Weddings are expensive, however, there are many easy ways to cut costs. Traditional wedding receptions include a garter toss, and garters retail from $12 to $45. The materials I used to make the garter below cost less than $4. Not only will you save money by making your own, but it will be so cute you will not want to give it away.
The materials you will need include, elastic (preferably one fourth of an inch wide and a close color match to your other materials), lace or strip of fabric, matching thread, scissors, straight pins, sewing machine and ribbon or whatever other embellishments you want. This is a custom garter for you. Make it unique.
Step 1: Pick out the materials you want. Lace and ribbons are the most common. Often the lace on a wedding garter is white or ivory, but it doesn’t have to be. Either the lace or ribbon embellishment on the garter is a great place to incorporate color. In this case, we have the old lace neckline of the bride’s grandmother’s wedding dress and cream and gold ribbon to match the bride’s theme.
Step 2: Wrap elastic around the bride’s thigh and pull tight. Not so tight circulation is cut off but tight enough for the garter to stay in place. Keeping the elastic around the leg, cut elastic so there is half an inch of elastic free on both ends. Lace and embellishments should be almost twice as long as the elastic. Here I am working with an old lace neckline, so we will make it work with the length we have. Also, the original neckline does not lay flat, so I cut the flowers apart where there was a curve so it can be laid in a straight line.
Step 3: Overlap elastic ends half an inch and sew together with a zig-zag stitch to create an elastic ring. Do the same with the lace strip. Since I cut the lace apart to lay it straight, my lace strip is currently in pieces. If yours is like mine, keep reading this step. Using the straight pins to keep lace pieces together, sew a zig-zag stitch along the width to create a continuous strip of lace. Hint: Don’t worry if the stitches don’t look perfect. Lace is already web-like so the stitches blend in, also the finished project will be gathered, hiding imperfections. As long as the thread matches the lace, you are golden.
Step 4: Now you should have a lace circle and an elastic circle. Fold lace in half and mark the sides with a straight pin. Fold lace in half the other direction and mark with pins. Do the same to the elastic and combine the two. Blocking off the elastic and lace ensures that the gathering will be consistent throughout the garter while it is being sewn.
Step 5: If there is a detachable piece on your sewing machine, take it off so the project will more easily fit around the sewing arm of the machine. Start at one of the pinned points.
Step 6: Put the needle down into the project to create a more sturdy start. Pull the project in front as well as behind the needle until the lace is flat against the elastic. Use a zig-zag stitch to sew the lace and elastic together. Hint: While sewing keep the elastic down the center of the lace. It will want to go askew, but don’t let it.
For those seeking a basic lace garter, you are done! If you plan to add embellishments, keep reading.
Step 7: The process for sewing the lace to the elastic is the same for adding ribbons. Starting directly across from the front; in this case, the piece of lace with the buttons on it is the front. Place the presser foot down on the project and put the needle down to secure the project. Pull the project both in front of and behind the needle until the lace is flat with the ribbon laying down the center. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew the ribbon in place. Hint: In addition to being decorative, the ribbon is used to hide the elastic that can be seen through the lace. Make sure to keep the ribbon centered while sewing it on.
Step 8: Before attaching the end of the ribbon, stop an inch or two away from the end and leave the needle in the project. Stretch the project to see how far the ribbon will overlap itself. Fold the end of the ribbon under and pin it in place so there is a clean finish where the ribbon ends. Finish sewing the ribbon on. Hint: Insert the straight pin perpendicular to the ribbon. It is more secure and easier to sew close to.
Step 9: Repeat step 7. This time the ribbon to add will probably be very narrow, if so, it can be attached using a straight stitch.
Step 10: Repeat step 8.
Step 11: Add a little bow in the front if you want. Hand sew it on, a couple little thread tacks will do the trick. The custom garter is finished.