How to make a wedding garter

Updated July 20, 2017

For many, the bride's garter is as much a part of wedding tradition as the bouquet toss and the cake cutting. Although garters are commercially available in most bridal shops, making a wedding garter from scratch is a simple and inexpensive project that allows you to design a garter that reflects your style and is guaranteed to fit the way it should. Whether you choose to use the traditional combination of satin and lace or something much more unconventional, your handmade garter will be your own design.

Measure the elastic. Wrap the elastic around your thigh so that it is snug enough to stay put but not uncomfortably tight. Cut the elastic so that the ends will overlap by about 2.5 cm (1 inch).

Measure the fabric. Cut a rectangle that is 7.5 cm (3 inches) wide by twice the resting (or non-stretched) length of the piece of elastic.

Measure and cut the trim so that it is 2.5 cm (1 inch) shorter than the long end of the rectangle of fabric.

Pin the trim to the right side of the fabric, along one of the long edges. Position it so the decorative edge of the trim points inward toward the middle of the rectangle and the fabric extends beyond the trim by 1.6 cm (1/2 inch) at each end. Baste the trim to the fabric, leaving 1.6 cm (1/2 inch) of seam allowance. Remove the pins. Satin is the traditional fabric, and lace is the traditional trim.

Fold the opposite edge of the fabric up to meet the basted edge, so that the wrong side of the fabric is visible and the trim is hidden inside the folded fabric. Sew through both layers of fabric and the trim along the basted seam.

After sewing, turn the resulting tube of fabric right-side-out. Using an iron, press the fabric smooth so that it lies flat with the trim extending outward from the seam.

Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the fabric tube. With the fabric pushed well out of the way, overlap the two ends of the elastic (making sure that it is not twisted) and sew them together.

Once the ends of the elastic are connected, draw the ends of the fabric together. At one end, fold 1.6 cm (1/2 inch) of fabric back into the tube, creating a clean folded edge. Carefully tuck the opposite end inside of the folded end and adjust so that the trim ends meet and the fabric lies smoothly.

Sew through all layers of fabric and elastic along the tucked edge, close to the fold.


To personalise your garter, attach ribbons, bows or other decoration by hand stitching or using fabric glue. If you want the garter to be washable, check the care instructions for the fabric, trim and other decorations that you choose. Pre-wash the fabric and trim according to the care instructions before measuring and cutting.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) wide, non-roll elastic
  • Fabric
  • Trim
  • All-purpose thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
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