How to Make a Bustle Without Sewing

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A bustle allows you to lift the train of your dress for easier movement.
A bustle allows you to lift the train of your dress for easier movement. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A bustle is a beautiful way to gather the extra fabric at the back of a long dress without sacrificing style. Bustles have been around since the 1800s when the hoop skirt gave way to the full-backed Victorian dress. Today, the most common use of a bustle is holding up the train of a wedding dress. If you want to add a temporary bustle or just don’t want to sew, adding a bustle can be done without using a needle and thread.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety pins
  • Cord or ribbon
  • Tape

Choose the type of bustle that you want to create. There are dozens of bustle styles and the one that you choose is largely a matter of picking one that works with your dress. Look for a bustle that anchors on the seams of your dress. A French bustle is one of the more common bustles that works well because it fastens on the three seams that make up the back of many dress trains. Choose a bustle that hides the safety pins that you are using in its folds.

Lay out your wedding dress with the underside of the train facing up and all of the train layers spread out. Make sure that all of the seams and edges line up.

Plan out the placement of the bustle ties. The layout of your fastenings depend on the style of bustle that you choose. Attach a safety pin on top of the fabric wherever your bustle requires a fastening, puncturing only the lining of the dress. Continue until you have laid out all of the fastenings.

Feed the first safety pin through the fabric of the dress, poking through the outside layer of fabric. Turn the safety pin and feed it back through the dress as close as you can to the original hole. Close the safety pin. Continue this until all of the safety pins are fastened.

Wrap medical or sports tape around the head of the pin to prevent it from opening or getting caught on something.

Cut ribbon or cord into 4-inch pieces, cutting as many pieces as you have safety pins. Cut the ribbon on an angle so that it does not fray.

Tie one ribbon or cord onto each safety pin with a knot. If you are using a cord, tie the loose end in a knot to prevent it from fraying.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using safety pins on delicate material causes rips. Make sure to only fasten safety pins to seams if your dress is made out of a delicate material like silk or lace.

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