The Bustle is in use today primarily to lift the long, elegant trains of wedding gowns off the floor. The long train is lifted with buttons or ties to create a lovely bouffant style that is also very practical. Trust me you do not want to use the little lop that is under your dress that goes over your wrist, 1. Your dress is not a bracelet. 2. Your dress is heavy. 3.You are then only using one hand and arm the entire night. 4. The next day that arm and wrist will feel like it has been at the gym all night.
Although almost all brides utilize Bustles for their wedding gowns, you may be surprised to discover that the dresses do not come with bustles in place.They are added during alterations. This makes sense since all brides are not the same height and your bustle should lift the back of your gown to your hem length. So your bustle must be custom made.
You have several choices in bustles: The Over Bustle and the Under Bustle (also known as the French or Victorian bustle) are the most common.
The Over Bustle consists of several hooks lifting your train off the floor. The “hooks” are sewn in about 14 – 20” down the back skirt. Lace appliqués, rosettes or bows may be needed to cover the hooks. Covered buttons also work well, and may look nicer, especially if you have buttons down the back of your gown.The longer your train is, the more hooks or buttons you will need.
This method works especially well for gowns without a waistline and gowns that are especially decorative in the back area, as it doesn’t cover up any lace or details in the gown right below the waist. The gown is lifted from the bottom area. The Under Bustle is also more secure than the Over Bustle. For the Under Bustle, ribbons are sewn under the gown securing the outer fabric to the lining. Use different colors of ribbon to make the task of tying easier.
Below are some before and after pictures with bustles and without.