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This is a nice, easy bustle dress, excellent for a first-time steampunker.  The only sewing skills you need are the ability to do a running stitch (in and out, in a straight line), and the ability to secure one item to another at a fixed point.  Which is great, because that's about all I can do!

(My boyfriend and I were a mad scientist and his resurrected zombie girlfriend for Halloween.  Steampunk, naturally.  If you'd like to learn how to make his costume, his instructable is here.)

What you’ll need:

Pillow
Needle and thread
Pillowcase
Waist cincher
2 yds fabric
Straight pins
Brass button
Safety pins
Dress to wear underneath

Step 1: Bustle

-Sew the corners of the pillow together, until it’s round.
-Put the pillow into a pillowcase.
-Put the rest of the pillowcase into your waist cincher and tuck in the ends.

Step 2: Skirt

A. Choose your fabric wisely. This is very important! Look for something fairly heavy, but fluid. Pay attention to the back as well as the front of the cloth, since both sides will be showing. Don’t be afraid to drape it on yourself or a friend in the fabric store and make sure it moves nicely. You’ll thank yourself later!

B. Ruching
-Measure the widest part of your hips, and then add about an inch. You want to be able to get in and out!
-Fold the material in half, with the back side of the fabric facing out.
-Find the middle, and make a mark on either side for the edges of the waist.
-Draw a line from each of these marks to the outside bottom edge of the fabric.
-Pin the fabric along each line, about half an inch from the line itself.  Failure to do this will result in lots of fail.  Believe me, I know...
-Do a basic running stitch up each line, pulling the thread tight at the end. Make sure your stitches are even and fairly large for proper draping.
-Turn skirt right-side-out.

C. Finishing the back
-Put your bustle and skirt on backwards (alternatively, do what I did and put it on your boyfriend).
-Grab the back of the skirt in the very middle, fold it into a point, and sew it to the center of the bustle. Tuck everything in so the unfinished edges aren’t visible.
-Sew a brass button or some other decorative item over the stitch to hide it.

Step 3: Putting It All Together

Get into your bustle and skirt, and go to town with the safety pins! I found it especially useful to pin the center of the front hemline to the front of my dress, pretty near my waist. Also, you’ll probably need to pin the waist to hold it up.

Thank you for reading this instructable!  Please let me know if you have any questions, or if something isn't clear!

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