SteamPunk Bustle for TempleCon

Manuela has been invited to dance at a local convention called TempleCon and the motif is steampunk.  She asked me to create a bustle for the outfit she had in mind.  So, we started digging into the piles of material that seemed to have accrued in the house and we did indeed find something that had great texture, some sheen and folded well.  I then went out onto the web and looked at bustles.
What information I could find was either you got to pay me to tell you, that there was no real way to do it or that there was actually a very specific way to do it.  Paying you to tell me ain’t working for me and the specific way was in an old book from the late 1800’s that I was going to be unable to get.  The not so specific way seem to be a matter of folding things and arranging them till you got what you wanted.  Sounds like a plan to me.

The piece of material that I had to work with could have been a bit longer.  Initially, I cut the length into thirds and then worked each tier individually connecting them all at the waist.  The clothing dummy that I had built earlier in the year was indispensable to this process.  As you can see from the pictures, I pinned the first piece of material to the waist and then started pulling from the bottom up trying to discern a process to follow.  With each try, I recorded what I did with drawings in a very step-by-step manner.  It didn’t take too much foresight to realize that I would eventually find something I really liked but unless I recorded it somehow, there was no way I was going to be able to do it twice.  On the fifth try, I got the first tier of the bustle process together.  I then took the folds apart, followed the drawings and sewed it back together step-by-step with small tacks of thread to hold the folds in place.

The second tier was simply a repeat of the process.  The third and fourth tier are actually one piece of material folded over so that the third tier falls short of the length of the fourth tier.  These two tiers were actually folded inward as opposed to outward.  Again each step of the process was drawn on paper and when I found what I wanted, I simply followed the instructions.

I have done some other work and alterations on the entire costume and Manuela will be using it this Saturday coming.  We shall see how it goes!