Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Cane Hoop Bustle - An Experiment

Pattern: None. Built right on the form.
Materials: #8 Round Reed (about 1/4" diameter). Cotton ribbon. Cotton string
Benefits: Very cost effective. Super lightweight, yet strong. Bustle collapses completely on itself and take up a storage space only 14" square, and barely 2" high. 
Down Side: Incredibly labor intensive. All hand work, and must be done on the form. 
Available on etsy HERE
This thing was a NIGHTMARE. The end result worked and I think the idea is sound, but the amount of labor that went into making it means I won't be reproducing this. Ever. In order to justify making these in any regular way, they would have to sell for like $250 each, which is an absurd price for a bustle. C'est la vie.

The Cane Hoop Bustle. The white pad on the dress form is not part of the bustle and should not be needed during regular wear. It is there just to make up for the fact that the dress form really doesn't have much of a butt, LOL
Here you see the silhouette this bustle creates under a petticoat

I won't say I had an "Issac Newton under the apple tree" moment, but I was watching my niece play with a slinky and I got an idea: A bustle made of full hoop circles. A slinky is spiral in shape, of course, but it gave me the idea. And, as always, necessity was the mother of the invention.

I bought a bunch of #8 round reed a few weeks ago, thinking I could use it in place of spring steel/hoop wire in standard cloth channel bustles. Well, it didn't work. Mostly because the "springiness" of the reed eventually wears off and the tension starts pulling the reed in on itself into a circle. So, I thought that if the reed wants to be in a circle, why not let it?

 Here you can see the thing mid stroke. I added two more hoops later on at strategic points, plus addition ribbons here and there (see finished photos further down). But, as you can see, it's definitely "prototype" in its construction. The reed is overlapped and wrapped with wire. No fancy metal or silicon connectors, etc. I could probably get them in an appropriate size, but this was an experiment, after all.

 You can see the reeds placed in to position with pins. The ribbons are double layer and the reed is between. I did all of this by eye, with a lot of shifting and pinning and prodding, and just a big pain in the butt. I could not imagine creating a pattern for this. There really wouldn't be a pattern. It would be just a list of piece measurements.


A video showing how the bustle collapses to such a small space. Sorry for the poor quality, but it's just me and my handheld. I really need to get a tripod...

 The points where the hoops overlap was a problem. Wire is what's really holding together. The ribbon is just to make it look better, and also cover the pointy bits of wire. I had to use a lot of glue at every point the reed meets the ribbon, otherwise, the ribbon might shift side to side in the future, completely ruining the shape of the whole thing.

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