Friday, September 30, 2011

Bride's Garter From Grandmother's Wedding Dress

bride's garter

Over the summer I was working on all kinds of projects related to my daughter's wedding and carefully photographing each step so I could share these ideas with you.  While event planning isn't really my thing, creativity is and I came up with lots of projects to work on that kept me occupied while the chaos swirled around me.

One day while talking on the phone to my mother she told me that if I still had her old wedding dress stuck in a closet somewhere it would be fine to throw it away.

"It's probably dry rotted anyway."

I dug it out of an upstairs closet, washed it and hung it out in the sun to dry.
Looking at it, I had an idea. A couple in fact. I wouldn't be throwing it away, but I did cut it up. I photographed it first, for posterity's sake.

I wonder why there aren't any kids named Posterity...

Next I cut it into different sections and thought how they might best be used.

I decided it would be nice to make my daughter's garter from this vintage silk taffeta, and gifts for my mother, sister, and niece as well.

Project 1 is very simple: The Garter 

 Normally, to do this you would cut a strip of fabric, fold it over and stitch together to form a tube.

 This dress however had a bow with 2 long tails ready made for this. I love it when I can save a step.

Once you have your tube of fabric you take a piece of elastic shorter than your tube and begin working it through. Tweezers and patience are useful for this task. It is also helpful to pin a safety pin to the end going through so you can determine the end of the elastic. Pinning the other end to the opening will keep you from pulling it through accidentally. The tube/elastic ratio is going to depend on how gathered you want the garter to be. I wanted something that would mimic the bride's dress, so I needed just a soft gather. My elastic was about 2/3 of the tube length.

Sew both ends of elastic together when you are finished. Then fold over the fabric and neatly stitch the two tube ends together.

 This is what you have. At this point you could add any embellishment you like, fabric flowers, bows, lace, beading, etc.

 I wanted something simple and elegant. I used blue embroidery floss to hand stitch a heart (there's her something "blue") and cream floss to work the date. Simple. Pretty. Meaningful.

I made the throw away garter (which--have you noticed?-- no man is ever trying really hard to catch) from the lace of my own wedding dress. Nothing about synthetic fabrics says "heirloom".

I also saved some lace from the dress to give to my sister, niece, and mother in glass pendants. They were perfect gifts to commemorate the event.  

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