Toss Me! (DIY Garter Tutorial)

DIY Garter Tutorial with Victorian Lace

As I alluded to in my last post, I decided to create a DIY garter to use for the garter toss. Yes, we will be doing the bouquet and garter tosses, another tradition that we decided to include, because…well, we have lots of unmarried friends, and they’re fun! The tosses have been done at almost every wedding I’ve attended, so I thought we might as well do them, 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 Poodle and Mrs. Peach, but 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!


  • several types of lace
  • elastic
  • pins
  • thread

(photographed on top of my sweet new purple laptop!)

DIY garter supplies

I really wanted a soft, romantic, frothy, lacy, vintage-y feel to my DIY 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!


Step 1: I started my DIY garter by just wrapping the elastic around my thigh about midway 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 five or six inches longer than the elastic. (With stretchier elastic, you might want to cut it even longer.)

white elastic pinned in circle

white elastic

Step 2: Then I pinned the layers of lace and sheer 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:

ivory lace

layers of ivory lace

Step 3: Next, it was time for the fake it/wing it part of my DIY garter: 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 halfway point, stretching it as far as it would go and pinning it at the halfway 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 three-quarters points pinned. I continued stretching the halfway points between pins and pinning those all around the elastic and lace until I had increasingly smaller sections of my DIY garter, eventually ending up with the gathered pleats you see in the second picture below.

sewing lace to elastic

ivory lace garter

Step 4: 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 DIY garter will care about the stitching on the inside!

sewing a lace garter

stitches on back of DIY garter

Step 5: After the elastic and lace were connected, it was time to add the border lace with pearls to my DIY garter. 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 tried on the garter again, 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.

lace garter with pearl trim

Step 6: 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 I sewed that and a lavender ribbon bow onto the front of the garter, like so:

finished DIY lace garter

Step 7: 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.

ivory lace garter with lavender ribbon and pearls

lace garter with lavender ribbon

And THEN my DIY garter 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.)


Mrs. Cola

Mountain View, CA
Wedding Date:
June 2010
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  1. hotwings Bee
    hotwings 2200 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:49 pm

    beautiful! I’m thoroughly impressed!

  2. 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!!!!!!!! 😀

  3. 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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