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  • How to make a Mess Bustle?

    I don't know how to start a mess bustle, i've looked all over the internet on how to make one and there are no instructions on how to make one. So if anybody has any formation on how to make one I would really appreciate it.

    Thank You

    in

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ego-hut-key View Post
    I don't know how to start a mess bustle, i've looked all over the internet on how to make one and there are no instructions on how to make one. So if anybody has any formation on how to make one I would really appreciate it.
    There are a couple of ways to do this - the more traditional(old-style) way and more contemporary methods. The way I was taught(and a mess bustle was my first bustle), was each feather put on the bustle represented a prayer to the Creator, so when you wore the feather you were reminded of all those prayers. Some people may criticize me for simply giving instructions without the entire reason for the bustle. But, you asked how, not why.
    Now the method of making the bustle is fairly simple - make loops of feathers, sewn together with thread or sinew.
    Simply push a needle with thread through the tip of the quills, and when you get the desired look for that row, tie the ends of the thread together to make your first loop. put aside for now, and repeat with slightly larger feathers.
    Each loop gets slightly larger, as the feathers get a bit larger/longer. Ideally you don't want a lot of feathers that are very long, though. I'd say the longest feathers would be like short turkey tail feathers - 10-12" at the longest. The feathers on the smallest loop should be hackles or body feathers. And each loop in between should have feathers that fall in between in size and length. Feathers can also be dyed various colors, if you like - red, yellow, and green are popular and easy to do. RIT dye, or Kool-Aid both work very well.
    When you get a number of loops together, place them one on top of the other, with the smallest on top. Does it look like a bird's nest? If so, you're on the right track. If not, you might want to add some feathers to some of the rows to thicken the loops up a bit. Don't be afraid to add too many, as long as the loop doesn't get too big.
    When you get enough rows/loops to make the 'nest appearance', take a leather disk, larger than the largest of the loops in diameter, punch two holes in it, run a leather thong through the two holes, and through the middle of all the loops, and lay aside.
    Now the back is where the true defining moment of old style versus contemporary comes into being. Old Style bustles were put on a rectangle of rawhide that was bent in half across the shortest length - think of a piece of typing paper that is folded across the middle. But, do not fold the rawhide in half, simply bend it over where one short side touches the other. These are tied together and the loop that this makes is worn over a belt. The trailer is attached to the bottom, where the two sides are tied together. Two holes corresponding to the thong through the 'nest' are punched in the rawhide, the thong being run through these and tied off. Then two spikes are put through holes in the top of the bend in the rawhide base. It's really that simple.
    Now the more contemporary might use plexiglass or Nylon/PVC sheets instead of rawhide, they also might use cardboard circles to glue the feathers to in increasing size instead of thread - think of disks glued one on top of the other like a stack of coins. Some folks use plywood for the bases and drill holes to attach the belt, etc.
    And, this is very important. You must do research into the verious decorations. There are crow belts that look very much like a mess/nest/junk bustle, but have very specific meanings. Please be sure you are making the right kind of bustle. If you are looking for a time-period specific bustle, be careful about using pheasant feathers, as pheasants were not native to North America - they didn't arrive until the late 1800's if I rmember correctly. Anyway, putting pheasant feathers on a nest bustle will date it as belonging to a certain time-period. PM me if you have any questions about the construction. I might have an article somewhere that I could send you...
    Scott
    Scott

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Quick to judge,
    Quick to anger,
    Slow to understand
    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear walk hand in hand.
    --Neal Peart(from the song Witch Hunt)

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    • #3
      Thanks a whole lot

      I apreciate it, and I will be sure to learn as mush about the styles of old-style bustles, and I would really apreciate it, if you could send the article that you were talking about. I want to know as much as I can so I don't affend anyone.

      Thanks Again,

      Echo-Hatke

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      • #4
        Almost there Scott me boyo!

        George Washington imported some of the first peheasants to N. America - apparently pheasant hunts were big amongst the nobility of Europe.

        Although as Scott says, the pheasant bustles weren't popular or common until the late 1800s.

        Originally posted by scottlollar View Post
        If you are looking for a time-period specific bustle, be careful about using pheasant feathers, as pheasants were not native to North America - they didn't arrive until the late 1800's if I rmember correctly.
        Scott
        Mii iw keyaa ezhi-ditibiseyaan

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        • #5
          But you also have to think about how long it took for the pheasant to make it west. They may have been available in the east early but it may have taken them awhile to be avialble and popular in the western tribes.

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          • #6
            Like I Said.....

            Any Information I get is great, It will help out alot so I don't look hokey, Thanks again

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            • #7
              "Mess" bustle

              I also have some directions but they are at my house I wont go back untill june but I can pick it up then. I think I have 2 sets one is for a pheasant Bustle.

              Well Scott posted one way to make it.

              As for making one I havent done one in a long time, I helped my uncle make one for his son. It's pretty straight forward just start either on the outside and work your way in or start in the middle and work your way out, making a circle of feathers, usually smallest feathers in the middle. We used a thick piece of leather and punched a couple of circles of holes, not too far apart because you want it to look full. Then we put a leather loop on the end of each feather tied each feather individualy in thier hole. For the spikes we used dowels wrapped in fur topped with some smaller feathers. Depending on the look your going for i've seen feathers all from the same type of bird and some with mixed birds.

