Friday, July 4, 2014

Garters, or What do we say to the god of death? A tiny tutorial!

GoT Garters

In the 18th century and 19th century, garters were sometimes embroidered with phrases. Some, such as these at the MFA, professed love, while others were a little more playful. One pair found on Vintage Textile ages ago (pictured at the bottom of this post), says Stop Here, Do Not Pass, and Godey's Lady's book gave instructions for a pair of Garters that said Stop. Unfortunately, the site where I saw those has gone away and I've been unlucky finding the article elsewhere.

I've wanted a pair of these garters for ages, but it's just one of those projects that's in the back of your mind. However, I was thinking of what garters I wanted to use for my Game of Thrones dress--stockings never stay up on their own for me--and the phrase Not Today popped into my head. A nod to both history and Game of Thrones!

My stockings are the Phoebe Over The Knee from Sock Dreams, which, somewhat amusingly, stay up on their own. I chose these as they're House Caron colors (a minor, very well named house!) and quite pretty as well.

They were very simple to make and took just over an hour. I used fabrics I already had. Yellow silk satin, grey embroidery floss, and purple silk ribbon. You want to use enough ribbon so you can wrap the garter around your leg twice, as seen above. This makes them stay in place much better and much more comfortably than just one wrap.

GoT Garters 1 GoT Garters 2

First, embroider your garters. I just used two strands of floss and a stem stitch. Then, cut your garters to the length you'd like them to be, plus seam allowance, and about three times as wide as your ribbon. Pin the ribbons into place, as shown, and sew. I used a hand back stitch.

GoT Garters 3 GoT Garters 4

Next, fold the edges with the ribbon in, the bottom edge up, fold the top edge down with the seam allowance turned under, and pin. I then sewed it shut with a whipstitch along the side folds and middle fold. Then press.

GoT Garters 5

And that's it! They really are quite simple, and I think they'll be a lot of fun to wear :)


The 18th century garters. Aren't they lovely?


  1. What a great tip about making the ribbon wrap around twice.
    I can think of a lot of cute sayings now that could be used.

  2. We tried out your tutorial, and made a few embroidery-free variations! My embroidery is nowhere near as nice as yours, but we still just adore this idea, years later.

    1. Yours are fantastic! I'm so glad you were inspired by mine!

      And excellent phrases :)