Since deciding on the bustle dress ensemble project, I have been looking at the construction of the bustle frame. For those that don’t know, this is the piece that makes the dress.
It is made from a large, varying group of materials from cloth, wire, steel, plastic, wood, and sometimes bone. The frame it’s self is what determines the size of the bustle, and it changes from one year to the next. So really, in order to determine what kind of bustle frame to make, I first have to decide what kind of bustle the dress will have. This is the part where I really wish I had the ability to sketch something out, at least well enough that it makes sense when you look at it. Instead, I will use images I was able to find to try to narrow it down.
This first one is a cotton and wire combination. It’s more for the type of bustle skirt that has a bit of a “train” at the back. It supports the heavier fabric skirts better, because it has the wire support. The potential downsides I can see are that a- the wire pokes through the cotton, b- the wire bends if you sit on it (unless you can master the art of gathering the supports before sitting) c- It wouldn’t work with a skirt that was narrower at the ankle.
Here you have the Langtry Bustle frame. This seems to solve the problem of sitting on the supports and bending them, and quite well if I may add. It’s almost like a device. It looks like it would also support the heavier fabrics, and work well with a dress that is narrower at the bottom. Truthfully I think that is the direction I will go. The only downside I can see is that it’s meant to be made from steel. I would imagine it would get quite expensive, creating a reproduction. But I wonder how it would work making a similar one from some kind of heavy weight plastic?
This one is similar to the one I posted above it, but it is shown with the underskirt. The more I look and think about this type of bustle, the more I think I will probably go in this direction. I like the idea of having the bustle high in the back, and having a somewhat narrower skirt at the bottom toward the calves and ankles.
Here you can see the front and back of a dress similar to what I mentioned. I love that it has all of the detail in the skirt, and then the gathering is on the apron or overskirt in the back. This would cover anything left exposed by the underskirt, and also mask any flaws. I like the ruffling on the underskirt above, the pleats don’t look as nice to me. The whole ensemble can be seen here.
This is an excellent example of the jacket I mentioned in the first post. It accommodates the bustle, and addresses my concerns of modesty. I really like the 3/4 length sleeve also, and I am pretty certain that is what I will do with mine. However, I’m probably going to use a ruffle instead of fur for trim.
I do really like the overall flow of this dress, the skirt is narrow enough at the ankles, and it would accommodate almost any size of bustle. I would probably make mine just a bit bigger. I also like the simplicity of this one, thought I most definitely will not being doing mine monochromatic. I also like the box pleat on the trim, it looks “frilly” but doesn’t have too much body too it. I would dare say this is nearly a perfect example of what I will be making. The only thing I don’t like is the back of the jacket, I will have it split as I mentioned earlier, so it will accommodate almost any bustle. I kind of feel like it looks less “stiff” than this one.
And of course I will be making a hat to match the whole thing. 🙂
So, blog readers, what are your thoughts? Do you like the pleating or the gathered ruffle better? What about color? Should I make a fuller underskirt? Should the overskirt be shorter? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.