait till December to call someone they might be booked up through the month.
added September 2009
Hi, I've been asked to do a wrist bustle, I've never done one, any tips? Thank you Aggie
Making a wrist loop is not hard. I use a nice 1/2" wide section of double sided satin ribbon long enough to slip on your wrist easily. This is sewn to the center back seam on the underside of the train about 1/3 of the way from the hem to the waist. Then a small opening in the seam is made through which this loop in slipped to the outer side of the train so you can then place it on your wrist.
This is usually worn on the right wrist for your first dance but then you can move it to the left wrist as your right gets tired of holding it.
added September 2009
I am desperate for some wedding gown train / bustling advice. My seamtress has told me that my train is too heavy and long to be bustled. She already added a strap / harness in the back, and the dress is very tight, but she says if is still too heavy, and will drag the dress down. She wants to give me a "wrist loop" ? A strap on my arm?
I cannot find any pictures anywhere on the web showing an example of this? I am worried about dancing all night and generally moving around and functioning! The dress is about 12 feet long, and heavy..
What do you think?
Thanks for any help!!!
I have never met a gown I could not bustle, even heavy ones. I do occasionally do a wrist loop when the bride wants one, but I also do a bustle for later in the evening. A wrist loop is cool for the first dance but any arm will get tired holding a wrist loop all night no matter how light the train. Your lady might not be experienced enough to do a long, heavy train bustle. Anytime someone writes that their alteration person said, "this can't be done", I tell them to think, "she doesn't know how to do this" so you need to find someone who does.
A wrist loop usually goes on the right arm for dancing and can be moved to the left to give the right a rest. I don't have any pictures on my site. If I ever get some I will put them up.
added September 2008
I ordered this dress from overseas (it’s a knock off, I know, you get what you pay for!) It was supposed to have a detachable train, but it came firmly attached. Other than the non-detachable train, the dress is perfect! Should I attempt to get it bustled, or just do a wrist loop? I live in a very small town and there is one “official” seamstress in town, but she is gone for the next month.
Wrist loops are very cool for your first dance but the weight of the train on your arm gets heavy very fast. I don't know of many brides who liked carrying it around all evening. Bustles are just so convenient and you don't have to think about them.
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