I have become an expert - in my own mind - at bustling. Last week I lost count of how many I did. I spent countless hours bustling. I ran out of ribbon at one point. I had 2 (or was it 3) gowns in particular that quite honestly gave me headaches. Usually I can whip out a full set of french bustles (meaning up to 6-7 bustle points) in about 1 1/2 hours. I tend to make pretty good money on bustling. Kind of makes up for some of the other alterations I do that never become money makers! Both of these gowns were needing tiered french bustling, which is probably, in my humble opinion, the loveliest of all bustles. Typically they are not any more difficult than your regular french bustle. What made these different, was that the first one had layers and layers and layers . . . all of different fullness. Each layer (in order to look pretty and not sloppy) needed to be bustled individually. The dress had a total of 11 bustle points. 3 of these were on the main fabric layer, just to pull it up and out of the way; not so much for the look. The rest of the bustle points were for the outer sheer/lace layers. I started with 3 at the top layer, and 5 across the bottom. I so wish I had taken the time to take a picture of it. It was really beautiful. But I had so much to do and didn't waste a moment. And for as much time as this dress took, I had to work double time! The bustling on this gown took almost 4 hours.
The next dress I bustled was even worse. A lovely Matthew Christopher gown, simplistic in style (which is an oxymoron for Matthews gowns!), it was actually a 'mistake' he made, but decided to finish it anyway. It is one of his best sellers. The gown is strapless with a sweetheart neckline, very very fitted to mid thigh, where it flares out quite drastically in to a very full 2-layered skirt. There are 3 - 1" bands of silver sequins at the waist and again at the point where the skirt skirt flares out. Again, we decided on a tiered bustle. When I pinned it up at out first fitting, it was a bit sloppy, but it was only to give the bride an idea of what it will look like. However, when I got it home to work on, well, lets just say that the skirt seemed to swell in volume. And to make it worse, the outer layer had no back seam to line up for accuracy in symmetry. With all that fullness falling all over the place, it was almost impossible to get the layers to lay symmetrically upon each other. So, as with the previous gown, I finally decided to tier each layer individually. 4 hours later . . .Makes for more bustling, but also makes for a truly beautiful fall of fabric. Again - in a rush - no pictures. So sorry!
This next one, though, I will take pictures. HUGE skirt, draped at the sides into pleats and folds with a huge swoop of fabric across the back. Originally, the bride wanted me to just do a couple traditional bustles, swooping the fabric from the sides to button at the back. Boring. For the drama this dress presents, it needs a much more dramatic bustle. Yesterday I spent another 5 hours simply playing with it. I think I have it figured out. I came up with an idea I haven't seen in bustling before. This is not to say that I have 'invented' a new bustle! But wouldn't that be cool if I did? I'm sure some one somewhere has done it before. But for me it is a new technique.
But you will have to tune back in tomorrow to see what it is! Pictures - i promise!