In deciding what to make with this awesome piece of fabric I considered that it was a nice large piece of uninterrupted fabric. Unlike cutting up a prom dress for fabric I didn't have to worry about seams or anything. I also wanted to use as close to 100% of the fabric for one project, for maximum impact. So I decided to make a long bustle skirt.
One full-length window panel.
Plastic Drapery rings - I used 5 for this skirt, so one small package should get you a couple of bustles.
Thin ribbon, probably needs to be smaller than 1/2" wide and of coordinating color with your fabric in case it gets seen due to passing breeze.
|I didn't take a "before" picture, but this is the curtain and the |
lining, showing where I cut them apart.
|You can see the zigzagged top edge and hemmed side.|
Then I hemmed all the way down the sides of my panel, pressing the fabric under by about 1/4" and then again 1/4" to hide the raw edge. I could have used the narrow hem foot again, but it sometimes leaves strings and this is a very fray-able fabric. For the top edge where it will attach to the waistband, I pinked it and then did a zig-zag stitch over it.
The next step is to gather the top of the panel. To do this, just run two lines of a large basting stitch along the top and pull the threads to gather the fabric. You can choose how much to gather based on how wide you want the finished bustle to be. Because my window panel is slightly smaller than standard 45" fabric, I didn't gather it all that much. Hold it up to your backside or a dressform to get an idea how big you want it.
Center your gathered panel on your waistband or tie. I like to pin it so that there is extra seam allowance from the panel so it's not too bulky at the waist. Stitch.
Now it's time to work on the bustle poufs. I decided this was an opportunity to explore the ribbon and drapery ring bustling method. I talk a bit about this method and show an alternative way of achieving it on my post about the Burda 7880 pattern. This time, I wanted to use ribbon instead of ring tape, and loose single drapery rings.
|Ribbon pinned in place.|
After attaching these rings, I suggest either putting the skirt on a dress form or a hanger and experiment with gathering the bustle however you like. Like I said, I knew I wanted to attach the bustle at at least three points, so I just had to decide how much fabric I wanted to gather up in the first tier of the bustle. (Using this method of bustling, you end up with pretty distinct tiers of flounces. I suppose unless you decide to pick three different heights to attach to your rings. Great, now I have to go try that ASAP. I was busy making these all line up straight and stuff.) So essentially you're pinching a spot of fabric from the wrong side and pulling it up to attach to the ring above it, to see how you like the drape. I know this is a little confusing, sorry. When you decide roughly where you want your flounce to attach to the ring, mark the spot and go get your ribbon. I didn't measure the lengths of ribbon I cut, but make them fairly long, maybe 15-20 inches long. One of the benefits of this bustling method is that you can adjust the look slightly, so you might want to tie it up more loosely to get a different drape.
|You probably can't see the stitching, but I did |
a rectangular box right on the edge of the ribbon.
|Probably can't see this either, but this is |
the stitching from the right side.
The stitching won't show on the right side once it's tied to the ring because it will be under the rest of the pouf, so don't worry about that.
|Each ring has two ribbons tied to it, one for each level.|
So I sewed on three ribbons under my three rings. Then I decided to do a second level of poufs to tie to these same rings. You could add more rings and attach the next layer at different places, or sew rings somewhere other than at the waist. (More on that in a bit.) So for the second layer of poufs, I did the same thing as before, sewing three more ribbons in a row further down the panel.
To bustle the skirt up, you tie your ribbons through your rings. In the above photo, they are tied in bows because I am still adjusting them, but for actual wear they need to be really well tied so they don't come undone and let your bustle down.
Here is the skirt on a dress form with these two levels of poufs. (Pardon my crappy photoshop. You didn't want to see the mess around this.)
I decided to do another level of poufs, but with only two ties in between my other three tie points. And because I wanted this pouf to be lower than the others, I sewed the two new rings to the folded edge between my previous level of ribbons. In the photo at right you should be able to see where the lowest level of ribbons is tied to the waist. Between these ribbons, on the fold of fabric made by tying the bustle up, I stitched my new rings, one on each side of the center. I jumped down a ways directly beneath each of these new rings and sewed on my third level of ribbons.
Once I tied everything up, it looked like this:
|Fabric with a flash. Extra prettiness thanks to my cat Oliver. |
He's a princess who LOVES pretty fabric.
As I mentioned, the benefit to doing the bustling with ribbon and rings is that you can adjust the bustle a bit. You can let some of the poufs hang lower if your ribbon is long enough. It's also a great technique if you want to have a skirt with a train at times, and be able to gather it up at other times so it doesn't drag. I would probably recommend wearing this bustle over a small-ish bustle pad just so it doesn't get totally flattened by sitting on it, but it's not strictly necessary. Especially if you have someone to pouf you back out again when you stand up.
I hope this was a helpful tutorial and it made some sense. (I promise my bustle pattern actually is much better explained with lots more pictures, I just kinda did this tutorial on the fly.) Let me know if you're confused and I'll try to help. This bustle skirt is for sale.