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What is the difference between French and American bustle?

If you’ve ever been shopping for a wedding dress or have helped someone shop for one, you may have come across the terms “French bustle” and “American bustle.” These terms can be a bit confusing if you’re not familiar with them, but don’t worry. In this article, we’ll be exploring the difference between French and American bustles to help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a bustle for your wedding dress.

What is a Bustle?

Before we dive into the differences between French and American bustles, let’s first define what a bustle is. A bustle is a sewing technique used to lift the train of a wedding dress off the ground, making it easier for the bride to walk and dance. Bustles can be created in a variety of ways, depending on the style of the dress and the bride’s personal preference.

French Bustle

A French bustle is also known as an European bustle or the “over-bustle”. This style, as the name suggests, originated in France. It often features a set of ties that allow the train to be lifted up, creating a beautiful, flowing cascade of fabric. The bulk of the fabric folds over itself to create a neat and elevated look. Most of the time, French bustles are sewn from underneath the dress.

American Bustle

An American bustle is also called a “ballroom bustle” or “under-bustle.” This style lifts the train up from underneath the gown, creating a more subtle and streamlined look. You will find with this style, when you lift the train, it creates two layers, creating a fluffier and fuller impression. It is favored because it gives the dress an understated hem line with a neatly tucked train that enhances the dress.

What are the Differences?

The main difference between French and American bustles is where the fabric is lifted and how it is positioned once it’s lifted. French bustles lift the fabric up and over itself, creating a more dramatic look, while American bustles lift the fabric from underneath, creating a subtler effect.

Another key difference is in the bustle type. French bustles are created using ribbons, loops, or buttons, while American bustles use hooks and eyes. With the French bustle, the ties loop over buttons sewn into the dress, letting the train flow free. On the other hand, the American bustle hitches the train into loops sewn beneath the dress, creating a more subtle look.

Which Style is Best?

There is no definitive answer to this question since both styles serve different purposes. The choice of bustle should be based on the bride’s personal preference and the dress design. The French bustle gives a more dramatic look and works best with long trains or dresses with extensive layering or ruffles. In contrast, the American bustle creates a fluffier hemline that enhances the dress without being too obvious.


In conclusion, French and American bustles are two of the most common bustles used on wedding dresses. Each style has its unique advantages, and the decision on which style to choose should be based on the bride’s personal preference and the dress design. So whether you’re an bride-to-be, or a stylist wanting to offer helpful advice to your clients, we hope this article has helped you understand the difference between French and American bustles.


What is the easiest bustle?

When it comes to choosing a bustle style for your bridal gown, there are a variety of options available. With a range of options, it is easy to get lost in the sea of information. However, if you are looking for the easiest bustle style, French bustle or under-bustle is one of the simpler options available.

The French bustle is the most widely used bustle style. It is sometimes also referred to as an under-bustle. This style of bustle involves the use of buttons, eyelets, or hooks and loops to elevate the train of the gown and secure it to the waistline of the dress.

The basic concept behind the French bustle is to create a series of loops and hooks on the underside of the wedding gown. The loops are typically built out of the same fabric as the dress and are attached at strategic points on the underside of the train. The hooks are usually installed just above or at the level of the waistline to fit around the loops. When hooked correctly, the train of the gown is lifted and secured, providing a comfortable and easy-to-move-in dress.

This bustle style is best for mermaid, sheath, and A-line gowns as the train does not typically have a lot of volume. It’s one of the easier bustle techniques, and when executed properly looks clean and simple. Not only is it easy to create, but it is also easy to bustle and unbustle throughout the day without needing advanced skills.

If you are looking for an easy and simple bustle style for your wedding gown, then the French bustle or under-bustle is your answer. It is an excellent choice for brides-to-be who want to do the bustle themselves without requiring advanced dress-making skills.

Can you do your own bustle?

When planning for your wedding day, you might wonder if there are ways to save money and cut corners without compromising on the elegance of your big day. One way to save money is to make some of the necessary alterations to your wedding dress yourself, including adding a bustle.

Bustles are necessary to allow the train of your wedding dress to be lifted off the floor, making it easier to walk and dance, as well as keeping the dress cleaner throughout the evening. While you might think adding a bustle to your wedding dress is best left to a professional seamstress, it is actually possible to learn how to do it yourself, especially if you are handy with a needle and thread.

The first step is to decide which type of bustle you want for your dress. There are multiple types of bustles, each with a unique look and level of difficulty in execution. Some popular styles include the French bustle, American bustle, and the ballroom bustle. Once you have decided on the type of bustle that you want, the next step is to collect all necessary materials, including needles, thread, and possibly a sewing machine.

It’s important to note that not all wedding dresses are suitable for a DIY bustle. If your dress has intricate or delicate detailing, it may be best to leave the bustle to a professional. However, if your dress is simple and has a plain fabric, it’s easier to learn how to bustle it yourself.

To begin, try the dress on and have someone else help you pin the layers of fabric to determine the spot where you’d like to attach the bustle. You should also decide if you want the bustle to pull the train up into a loop or fold the train under the dress. Once everything is pinned in place, use a needle and thread to secure the fabric in the desired position. Be sure to sew the fabric tight enough so that your bustle will stay secure but not so tight that it creates tension on the dress.

While doing your own bustle might take some time and patience, it is definitely possible with the right tools, materials, and a bit of practice. It can be a great way to save money and take control of the entire process, giving you the confidence and satisfaction that you did something special for your big day.