Some bustles just don't fit neatly into any of my categories. These I call challenges and get creative. With much patience from both bride and seamstress, any gown can have a beautiful bustle.

added July 2010

Leanna, I bought and have watched your DVD. I have done many bridal gowns and still enjoyed it very much.
I DO need help with this one though. My bride has a poly chiffon gown over satin skirt. The chiffon is gathered under the bust in the front and I was able to hem the front from side seam to side seam as usual.
The chiffon is, of course longer than the satin skirt, about 3 inches on the sides and as much as 4-5" at the train. What is the best way to approach the bustle? I did a "pick-up' bustle when she was here, but as I look now, the chiffon hang WAY down about 6" after the satin at the furthest point on the train. I tried a french bustle too but the chiffon sides away from the skirt so much she will step on it.
She is being married on the beach with an indoor reception, so I have made some bridal flip-flops for her. (She will be barefoot during the ceremony.)
I realize I may need to make more "thread chains" to keep the chiffon in line with the skirt. Any other suggestions.
I did buy your DVD and really need you to address my question.

Thank you, Cathy


Hi Cathy, 
I can't really say what is happening without seeing the gown. Quite often Chiffon drapes in funny ways because of it's grain. It's sometimes maddening to do a bustle that hangs nicely with the chiffon. I often find that using more points helps. You often have to bustle the layers separately too. Whatever works best is right when doing bustles. Don't be afraid to be creative. You do not have to do things exactly as I did in the DVD for every gown. 

added October 2009

I have been researching bustles for what seems like months. I came across your site and it has made things so much clearer! I have purchased the picture in the attachment, and am thinking that an Overbustle would be the most flattering with this dress. I know that the skirt underneath is going to be easy to bustle. But the layer on top, with it splitting down the back, is making it hard for me to imagine how to bustle it. Any suggestions on how to make it look nice?

Thank you so much!


Hi Heather,
I usually treat this kind of split back design by tacking the over drape to the underskirt at the pick-up points and treating the whole thing as on layer.  It will work just fine for a Ballroom for French style bustle

added April 2009

Hello!  Hopefully you can answer this question before my wedding. I recently had my bridal gown bustled and was very disappointed to see the back was still dragging the floor. The seamstress told me that it was the best they could do for that style dress. She had put in three points and said the dress was supposed to hang in the back.  I have never heard of such a thing and was wondering if I should ask her to try again,or go somewhere else. The gown is from Mary's Bridal "Fairy Tale Princess Collection" # SO88624. Do gowns ever drag the floor after being bustled? Thank-you for any ideas you may have

Hummm, I looked at your gown here:  Though it may be a challenge, I see no reason why it could not be bustled without dragging. I will sometimes do a drag if the bride asks for it, but otherwise I do it with no drag.
I don't think asking her for a redo will help anything. She may not know how to do it right. I think you need to find a new seamstress to redo the bustle. 

added March 2008

Hi Leanna,

first I'd like to say that you website is an absolute godsend!
I wish you here here in Seattle where I live, but I guess I'll have to settle for your advice from afar.

I have Maggie Sottero's Tuscany dress.(I'm attaching pictures)

I'm going to need it to bustle up. My mother is a fabulous seamstress, and I would love to be able to have her do the work on my dress.
The dress, as you can see, has a lot of asymmetry going on, and we are struggling with just how to do it and keep the lovely lines.

I've ordered and watched your DVD, and it was oh so helpful.
My questions are now about keeping the asymmetrical lines and the separate layers looking good
Any help or advice is much appreciated!!!

It's really hard to do this without having the gown in front of me to play with it and see how the fabric drapes while trying different things. But, this is what I would try first - Left the overskirt and bustle the underlayer in the ballroom style. Drop the overskirt back down and lift by the satin band to the place on the left hip where it looks like there are buttons you can use as anchors. Drape the fabric in folds so it models the original design. Place the pick-up points as needed for the drape to fall nicely across the back.

added February 2008

How do you bustle a 10 layer, tulle gown? Do you just attach all the layers together and hold at the waist?

