Friday, September 25, 2009

Wedding Garter "Keep" and "Toss" Tutorial

Pin It Now! I honestly did not know about these things when I got hitched. They're called "Keep" and "Toss" Wedding Garters and as the name implies, the bride "keeps" one as a wedding day keepsake and the groom "tosses" the other one to the woman-hungry bachelors at the reception. If you're too embarrassed to gift kinky lingerie at the bridal shower, then this is a classy and fun alternative. Both times I've made them, I used the bride's wedding colors and embellished them with little touches that suited the personality of the bride. Of course, if you're not sure about the bride's wedding colors, white or ivory is a safe bet (and throw in a touch of blue to fulfill the "something blue" tradition.)

Ok, let's briefly talk fabric options for this project. Charmeuse satin is the way to go. It comes in silk or synthetic (polyester). Charmeuse is different than regular satin in that it's thinner and more delicate. It's the stuff they use to make lingerie, ladies. Of course real silk is nicer, but more expensive. Granted, it doesn't take a lot of fabric to make a garter, so even if you used real silk, the project cost would stay low. As for polyester charmeuse, I have come across some pretty good qualities, all from this place here. They only have a few colors listed online, but if you go to their Houston location they have over a hundred different colors of both higher quality polyester and heavenly silk charmeuse. LOVE that store.

  • 30"x5" rectangle of charmeuse for outer trim of "keep" garter
  • 30"x4" rectangle of charmeuse for outer trim of ""toss" garter
  • 2 cuts of 30"x 1 3/4" rectangle of charmeuse for center of each garter
  • * 2 pieces of 3/4" wide non-roll elastic: 15" long
  • Embellishments (bows, charms, beads, flowers, etc) - optional
*Note on sizing: a good rule of thumb on just how much elastic to use is to measure the thigh and take away one inch. You'll use TWICE that length in you charmeuse pieces. This pattern is for "one size fits most" but I wanted you to know how to calculate for customizing plus or stick figures.

For this tutorial, I'm only going to make the "keep" garter. The instructions for the "toss" are pretty much the same. I've used two different colors 1) because I love the fun contrast and 2) it's easier for ya'll to follow along in the tutorial.

Step One:
With right sides together, sew the long sides of the 30"x 5" cut of outer trim (blue) to the 30"x1 3/4" center fabric (black) using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

(Note: It is important that you use a small 1/4 inch seam allowance and tiny millimeter top stitch (in below step), otherwise your elastic will not fit in its casing.)

Step Two:

Repeat for other side.

Step Three:

Turn right side out so you have a tube. Using low to medium heated iron, center the tube of charmeuse as desired. For the "keep" garter, I pressed it so the ruffle on bottom is longer than the top. For the "toss" garter, I press it dead centered.

(WARNING: polyester melts... no high heat or steaming unless you want to risk a shriveled plastic mess. Silk is a natural fiber and does not melt, but rather burns and should be pressed at a low heat as well.)

Step Four:

At one end of the tube, tuck and press in approximately 1/2 inch.

Step Five:

Top stitch about a millimeter in along each side of the center part of the tube. On the end that you tucked and pressed, DON'T top stitch.

Step Six:

Insert elastic. An easy way to do this is put a safety pin on one end of the elastic and work it through the tube. Push the charmeuse tube well into the center so you have both ends of the elastic hanging out for ease of sewing together.

Step Seven:

Sew the elastic. Make sure you don't have your elastic twisted. Overlap the elastic approximately one inch and sew a nice square and diagonal to to secure it.

Step Eight:

Tuck the raw end of the tube into the nice pressed end. Hand blind stitch closed or machine stitch close to the edge. This will be the back of the garter. Now give it a good stretch to distribute the gathers evenly.

Step Nine:

Leave as is or embellish as you see fit with a bow, flower, lace or beads. Oh, and add a "Keep" and "Toss" tag so the bride knows what the heck you're giving her. If you don't, she may just think you gave her a fancy baby headband ;)


Anonymous said...

Lovely garters! I especially enjoyed the color combination of the last one pictured.

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley said...

This looks much easier than I imagined, although I always have a hard time working with elastic. I wanted to make some as an quick shower gift for my best friend's wedding in July. Thanks for sharing the how-to!

Unknown said...

Cute!!! Glad I found this tutorial! I'm looking to make my own, and yours are so pretty!

SarahAnn said...

Thanks for the great tutorial, I just made one for a friend of mine, but added in some lace between the two layers, looks really cute!!

Karen said...

Thank you for the informative tutorial. The visuals were extremely helpful. One suggestion I have is to move the rule of thumb measuring suggestion up to the top of the page near the materials list. By the time I got down to number 7 where you had the measurement suggestion I had cut the elastic already unfortunately not to your suggested measurement.

Jodell said...

Thanks, Karen! That is a great suggestion... I took your advice and moved it :)

Sarah said...

Thank you so much! I just finished the garter for my wedding and it's beautiful and was easy to do!

Татьяна said...


Tammy said...

Thank you for this tutorial! I just made one for my sister who is getting married in two weeks. We won't be able to attend the wedding, so I'm glad I can have a little part on her wedding day!

lnpangelstar said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just made it for my throw garter. How do you make the lovely flower embellishment that you put on the garter? Thank you!

Jodell said...

Thanks @lnpangelstar - For the flowers, google "satin flower" tutorial. Here is one