How to Sew a Bridal Garter

DIY wedding garter
Nerida McMurray Photography / Getty Images
Overview
  • Total Time: 60 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

It is tradition for a bride’s garter to be tossed at the wedding reception. So if you or someone you know is getting married, learn how to make a wedding garter with these easy instructions. A benefit of sewing it yourself is you can add the couple’s names and wedding date right on the garter, and you can customize it with the colors and style they’ve chosen for their wedding theme. This garter can make a great wedding shower gift. And it’s such a quick and easy project that you might even want to sew two garters: one for tossing and one for the couple to keep.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Safety pin

Materials

  • 26 inch flat (not gathered) 2- to 2 1/2-inch lace with one scalloped or decorative edge
  • 26 inch 1/4- to 1/2-inch flat lace with one decorative edge for the top edge of the garter
  • 52 inch 1-inch white satin ribbon (or grosgrain ribbon)
  • 13 inch 1/2-inch elastic
  • 1/4-inch ribbon and other embellishments for decorating
  • Matching thread

Instructions

  1. Attach the Lace

    Cut the 52-inch piece of ribbon in half. Align the ends of the wider lace and the ends of one piece of ribbon. Lay the straight edge of the lace on the bottom edge of the ribbon, so the lace overlaps the ribbon by 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch.

    Sew the lace to the ribbon, keeping an even distance from the edge of the ribbon but staying as close to the edge as possible.

    Repeat to attach the narrower lace to the top edge of the ribbon.

    Wedding garter with lace
    Debbie Colgrove
  2. Attach the Other Ribbon

    Align the second piece of ribbon directly over the first piece of ribbon. Topstitch the ribbon to attach it to the first piece of ribbon, sewing as close to the edges as possible. But don't sew the ends yet.

    Wedding garter with white ribbon attached
    Debbie Colgrove
  3. Add Elastic to the Garter

    Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread the elastic between the pieces of ribbon. Align an end of the elastic with an end of the ribbon, and stitch the elastic to the end of the ribbon.

    Continue pulling the elastic through, and align its other end with the opposite end of the ribbon. Stitch the elastic to the opposite end.

    Garter with elastic
    Debbie Colgrove
  4. Add a French Seam

    A French seam works best to seam the ends of the garter together.

    Place the wrong sides (the side that will be against the leg) of the garter together, and align the ends and edges. Sew a seam using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance.

    Fold the garter on the sewn seam, so the right sides of the garter are together and the sewn seam is the edge. Sew another seam using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, which will enclose the raw edges.

    Garter with French seam
    Debbie Colgrove
  5. Decorate the Garter

    Decorate the garter as desired.

    To decorate it with ribbon, cut three 6-inch pieces of 1/4-inch-wide ribbon. Keeping one side of the ribbon up, loop the ribbon and lay it on top of itself. Repeat for all three pieces, pinning the overlap in place.

    Then, lay all of the sections on top of each other, and fan the loops. Hand-sew the loops in place. And sew a decoration, such as a button or bead, on top of the loop intersection.

    Some other decorating ideas include:

    • Sew a colored ribbon that's less than 1-inch wide on top of the outer satin ribbon before assembling the garter. Consider using a novelty ribbon, such as one for a sports team, for a fun touch.
    • Use a solid fabric instead of the ruffled lace, and embroider the couple's initials and wedding date on it before assembling the garter.
    • Add an appliqué to the garter.
    DIY garter ribbon
    Debbie Colgrove