The Secret is Out: It’s a Bustle Belt

The prototype is complete!  Click to zoom in.

It's a Bustle Belt It's a Bustle Belt

Part mini-bustle, part bellydance coin belt, part sassy underwear-as-outerwear.


I used some leftover medium-weight woven cotton and plastic lumber ties cut to size and rounded on the edges.  You can’t see them, which is good because they are green and have black numbers printed on them.  In a not terribly interesting way.


The front edge is curved up from the hem to the long sash ties.  I solved the problem by cutting two of the curved pieces for each side, then sewed them together along the curved edge, turned, pressed, and stay-stitched the other edges inside the seam allowance and treated the resulting piece as one piece of fabric.  That’s one of the reasons I was sewing through so many layers.

I think the sash is the perfect length and width.  I also liked making the angled tips.


I think I’d like to make the front/side curves more obvious.

I may take a small dart at the back center of the sash to keep it from tilting so far down, which looks OK but wasn’t exactly what I was going for and might not work on all body types.

The fabric was WAY too heavy for the ruffles.  Good to know.  The last time I made ruffles, it was from a very light cotton fabric, so I’ll experiment with that, which gives fairly perky ruffles, and drapier fabrics like satin and velvet.  This fabric sort of makes it feel like a utili-bustle.

It’s not immediately obvious, but I’ve got some length issues at the side hem.  Chalk it up to my first pattern drafting attempt, and the complexity of construction.  My current idea for altering this is to shorten the ruffles, which allows the entire thing to be shorter.  Shorter is cuter.

Looking Forward

I have a lot of ideas for theming these bustle belts.  Of course, I’d like to do some up in various bellydance styles (American Tribal, Turkish, Eastern European, Egyptian), but I also want to do some in steampunk styles (Safari Adventuress, Naturalist, Cthulhu Enthusiast) and goth/industrial too.  I envision lots of jingly bits and yummy fabrics combined.

2 Responses to “The Secret is Out: It’s a Bustle Belt”

  • Kim Says:

    Beautiful work. Ruffles and layers are not easy and it’s even more impressive that you drew the pattern yourself too. I am wondering how one that didn’t have a tie at the front would look? The band could have elastic in it or be buttoned closed to make a simple line and then the garment could be worn over dresses and skirts. (it’s also perfect just the way it is.)

    • admin Says:

      Thanks, Kim! I’ve made one that had a skirt all the way around, and I didn’t like how it puffed out when it closed – I made that one from a pattern, and it was slit down to about 6 inches from the top and closed with a hook and eye. Here’s a picture of it under the polonaise:
      Polonaise and Bustle-8

      Of course, all this historical underwear wasn’t supposed to be seen (and was intended to be floor length) so that was one of the reasons I wanted to try a tie front. Plus, it makes it easier to fit lots of different sizes and body shapes.

      I like the idea of buttons down the front though… I think that would be super cute.

Leave a Reply