What is a Bustle and Why Do You Need One?
If your dream wedding dress comes with a train of any length, you need to do something with that train after the ceremony so that you (or anyone else) don’t step on it during your reception. The most common way to do that is with a bustle. A bustle ties up your train bringing it up so that the hem in the back matches the hem in the front and gets it out of the way for ease and comfort.
In order to bustle your train, your gown will need to have buttons and hooks attached to it during the alterations process. This is something you want to make sure is done properly and securely, otherwise your train will fall while you are dancing. How do I know that will happen? Because it happened to me. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing at your reception is stopping every two seconds so someone can rehook it.
We spoke to Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, who teaches you everything you need to know about the bustle on your dress and how to hook it.
Where do the buttons and loops get attached?
There are really two main types of bustles: a French Bustle and Traditional Bustle. With either, the buttons are sewn onto the back of the dress and the loops are sewn onto the train of the dress. The difference is that French Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the inside, while Traditional Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the outside. Each bustle gives the gown a very different look. With Traditional Bustles, Pomarico says, “When I’m bustling a gown, I try to make the bustles (loops and buttons) as discrete as possible because they’re laying on the train, and while it’s open and down, you really don’t want to see them, you just want them to blend into the gown.”
How many buttons and loops does it take to bustle my gown?
It really depends on the length of the train and the weight of the fabric. Pomarico says two or three is the norm, but sometimes as many as five or more.
How do I know my bustle is secure?
A secure bustle boils down to three things: the type of button, the type of loop, and the number of loops. “When I do my bustles,” says Pomarico, “I do them with a Soutache Loop (a narrow, flat, braided loop). It has no stretch to it, it really does hold and I always give my girls extra bustles (loops) because if it breaks from someone stepping on it, I don’t want them then to have to safety pin it up, so I’m always giving them extra.” These loops are also designed in a way where if someone does step on your gown and pull the train, the loop will break without ripping your gown. That’s why it’s always good to have multiple attachment points and multiple loops at each point, so you can easily fix it.
You also want to make sure that the buttons are strong ones with metal backs, called Hopper Backs, so that they can hold the weight of the train without breaking or ripping your dress.
If you still aren’t convinced, try jumping around in your dress for a few minutes. If the train stays put, you’re good to go.
How do I choose the right bustle?
The main thing with bustles is that you need to choose the one that complements the line and silhouette of your dress. You never want to break that line. When the bustle is up, your dress should look like it never had a train to begin with. Your seamstress or shop consultant should be able to determine what’s best, or at least have you see it both ways so that you can determine what you like best.
How do I bustle my train the day of the wedding?
The first thing to remember is to never start with the top middle button. “What’ll happen is if you do that it starts taking these folds and you kind of lose your way, and you can’t really find them (the loops). It’s much easier to bustle from the outside in,” says Pomarico. Plus, she says, “The center bustle carries most of the weight on any gown.
“When we start our bustles,” she adds, “start with the furthest one (button) out, and where there’s one on one side, there’s one directly across on the other so that it’s even.” Starting with the outer buttons also helps distribute the weight equally on the sides so it lays beautifully.
The best way to do this is to have two people help, so that they are pulling up the train at the same time. When you go in for your final fitting, your consultant will walk you, and whoever else is with you, through the process.
Featured Photo Credit: Wedding Connections of the Hudson Valley