Instructions on DIY Garters
30 inch strip of fabric you like
Spools of Laces (you can find these cheap!)
Ribbon – whatever colors you need or styles
Elastic band – about 1/3 yard to be safe
Sculpy Clay – to make your charm (whatever it may be)
Sewing machine / Hand needle / Thread to match ribbon
Step 1 – Cutting Fabric
Take your elastic band and put it around your thigh to measure how wide your thigh is – then cut your elastic about 2-3 inches shorter than that, depending on how stretchy your elastic is. You don’t want it to fall off or cut off circulation.
I used a rotary cutter and mat from my quilting supplies, you can use scissors and your eye if that is what you have at home. For my smaller garter, I had elastic that was about an inch thick. I made sure to make my strip of fabric 3″ and about 25″ long. Iron your fabric ahead of time and be careful if your fabric likes to strech and move like mine did.
Step 2 – Set up the Lacies
Since my lace was on a spool, it needed to be ironed on low to make it not curl up into a ball. Since I was using two layers of lace, I pre-stitched these together to make my life easier when I stitched it to the actual fabric. Make sure you stitch very close to the top edge, so when you finish it with the fabric your safety stitches will not show through at all.
Step 3 – Sew lace to fabric
With your pretty side up, line up the edge of the lace to the edge of the fabric. You will need to think a little counter-intuitively now and flip the left edge over to line up with the right edge. Go ahead and pin if you like for security (although I never pin stuff. Maybe that is why my stuff always looks like butt). You are going to sew down the right side and stitch it like a sandwich: fabric right side down, lace, fabric right side up. I kept my needle at 1/4″ seam so that I wouldn’t hinder the pretty lace, but I would be sure to cover up my safety stitches. No need to keep this perfect, just make sure that you don’t have any gaps in your stitching. I also left a little bit of an edge of fabric at the top and bottom without lace – you’ll see why later.
Step 4 – Do the worm!
There is no easy way to do this – you now have to turn your inside out garter right side out. Grab for some of that lace and keep turning it right side out, shimmying the good side down the inside out part until you are halfway done. After that it gets easier. Fluff when you are done and iron if you feel like you need to iron again.
Step 5 – Thread the elastic band
Take your hand sewing needle and lace up some heavy small stuff on one end. I put four pony beads on one end of a 30″ piece of thread. The other side I stuck through my elastic band end. Now drop the weighted side down into your garter and wiggle it until it comes out the other side. Now all you have to do is pull the thread to get your elastic band to go through the garter.
STOP! Do not let the whole thing get swallowed up by the garter! You still have to sew the ends together on the elastic….
Step 6 – Sew Elastic and hand sew garter fabric
Sew the elastic together. I used stretch stitching and did a few rows of stitching – you don’t want that bad boy to snap and break on the wedding day toss.
Thread your hand sewing needle with a color thread that matches your garter fabric. Now comes the part where leaving a little fabric edge without lace is handy – see how those edges look frayed and ugly? You flip them inside and then stitch the fabric together. Smooooooooth edges. And if you have a little fabric longer than your lace, then after you tuck in the rough edges the lace parts should line right up and look fairly seamless.
Step 7 – Bake your charms!
I didn’t get a picture of this part of the process, but working with sculpy clay is just like working with clay from when you were a kid. Knead the clay until it is soft, and work it into whatever shape you want. Do know that it will dry exactly like you have it – so if you left fingerprints it will show, if an edge is not perfect it will also show. This was also much cheaper than buying a silver comm badge charm for $35 on the internet. So I was ok with this. Bake your charm at 275 about 15 minutes for each .25 inch of thickness. Don’t over bake- it can burn to a crisp.
Step 8 – Attach ribbons and charms
I took my hand sewing needle and sewed on the black ribbon and then sewed on the charm. Done! I also made a keeper garter that still needs to have a little work done on it – Mr. SB didn’t quite buy enough elastic so I have to cut it open again and add more so my leg doesn’t fall off. I also have to attach the comm badge to the larger keeper garter. On the keeper garter I attached lace to both sides, and then sequin in the middle. For that one I used two separate pieces of fabric and sewed two seams.