Tufted Tiffles


added July 2009

Hi Leanna!

Thanks for your wonderful website, it's been a marvelous help thus far, but the tufted bustle info is a bit shy of my needs.

I have a lovely gown that is flat front and extraordinarily full in the back, with no decor on the train. (I can take photos if you need.) The problem is that the train is simply too plain and the young lady wants it to be tufted up and 'pinned' with Swarovski crystals. There's a lot of fabric and my initial test pinnings have shown that the skirt can be tufted without risking the fullness or the existing hem *whew*!

My question is on the actual tufting... and is how to best approach making a tuft from nothing. How deep would you make the pleats that would form the tuft-point? I know it's likely a personal thing, but I wanted to get a base idea to jump off from, given that I've not tufted a skirt of any type, bustle or not before.

Any tips or tricks you can toss my way would be greatly appreciated... I've told her that the Austrian bustle is doable if the tufts fail, and she's okay with it... but would prefer the tufts. (The gown is needed September 15... and is mostly complete save for the final trim after bustle work.)


An apple a day will keep anyone away if thrown hard enough.

Hi Lisa,
For a request like this I would play with the gown until I got a configuration I liked and thought the bride would like. It's not going to be easy to make the placements and depends much on how many crystals she is willing to pay for. If she gets only a few than you will have to make deeper tuffs. I would start with 2 or 3 down the center seam and work out from there toward the sides in a hatch pattern until the whole train is up.
This could be very stunning. And I hope this bride is going to pay you for the many hours of time it's going to take to create it.

added February 2008

Hi! I'm so glad I found your site!
I've attached pictures of my dress. I want to do a tufted bustle but the tufts on my dress are a bit different than the one in your pictures. They tuft under and there are no appliques at them. What do you suggest? Sincerely, Adrienne

It looks best if you do it from the underside, like a French bustle. Instead of sewing hook and eyes on the outside, you sew then underneath so that the tuffs gather under as they are now.

added June 2007

Hello Leanna,
First of all, let me say thank you so much for all the wonderful information you have on your site. It makes it so much easier for brides like me who have no idea what a lot of the terminology means that are thrown at us by bridal shops and seamstresses.

My question regards bustling my gown. I've attached a picture so that you can look at it instead of having to rely on my inadequate descriptions. My seamstress has suggested a French bustle which makes sense since there isn't a waist to attach an overbustle to. However, to be completely honest, I don't really like how a French bustle looks. I saw the tufted ballroom on your site and am wondering if you think it would work on my dress. It doesn't have nearly as many tufts as the dress on your site nor are they as pronounced on my dress. Any and all comments and advice would be very welcome. Cheers!
Sincerely, Karla

You can try using the tufted style and just create more places for pick-ups than are now on the train. There aren't any rules with bustles. You just want to get it up off the floor in a way that you like. However you design the points is up to your imagination.


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