Thanks, Dyanne

I have done it that way, but you can also run a cord along the waistline that you drape the tulle through. It ends up looking much like a French bustle.

added November 2007

Hi Leanna - what a fantastic website! The bustle has been a huge concern for me with my dress. I have attached a picture of my dress, but my dressmaker has said that she can't put a bustle in it as it won't look right. She has put a loop on the satin underneath, and I am then expected to put the top layer of chiffon and lace over my arm, but that is just not practical! I don't understand why it can't be bustled. I am going to have to try and do this myself with the help of my mother, but I would love if you could direct me with what you think would be the best possible option.
As you can see from my dress, the train is very small, so if we bustled it up below my bottom, it would make the dress to short at the back and you can see my legs. Also you can see I have green panels around the bottom, so when it is bustled up that needs to look ok as well. When i drag all the material over my arm as my dressmaker suggested it pulls it all green at the back and looks rather stupid. The satin underneath has an even hem, but the top layer is actually different lengths where the panels come out...a bit hard to explain.
I really hope you have an idea, and can help me with this situation. I am starting to stress a bit, because at the moment I may have to wear the train down which I really would rather not.
I understand that you may not be able to help, or may be too busy, but I thought I would take a chance and you had such a fantastic site.
With many thanks, Kathy

There's not much I can do for you with this dress from here. This is the type of dress I need to "play" with. I try different things until I come up with a look that the bride likes. I have not meet a dress that could not be bustled in some way that looked nice. I have had ladies like the wrist loop thing, but it does get heavy on your arm after awhile of it hanging there. It is also a really neat look for your first dance.

If you don't have a dress form, find a friend who is about your size and height. Put the dress on the form or your friend and try pining up the train in different ways. You can try to do some of the ways I have pictured on my site. My Bustle DVD may give you some ideas too. You just have to be creative and experiment until you come up with something you like.

added March 2007

Has anyone ever bustled a wedding dress that has layers like the one attached? If so, could you share your ideas on how to do it. Any information would be greatly appreciated.







OK, this is definitely a challenge, but one I'd love to take on. There are so many neat ideas that could be tried. I'd need to see how the layers are attached to the gown and to each other. You could do the basic Ballroom or French ignoring the layers and see how they end up looking. You would probably have to do a lot of pre-tacking of the layers to each other so they hang nicely. Or you can do each layer separately (perhaps removing any tacking) either retaining the look it has now or setting the edges to be all aligned at the hem level.

Also, a bustle is not required. The bride has the option to just leave the train out. It's a bit of a hassle for guests walking around her at the reception, but she does have that option.

added February 2007

Hi Leanna,
I liked your website and all the pictures of the wedding dress bustles. I need to know which bustle would work best for my wedding dress. Please see the link to get an idea of what my dress looks like.
When I pin the dress up for the reception, I don't want to hide all my color. Can you give me any suggestions or recommendations?
Thank you,

This is the 4th time I have been asked about bustling for this gown. It does give an interesting problem with the vivid colors.

It's a hard call, but you have to loose some color somewhere. I think a Ballroom bustle will loose the least because you are covering the top section which is thinner than the lower area of the train where the color section is wider. For the French bustle you are turning under the lower section which has most of the color. I hope this makes sense

added May 2006

I have a gown that I am trying to bustle. I will try to explain. There is no waist, and it is strapless. with a slight flare. There is lace over the dress which extends about 15 inches past the end of the satin part of the train. Any ideas? I have not watched the DVD yet, but I have never seen any like this.


I would first ask the bride if it was ok to bustle the lace to the length of the satin. It wouldn't totally be up off the floor, but I think she would like the look.

If she doesn't like that idea, you'll have to bustle the 2 layers separately. The satin will have a very small lift that probably won't even be noticed under the lace. The lace will then need to be bustled off the floor.

added March 2006

I have a wedding dress with 2 skirts: Underskirt, with 3 layers of fluffy tulle attached at the two side seams. It is approximately 120 inches long from the waist.

Overskirt, split down the back, attached at the two side seams, approximately 90 inches long from the waist. The overskirt has a bead edging about 2 inches wide around the bottom and up the split in the back. The skirt has no other beading on it at all.

I can get the Overskirt looking pretty good, but am having a problem with the 3 layers of tulle on the underskirt. How can I bustle the tulle to make the tulle look good when the overskirt opens at the split?

I have tried the underbustle because it looks the best, but maybe I should try the overbustle?

Thanks so much for your help!

Tulle is really hard to deal with. French bustling often works, but sometimes it doesn't either. This is where you have to get creative and try things that aren't normal. There is a technique were you sew a long strand of ribbon at one side near the waist, under the skirt but over the tulle. On the other side you sew a ribbon loop. To bustle you tie the end of the long ribbon to the loop. Then you tuck the tulle up through and around the ribbon, forming what looks like a French bustle, but supports the tulle better.

There are other things you can try but I can't really figure out any because it's hard to figure out what this is looking like by your description. Do you have pictures?


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