How to Make a Bustle Out of Tulle

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Things You'll Need

  • 4 yards of tulle

  • 2-plus yards of grosgrain ribbon

  • Measuring tape

  • Scissors

  • Pins

  • Needle

  • Thread

  • Sewing machine

The traditional bustle was worn underneath a long formal skirt to add fullness.
Image Credit: Discovod/iStock/Getty Images

A bustle was traditionally a framework used underneath a woman's skirt in order to give the rear section a fullness. This was a pared down version of the hoop skirts that had been so fashionable at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. By the latter part of the 19th century, women's fashions were changing and that much fullness was no longer desired. Bustles are still used in costuming and cosplay on a regular basis -- but a modified tulle bustle meant to be worn on the outside can be a fun and funky addition to anyone's wardrobe.


Step 1

Measure the length from the waist to the approximate point on your leg that you want the bustle to hit.

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Step 2

Measure the back of your waist from one side to the other. This bustle is made to be worn on the outside on the back of your body.

Step 3

Lay the ribbon out on a flat surface and mark the center with a pin. Divide the width of the partial waist measurement by two. Measure out from the center pin and mark with another pin on both sides.

Step 4

Lay the tulle on a flat surface and measure out the desired length. Cut along the full width of the tulle.


Step 5

Sew a long running stitch through one end of the tulle and gather or bunch it up so it has a ruffled look. Be sure to even out the gathers along the width and adjust the gather to match the pinned length on the grosgrain ribbon. Pin the tulle temporarily to the underside of the ribbon.

Step 6

Measure out 3/4 yard of tulle and cut using its full width. Fold this piece of tulle in half and sew a running stitch through both layers along the cut edges. Pull the thread and gather to match the pinned area on the ribbon. Carefully lift up the pins in the ribbon and pin this piece of tulle down also.


Step 7

Cut 1/2 yard of tulle, once again along its full width. Again, fold in half and sew a running stitch through both layers. Pin this piece down on top of the other tulle, but under the pinned ribbon.

Step 8

Sew through all layers of ribbon and tulle using a running stitch to secure the tulle in place.

Step 9

Tie this bustle around the waist with the tulle flounces positioned in the back.


More tulle cut at shorter lengths could be added on top to give a fuller effect.

Different colors of tulle and ribbon can be used to make a more whimsical bustle.

A ruffler or gathering foot attached to your sewing machine will make the process easier if you've never done it.


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