Toss Me! (DIY Garter Tutorial)

As I alluded to in my last post, I decided to DIY my garter that will be used for the garter toss. Yes, we will be doing the bouquet and garter toss, another tradition that we decided to include, because… well, we have lots of unmarried friends, and it’s fun! The tosses have been done at almost every wedding I’ve attended, so I thought we might as well do it, too.

So on our wedding day I will be wearing my old blue garter as my something blue, and this new one which will be tossed. And for about $10 of materials from the fabric store (purchased during a sale, yay!), I’d say this DIY garter turned out pretty nicely!

The following is my little tutorial on the steps I took to make this garter. I know there have been several tutorials, such as the ones by Miss Cheeseburger, Miss Poodle, and Mrs. Peach, however they were all a bit different, so I thought I’d chime in with my two cents. I tend to use the “fake it until you make it” approach to sewing, but who knows, maybe this will help someone out!

I started out by gathering my supplies, several types of lace, elastic, pins, thread, etc. (photographed on top of my sweet new purple laptop!):



I really wanted a soft, romantic, frothy, lacy, vintage-y feel to my garter, so I opted to use several layers of different lace, as well as a sheer layer for under the lace, all in an antique cream color. I was envisioning sort of like a Victorian lacy tutu, kind of along the lines of the garters Miss Scissors drooled over, but I’d already finished Photoshopping the mock-up of my garter by the time she posted them, or I might have been tempted just to buy one of those!

I started by just wrapping the elastic around my thigh about mid-way up, stretched it to a comfy tightness, and pinned it with a little overlap. I then used a pencil to mark where the overlaps were, so I could see where to sew it after unpinning it later. As a side note, the elastic I ended up getting actually wasn’t very stretchy. I would get a different brand if I were to ever make another garter. I then cut the lace about 5-6 inches longer than the elastic (with more stretchy elastic, you might want to cut it even longer).


Then I pinned the layers of lace and shear material together at the top, with the lace falling in three layers, and the sheer layer underneath for volume and a little more color, like so:

Next it was time for the fake it/wing it part: the gathering! Normally I would have done a project like this on my sewing machine (and it probably would have only taken a half hour on the machine), but I needed something to occupy my time while watching TV or babysitting the laser cutter while it cut our invitations, so I decided to go the much slower, hand-sewing route.

On the sewing machine, a gathering stitch would have taken care of this much quicker, but instead, by hand I started by folding the elastic and lace in half, pinning it at the halfway point, and then pinning the ends of the elastic and lace together, as well. Then, I held the pinned elastic and lace at the ends and at the half way point, stretching it as far as it would go and pinning it at the half way point between those two points (the quarter point of the whole garter). In the first picture below you can see the ends, quarter, half and 3/4ths points pinned. I continued stretching the half way points between pins and pinning those all around the elastic and lace, until I had increasingly smaller sections, eventually ending up with the gathered pleats you see in the second picture below.


Then came the long process of hand sewing the elastic and lace together. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming, and I again wished I’d just done this on my sewing machine and gotten it done in minutes. I’m not the neatest hand sewer either, which you can see in the second picture below, but I don’t think whoever catches this garter will care about the stitching on the inside!


After the elastic and lace were connected, it was time to add the border lace with pearls. I pretty much repeated the process of stretching and pinning with this pearl border, but made sure to concentrate the larger pleats on the backside of the garter, to keep the front cleaner. And once that was sewn, I retried on the garter, to make sure the overlap marks I’d made were still an accurate fit (they were), and sewed the ends together at the overlap. Prior to doing that, I ran a lighter flame on the edge of the lace, to make sure it wouldn’t fray. I also made sure to sew the overlap so that the top layer was facing toward the back of the garter, which also makes things look cleaner.

Then I cut a pearl strand off the leftover lace border, and tied it with thread into a bow (you can’t actually tie it in a bow very well), and then sewed that and a lavender ribbon bow onto the front of the garter, like so:

This garter could have very well been done at this point, but if you all know anything about me by now, it’s that I always have to go just one step further, to take my DIY projects to the next level. So I went ahead and added this pretty cameo button, to complete the “Victorian lacy tutu” look I was going for.

And THEN it was done! :)

Will you be doing the garter toss at your wedding? And if so, will you be taking a stab at DIYing your garter?

(all pictures in this post are personal photos)

BLOGGER

Mrs. Cola

Location:
Mountain View, CA
Wedding Date:
June 2010

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comments

  1. Member
    nachos 1721 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:12 am

    Very pretty! And you saved so much money making it yourself, nice work!

  2. Member
    Danish_Student 396 posts, Helper bee @ 8:38 am

    It’s so cute! You inspire me, Cola – I must make a garter as well.

  3. Member
    rainbow 1525 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:36 am

    Too much work for me, but it’s sooo pretty!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah, Guest @ 10:48 am

    My grandma used to sew to elastic by stretching it across her la-z-boy lounger and pinning each end to an armrest. That way it stays stretched out–and you’re committed to finishing the project before you get out of the chair!

  5. Member
    KMSull 6442 posts, Bee Keeper @ 11:07 am

    This is amazing! So, so gorgeous.

  6. Member
    Miss Chicken Wing 1225 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:24 am

    I think you accomplished your vision!!!!

  7. Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:02 pm

    Great tutorial! I had no idea how to make it stretchy.

  8. Member
    msbuttons 5014 posts, Bee Keeper @ 7:17 pm

    Wowwwww fabulous job!!!!

  9. Member
    krissybee 3921 posts, Honey bee @ 6:21 pm

    that looks awesome, great job!

  10. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 12:24 am

    wow that just looks like a professionally made one! awesome!

  11. Member
    hotwings 2200 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:49 pm

    beautiful! I’m thoroughly impressed!

  12. Member
    amyinchrist 2 posts, Wannabee @ 11:39 am

    Ohhhhhhh my gosh I love this!!!!!!!!
    I would pay anything $$$$ to have you custom make make my guarter….PLEASE, pretty please!!!!!!!! :D

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Hillary Jo, Guest @ 1:21 am

    Pretty! I’m making mine too and your instructions were very helpful! I think you’d like mine; it’s 8 inches of dual layer antique crochet trim with a blue ribbon to bunch it daintily in the middle.

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