Last Friday night, I took a class with the industrious Mary Crawley, leader of the local Steampunk club, High Desert Steam, to learn how to make this clever, collapsible, wire bustle.
Modeled after an example from the V&A, this bustle is constructed of 6 struts, a cross piece, twill tape, and elbow grease.
Here is the effect it has on a bustle skirt.
We made ours out of wire coat hangers, straightened then bent into consecutive arcs, and threaded onto the wire cross piece. With Mary's help, it took about 2 hours to complete the whole thing, start to finish, and now I have a lightweight, rather large bustle to put under future 1880s costumes. Yay!