Alterations for a wedding/prom/formal dress can be very expensive! Here are instructions for a 1 to 3 point French bustle, sometimes known as an underbustle, that you can do yourself, for a fraction of the cost!
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)
Cut 6 (one-inch) squares of felt. Cut 2 (6-inch) ribbons of each pattern/color. Seal the ends of the ribbons with clear nail polish or glue (OR, you could heat seal them over a flame from a match or candle). Sew a ribbon onto a felt square VERY tightly. I lock-stitched all of mine. (You can Google "how to sew a lock-stitch" if you're not sure how to do it. Very helpful, and it's a very strong stitch). This is what they should like when they're done: