How to Bustle a Wedding Dress – Bustle Types

The main reason you’d want to know how to bustle a wedding dress is to be able to move around without dragging excess fabric behind you. In this post, I will describe 7 wedding dress bustles to help you determine which one is the best for your dress.

Although a long train wedding dress is beautiful and elegant, it will eventually be a burden while dancing or when you’ll want to sit. In fact, a dress with a train will collect dirt as you move around and people will step on it.

Imagine how complicated this gets when going to the bathroom… You get the picture.

So, unless you want someone to follow you everywhere you go to help you out when your dress gets stuck in a door, bustling your dress is a must.



Can You Bustle Any Dress Style?

The short answer is, yes, any dress with a train. However, the type of bustle you’ll want depends on the dress shape, fabric and your personal taste.

Also, some designs with ornements and large applique may require more thinking and work to make sure your dress looks its best. These alterations will also be more expensive.

For example, a dress that features beaded patterns or rhinestones designs may look better with one specific bustle type. On the other hand, a solid color dress with a subtle pattern may look good with different types of bustle.

Therefore, you can decide which bustle you want depending on your taste and budget with a simpler dress.



How to Bustle a Wedding Dress

While making a bustle can be easy for an experienced seamstress, some types of bustle can represent a real challenge even for someone with sewing experience.

A single hook pick-up bustle is probably the easiest to make. If you want to know how to bustle a wedding dress, there are also a few good videos to show you how to do it.

However, I strongly suggest that you take the time to practice any new technique you’ll learn on fabric scraps with similar characteristics like thickness, stretch, shine, etc.

This will allow you to test your skills and prevent damaging the fabric of your expensive and beloved dress.



Types of Bustles

To begin with, there are countless bustle techniques combining the following basic bustles designs. Some of these are detailed later in this post.

For now, let’s look at some of the most popular styles.


This technique consists in gathering the excess fabric to create a ruched, vertical line design. While most bustles rely on buttons, hooks and tied ribbons, the Austrian bustle uses a singular technique.

It’s achieved by sliding the fabric length on a cord or string sewed at a higher point on the dress. The result is a ruched fabric with condensed pleats around the vertical line formed by the string.

This bustle style is amazing to adorn a plain dress. A single string has a modern look that complements a fit a flare dress type.

Moreover, you can add 3 strings to gather the train and create a lovely design similar to Disney’s Belle princess dress. The beautiful cascading back design will contrast with a plain front skirt.

A remarkable wedding dress that won’t go unnoticed.



This technique is also called over bustle. Like a pick-up but using many anchor points rather than just one. Depending on the number of anchors you choose to have the train is hooked evenly around the waistline.

This creates a neat pleated looking bustle.

I’ve seen some variations that are sewed lower than the waistline. This is especially flattering on a straight shape dress like a sheath style wedding dress.


Pick Up

A simple, inexpensive and striking bustle style. It’s a great option for a wedding dress train that is not too ample. The reason for this is that it relies on only one button and hook to hold the weight of the train.

Depending on how heavy the train fabric is it’s possible to add 3 anchors instead of one. These buttons are located all in the same area so it has the same look while being stronger and more durable.


Under Bustle

Also known as the French bustle, this is well suited to create volume at the back of the dress. The fabric structure can be well defined or puffy looking depending on the visual effect you want.

For a dramatic look, you can have multiple layers cascading on one another.

However, to make it look poofy the fabric needs to have a certain thickness. For example, a thin lace overlay on its own won’t look as full as a thinker fabric like satin.

Organza and tulle can be sculpted into breathtaking over bustle layers to add lots of fullness to the dress.

A perfect dress worthy of a Louis XIV King court.



Other Types of Bustles

I found so many wedding dress bustle options over the Internet that I just simply can’t add all of them here.

However, most of these unique bustle designs are in fact derived from the ones I’ve mentioned earlier.

Some of them combine 2 different bustling techniques. Others are just a creative way of using one basic technique. For example, the bubble bustle is, in fact, an under bustle. The side bustle is an adaptation of the typical pick-up bustle.

Let’s have a closer look.



Similar to the French bustle, the idea is to shape the fabric into a puffy layer to add fullness. The hemline can also be redesign to recreate the same bubble shape effect.



This one is a great alternative for a unique looking bustle. Instead of having your dress bustled in the back you can have it draped on the side of the dress. It adds a lot of glam to any dress.



This bustle can be created from scratch or used on a dress that already has this design to enhance this already stunning design.

A tufted dress usually has embellishments like rhinestones or beads scattered throughout the skirt.



Hope you enjoyed these ideas on how to bustle a wedding dress. What is your favorite bustle type? Did you sew it yourself or had it done by a seamstress. You can leave your comment in the section below



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