Living The Sweet Life: The Garter

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Garter

I love ribbons. Old ribbons, new ribbons, satin ribbons - they're all wonderful. On one of my expeditions I found this garter. It's so simple but so pretty and girly - I love it. Someone like me can't imagine why a bride would ever buy something like this when they are so easy to make. They are so simple and really the sky is the limit as far as the decoration.

History of the Garter - beware, probably more than you want to know!
Tossing the wedding garter is an old time held tradition. It is said that in the days of old the bride and groom had to consummate their marriage. But in order for it to be proven it was common tradition to have people like family and friends come into the room with the couple to witness it. The "witnesses" would obtain the garter as "proof" of the consummation. Also having any article of the under garments was considered to be good luck so sometimes things would get out of hand in the newly wed's bedroom as crazed onlookers snatched at clothing to get for good luck. This was not appreciated much by the bride nor many grooms, hence the groom started tossing the garter out so that no one would need to obtain it themselves.
The blue silk satin ribbon is on the outside and the inside and is almost 1" wide and about 20" long. (this includes about 1/4" on each end to turn under at the center back seam where it will be hand stitched together.
The elastic inside measures 5/8" wide.  The length should be cut to whatever length is comfortable then stitched together.
The ecru cotton lace on the top and bottom is slightly gathered and is sandwiched between the front and inside ribbon.  The amount of lace showing measures 1/2", so buy it a little wider and a little longer than the length of the blue ribbons to gather up slightly before you sandwich it between the two layers. I would guess about 24" of lace for each side would do it.   The stitching from the right side that "sandwiches" the lace is placed just under 1/8" from the edge on the top and bottom edges.
So from what I can see without picking this apart the construction would be something like this:

  1. Gather the lace and pin along the top and bottom edge of the blue ribbon for the inside.  Stay stitch in place by hand or machine.  

  2. Pin the blue ribbon on top of the lace, matching the edges perfectly.  Stitch along the top and bottom edges just under 1/8" from the edge sandwiching the lace between forming a casing.  If you look closely at the picture above you can see the stitching.

  3. Thread a piece of elastic through the casing you've made.  Cut the elastic at a comfortable length, use your own leg or a friends leg if you don't like yours and then stitch the elastic together by hand or machine.

  4. Turn under each end of the blue ribbon 1/4", butt the ends together and hand stitch together to finish the back seam. 
You can embellish the center of the garter however you like.
If you need some cotton lace and silk ribbons, I know just the place.

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