Austrian Bustle… Kind of

P3210035In the last two years there has been an increase in popularity of graduation dresses that are above the knee in the front and have a long train in the back. Recently a client brought one to me that needed to be shortened in the back over 30″. She loved the train and wanted to keep it, but needed a bustle for practical reasons on Grad Day. We tried several over and under bustles but they seemed too formal for the age of the graduate and the party style of the dress. The solution? An Austrian Bustle… kind of.

An Austrian bustle is created by running a ribbon down the back seams of a gown. When you pull on the ribbon the train bunches up like a balloon shade. (In heavier gowns I use drapery rings and a drawstring to create an effect similar to a roman blind.) I love this type of bustle because they distribute the weight of the train evenly over a large area and therefore are easier to carry and less likely to fail after getting up and sitting down 100 times to say hello to all of your guests. (They are also foolproof to bustle day of: no searching for buttons or snaps, no matching of ribbons- just pull the cord and go.)

grad dress blueFor this occasion we decided to tack the seams like an accordion all the way around the gown. This created an effect of gradual fullness in the back and looked beautiful from the front – remember, this dress is above the knee so the bustle is visible from the front and the back at all times. As an extra bonus this alteration also ended up being cheaper than cutting off the train.

Cost of hemming this dress: $70
Cost of bustle for this dress: $50