WARNING: This project is NOT for the easily-distracted, impatient, or procrastinating person! It is VERY time-consuming, and for the most part, boring. And for some it could be scary. Just relax! Remember that in all reality, a formal dress is JUST FABRIC (albeit expensive fabric!). But most importantly, make sure you give yourself 2 or 3 full afternoons to work on this (with many 10-minute breaks!) And wash your hands every 20-30 minutes, to ensure the oils from your hands will not soil the fabric. The finished product is SO worth it!!
THINGS YOU WILL NEED:
Wedding/Formal dress (works best on satin A-line dresses with 3 seams in the back, and a chapel train or longer), dressform/mannequin (OR a friend who's about the same size as the bride WEARING heels) measuring tape, grosgrain ribbon (preferably, in 3 different patterns or colors), 1 sheet of felt, sharp straight pins, thin needle, white polyester thread.
Step 1: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 1)
Step 2: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 2)
(In this picture, the bustle is already completed, so the ribbons are already attached; just ignore the ribbons!)
Step 3: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 3)
(Again, ignore the already-placed ribbons in the pics!)
On my dress, this measurement was about 23 inches. Remember this measurement!
Now, make a mark on the center seam somewhere near the butt-area (for lack of a better term, LOL) on your dress with a straight pin. Measure down from this point the measurement from your train (on mine, I measured down 23 inches from the pin). Place another pin at the bottom of this measurement. Again, these pins should both be on the center seam.
Stand back and look at where the pins are placed. This is where the center (and the biggest) pouf will be on your finished bustle. The bottom of the pouf will be in the middle those two pins. If this is not where you want your pouf to be, just move your pins up or down to your preference; just make sure the measurement in between the two pins stays the same (with my example, 23 inches).
Step 4: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 4)
Sew the ribbons tight onto the lining. Use two ribbons of the same design/color here. Sew the top ribbon facing down, and sew the bottom ribbon facing up.
Step 5: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 5)
(The stitches are right in the middle of that seam! You can't even see it! Yay!)
Step 6: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 6)
Now, at this point, this may look very familiar. Yep, a French bustle is really just an American Bustle (or overbustle) from the inside out! On the inside that's what it looks like, but on the outside....
Voila! A one-point French bustle. For most dresses, a simple one-point will do. On really long trains, however, it may be better to distribute the weight among three points, instead of one point. Or, you just may prefer the look of a three-point bustle.
Step 7: How to Install a French Bustle (Step 7)
On my dress, this measurement was about 8 inches. Note: this measurement does NOT have to be on a seam.
Place your straight pins just like you did the first time, keeping the correct distance between them (8 inches on mine). Look at your pins, and see if the pouf is gonna be where you want it. (Remember, the bottom of the pouf will be right in between those pins.) Sew on a pair of ribbons, just like before.
Sew the last pair of ribbons parallel to these ones. Then tie the pairs together. The different color/pattern of ribbons really comes in handy for the person who will be tying the bustle up on the wedding day. Just tie the same colors/patterns together!