Garter bands are less common now that most thigh high stockings come with Silicone "stay ups" or are equip for a garter belt attachment. But they are still used for costumes, traditional wedding attire and even as an accessory for lingerie.
So here is how to make a simple garter band for thigh high stockings or decoration.
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Step 1: What You Will Need
For this project you will need
- A sewing machine
- Lace and Ribbon, measured to a length 2X your thigh width.
-Elastic (shirring) thread
-Thread that matches your ribbon colour
- a spare bobbin
- (OPTIONAL) The silicone band from an old "stay up" stocking
Making one garter will take just under an hour depending on how quick you work and how thin your thighs are (the thinner your thigh, the more fiddly the work) and whether or not you need to sew on a silicone band.
Step 2: Sew the Ribbon to the Lace
You want to sew the ribbon to the lace in the middle by running two rows of stiches. one on either side of the ribbon.
This will make the lace appear more solid and make it a bit more rigid.
Step 3: Prepare Your Machine
Before you start shir stitching you need to wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin by hand.
If you have never made anything by shirring before you may want to read though this tutorial and practice a bit first
Because you are working with thin lace you don't want to change any settings on the machine (Leave thread tension and stitch length alone)
Thread your needle with regular thread and install the bobbin now threaded with elastic.
Step 4: Gather Your Lace
You want to sew a straight stitch with your elastic thread along all 4 red lines shown in the picture.
Make sure the fabric is stitched evenly and the runners pull it along. It should automatically gather because of the elastic thread.
After the first line is done, make sure you pull on the fabric to make it straight as you sew the next three rows.
IMPORTANT: Reverse/lock stitch over every row at the start and end to lock the elastic in place.
Step 5: Measure and Trim
Go over the lace at this point and cut off all the loose threads.
Decide whether or not you would like to use a silicone band. I recommend a silicone band if you intend to use this as an actual garter. If it is purely decorative than it doesn't really matter. If you have large thighs like mine, silicone makes it more comfortable.
Measure the exact width of your thigh and add one 1/4 inch to this. Then, rule and mark out this length on your lace.
SILICONE: Do not pull on the lace as you measure your thigh width, you want to keep the strong gathered look.
NO SILICONE: Pull taught on the lace as you measure your thigh, you want the elastic's strength to "grip" your thigh.
Step 6: Sew Your Garter Together
Now it's time to form a loop from the lace.
Decide which side of the lace looks the "roughest" and least aesthetically pleasing. (This will be the side that the ribbon is on)
Pin the ends of the lace together and using normal thread sew over them multiple times to lock all your thread.
Step 7: Tidy Up
Cut of all remaining loose threads and cut off the excess lace. (If you have a lot of lace off cut you can make a wrist band or chocker necklace)
Step 8: Silicone Band.
If you are attaching a silicone band, at this point you want to put both the Lace and the silicone band under the footer, and pull taught on the side being fed into the machine.
Sew the band to the lace they way you would sew elastic onto a hem. Use a Zig zag stitch and pull on your silicone band and as you sew.
You want to stretch the silicone so that it is the same length as the lace.
Step 9: Finished
Well done. You now have a garter band that can be worn as an actual garter with thigh high stockings (Seen below) Or as an accessory to a sexy outfit such as a french maid.
You can use whatever colour ribbon and lace you like and whatever colour silicone band you can locate (I used one from an old pair of "stay ups" that had ripped)
remember that if you want enough "grip" to be able to hold up your stockings I highly recommend using a silicone band.
Using a Strong elastic to create gathers instead of shirring.