Want To Know The Different Types of Wedding Dress Bustles?

If you’re reading this post, you have a very special day in your near future and you have a ton of questions. Those questions probably include the following. What are bustles in wedding dresses? Do you need a bustle in your wedding dress? What are the different types of bustles? Well, here’s where you can get the answers.

Why We Have Wedding Dress Bustles

Bustles are tailored additions to wedding dresses that help you move around naturally and comfortably without having to worry about stepping on your dress. Without them, you’d have a hard time dancing on your wedding day. The more intricate the dances you’ll be doing, the more points you need in your bustle to make sure your dress is entirely floor length.

When you buy your wedding dress, it doesn’t come with a bustle because the bustle has to be tailored to your height. A seamstress will add buttons, ribbons, or hooks to “bustle” the wedding dress. 

You, or most likely a friend or relative, will lift your bustle for you when you need it after the ceremony and you need to move freely. It’s next to impossible to fasten a bustle while wearing the wedding dress.

Can’t I Use the Hanging Thing Under the Dress Like My Mum Did?

You could. That hanging thing is a train ribbon that is meant to hold the weight of the train on the coat hanger. If you use it as a bustle, your lining will show, it won’t look elegant, and you’ll quickly get tired of literally holding your train up while you dance. This was less of a problem in the past because wedding dresses were lighter, but today, you’ll wish you had a bustle. If you are concerned about budget, we can do a simple installation of a single bustle point so you can have all the joys of a bustled wedding dress without much expense.

Different Types of Wedding Dress Bustles

There are several types of bustles to choose from, and it’s best to be familiar with them before you visit your seamstress so you can tell them what you want. They will help you find the best option for your dress, needs, preference, and budget.

French (Sometimes Called an Under-Bustle)

With the French bustle, the train Is folded under itself and attached with a number of ribbons and hooks inside the layers of fabric. It is much easier to do than it sounds because the hooks are color-coordinated. The end result is a lovely, two-layer hem in the back. 

This bustle accentuates dresses with natural waistlines such as A-line or mermaid styles.

American (Sometimes Called an Over-Bustle)

The American bustle utilizes one or more hooks placed strategically throughout the waistline of the dress. It is called an over-bustle because the train is lifted up and hooked onto the top layer of the dress. These hooks will match your dress so they can’t be seen.

You can choose between 1-5 bustle pick-up points. The more points, the more dramatic your look will be. 

This type of bustle is well-suited to a wide variety of wedding dress styles including ball gown and mermaid.


A Ballroom bustle is created by lifting the train under the dress at several points to make it appear as though the dress had no train at all and has always been a floor-length gown. It is the best bustle to go with if you don’t want your dress to change its style when you bustle it. 

It suits all dress types, but it is the most expensive bustling option because it requires the most points.

Austrian Bustle

The Austrian bustle looks similar to theater curtains, drawn elegantly upward. The seamstress will install an internal cord to draw the train up into a ruched effect on the back of the gown.

Gowns with intricate detailing that you don’t want to hide or with bodice style tops and simpler skirts particularly benefit from this choice. This style is easiest for your bridesmaids to handle, but it is one of the more expensive options to install. 

Bow Bustle

For the bow bustle, the seamstress will lift the fabric over the gown and secure it under the bow or where a bow would be. It creates a flowing look that centers at your waist.

This style is best suited to dresses with bows or back bodice detailing but can be used with a wider variety of dresses. 

Royal Bustle

The Royal bustle lifts the train up to create one or more dramatic poofs in the back of the dress. It is a relatively simple bustle if the bride wants one pick-up point, but you can have multiples for the most drama.

This style is best for ball gowns with particularly full skirts or with cathedral-length trains.

Full or Demi

You can have a full or demi bustle. Full lifts your train so that you have a floor-length dress. Demi lifts the train just enough that you can move freely. 

The Most Popular Bustles

We find most brides choose the American, Ballroom, and Bow bustles and lean toward a smaller number of attachments. But some want that extra flair that come from multiple pick-up points. Whether you want understated or dramatic, the most popular or the most unique, or a special request of your own, we listen to what you want.

Securing The Bustle

You should definitely bring a bridesmaid with you to watch as we attach the bustle for the first time so they know how to do it on your wedding day. To preserve the perfect beauty of your wedding gown, we make the attachments for the bustles as invisible as possible while still being findable by your bridesmaids. 

Different bustle types and fabrics use different fasteners. 

With French bustles, we use colour-coded ribbons so it’s easy for someone to simply match the bottom ribbons to the top ribbons of the same colour. 

Tulle usually works best with hooks and thread eyes so the eye stays hidden. If the eye blends in too well, we’ll add a small pearl to make it easier to find. Sometimes we use clear fireline (beading thread which is similar to fishing line and holds 6lb in weight) to hook the bustle to the waistline.

For bustles in crepe, we use fireline and a clear button to make it invisible. Bridesmaids can fasten it with the matching button or concealed hook. 

To make it as easy as possible to hook the bustle on your wedding day, we give you pictures to use as a guide for where the fasteners are. To see our portfolio gallery follow this link.

Contact Rachel’s Custom Sewing to determine which bustle is best for you, and read this post to know what to expect for your fitting. 

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