              You should probably do some research and learn about the bustle. If your doing a period piece look at the tribe each tribe will have a diffrent one as it was passed along the bustle had elements of that tribe incorparated into it. (or this is what I've heard)

              If you wanna pm me ur email I can send you a bunch of pics that I have of "mess" bustles.

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              • #8
                Scott did a great job describing the construction. I have a mirror in the center of my bustle. It looks good and works well and is time period correct. Use a metal backed mirror (available from Crazy Crow, etc.) and remove the metal backing. Drill two holes near the center of the metal and pass a nylon boot lace through the holes. Reinstall the mirror to the metal backing. Then continue construction as Scott described. I also have some ribbons hanging down from the back of the mirror. Adds nice movement while dancing.
                Ron

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                • #9
                  You can also use hawk bells and yarn to decorate the bustle a bit. the decoration on the spikes can vary a bit, too. Some wrap the spikes in tradcloth strips, others attach sweetgrass braids to the spikes. Others do a combination. Mine has spikes wrapped in blue tradecloth, with fluffs at the end, and a string of small hawk-bells from just below the fluffs, hanging loosely and attached near the base of the spikes.
                  The mirror is definitely a good addition to the center - and it is very period specific. You could use a beaded rosette, though that isn't as common, and modern rosettes use colors that just weren't common in the 1800s, so be careful in choosing.
                  You also want to avoid neon colors, if you can, and try to avoid pre-dyed feathers you buy in a bag. It looks more authentic and shows more care, if you dye your feathers by hand, using teas, koolaid, rit dyes, etc. You'll probably want to wash the feathers off first to remove the oils so the dyes can set-in. Green, red, orange, yellow, and maybe blue were probably the most common dyes from the late 1800s(easily reproduceable at least, using plants or berries as well as textile dyes or inks).
                  I haven't found that article yet, but I'm still looking.
                  Scott

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  Quick to judge,
                  Quick to anger,
                  Slow to understand
                  Ignorance and prejudice
                  And fear walk hand in hand.
                  --Neal Peart(from the song Witch Hunt)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank You

                    I apreciate all the feedback, but I have a couple more ?'s, like when it is made can I take it apart like a traditional bustle and put it away, and is there any more ideas that would make it a lot more fancier (with in tradition of course).

                    again thanks for the info,

                    Ego-Hut-Key

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                    • #11
                      Sorry it's taken a little while, been out ill. I'll have the articles I PMed you about this week.

                      As for taking it apart, from the articles and mess bustles I've seen, they are very easy to take apart: take off the centerpiece and slip the layers off.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ego-hut-key View Post
                        I apreciate all the feedback, but I have a couple more ?'s, like when it is made can I take it apart like a traditional bustle and put it away, and is there any more ideas that would make it a lot more fancier (with in tradition of course).

                        again thanks for the info,

                        Ego-Hut-Key
                        You're not going to get too fancy with this style. I tied small strips of red satin fabric with white fluffs to the tips of my spikes. I also have a small amount of horsehair hanging from the tips of the spikes, although this was far less common. I have metal backed mirrors attached to my belt (at my sides) and red satin ribbons hanging down from my bustle center mirror. Strip some of the feathers in the busle to add movement while dancing. The instructions that Privateer has should show you how to do this.

                        It will easily disassemble for storage. These are the disassembled components: 1) The metal backed mirror with boot lace and all the feather clusters. Simply fold the feathers over the mirror and they'll compress nicely. 2) The spikes - simply remove them from the rawhide base. 3) The rawhide base with dowel, for trailers, and a belt. 4) The trailers - which can be folded if they are decorated with feathers, or rolled if they are plain.

                        Here's a couple of tips I picked up to keep things from falling off while dancing. After you insert the spikes into the rawhide base, put a small hole through the quill near the end. Put a large fishing snap swivel through the hole. The spike won't pull out with the snap in place. I keep the trailers from sliding off the dowel by safety pinning (small safety pin) to each trailer a short length of imitation sinew with a fishing snap swivel on the other end. When you slide the trailers on, hook them together with the snap swivels. Haven't lost one since doing this. Oh, the reason that I use the small safety pin instead of tying directly to the trailer, if someone steps on the trailer the pin will release before anything important breaks.

                        Hope this helps.
                        Ron
                        Ron S
                        Tiny Tot Dancer
                        Last edited by Ron S; 05-23-2007, 01:03 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I've never taken apart my mess bustle - I just put it in the trunk and go (no eagle feathers - makes border hopping smooth).

                          Speaking of no eagle feather bustles, I used to know a crew that had mess bustles when they were teenagers and they used to jut toss them into the hatchback and leave them there until the next dance. One of them had coffee spilled on it - he liked the way the stains played out and kept dancing it. The trunk really did a good job of messing the bustle.

                          Those guys really laugh at themselves today, but it's good times anyways.

                          Originally posted by Tx_grass_dancer View Post
                          But you also have to think about how long it took for the pheasant to make it west. They may have been available in the east early but it may have taken them awhile to be avialble and popular in the western tribes.
                          - Read the second line of my post.
                          Mii iw keyaa ezhi-ditibiseyaan

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                          • #14
                            Hey guys...does anyone have a pics of construction. Or perhaps up close shots of where all the feathers and leather comes together?

                            Brian

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                            • #15
                              Two Omaha men wearing "mess" bustles (aka "crow belt"). - 1907


                              "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                              "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                              --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

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