...a bustle, I mean, or a tournure.

Originally I had planned *not* to make a big ole honkin' bustle, but I can see now why it is a necessity.  The big huge skirt of a well-trained gown needs support beyond just the petticoat.  On my dress form now, I have a bum pillow, a wire collapsible bustle, a slim petticoat with flounces at the hem, my 18th c. flounced petticoat, and the trained bustle petticoat.  All that to support the skirt on top, but it's no good - it's TOO much!  The layers are so thick that the waist is no longer elegant and slim.

Enter the lobster tail.

The idea with the long bustle is to provide the necessary oomph at the bum, but to also support the back of the skirt all the way down, where it needs it most.  How many of you have suffered "bustle slump?"  I know I have...
This is an old project, but a good example of "bustle slump" - the back is dipping inward and not flowing out nicely, because there is no support back there.  Dang... this thing is ugly...

Here is a bustle from The Met that I've been eyeballing this morning...

The Met, 1880s - a great example.  This one has a ruffle that buttons on mid-way up.  The waistband ties at front, and the skirting at the sides also tie across the front.
The Met, 1880s.  A better view of the ruffle where it buttons on, and also how the hoops squeeze in halfway down.
 This is very typical of this type of bustle, though certainly not "the rule."  Here are some additional images showing how this sort of contraption works:
The Met, 1883
The Met, early 1870s
The Met, 1885

 My plan is to...well, I don't really have a plan.  Truly Victorian has a pattern (TV163), as does Patterns of Time, but if I'm honest, this doesn't look so hard to figure out, and I don't have patience enough to wait for a pattern to arrive.  So it's time to go experiment with giant zip ties and a fair amount of muslin!