Teresa’s Handmade Navy and Coral Wedding Garter Set

Last year I shared how I made my own garter for my wedding.

handmade teal and peacock feather garters

Handmade peacock feather garters for my Nov. 2014 wedding.

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The garter toss. (Nov. 2014)

This week is my good friend Teresa’s wedding, and I have had the pleasure of helping her plan her wedding.  As we are wrapping up the final details before the big day, I wanted to share another set of handmade garters with all of you.

handmade coral and navy garters

Handmade coral and navy garters for Teresa’s Sept. 2015 wedding.

These are very simple to make, all straight seams except for the flower and camel embellishment (a running joke with the family about having a camel included in the wedding festivities), which are all basic hand sewing.

Supplies used:

  • 5/8″ wide (I think) coral ribbon for garter base. (I got all my 5/8″ ribbon at Michael’s on sale, but you can get it from whatever your craft store of choice is.)
  • 5/8″ wide coral, navy and burlap ribbon for flower accents.  I used this awesome tutorial from Ravings of a Mad Crafter that I found on Pinterest to figure out how to make them.
  • Eintsy thin navy ribbon ( I had this left over from another wedding, but I think I got it at A.C. Moore for 50 cents a spool originally.)
  • Thin white lace and double layer fluffy lace (bought by the yard at JoAnn Fabric)
  • Camel charm (from Etsy, but the shop appears to no longer be open.)

In addition to my original tutorial directions, I looked at this tutorial from Something Turquoise.  The only difference is I put the ribbon between the two layers of lace instead of on top and added another piece of ribbon as a lining of sorts on the back to keep the lace from itching the leg.

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How to Make a DIY Family Heirloom Veil

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One of my absolute favorite things about weddings is the tradition and heritage associated with them; anytime I can incorporate family heirlooms into my wedding, I am.  I’m so incredibly excited to show off my homemade (on the way cheap) wedding veil today.

My mama had offered me her veil, and while it is gorgeous, it just didn’t look good on me.  The flower wreath just didn’t work with my face shape and curly (*ahem* frizzy and wild *ahem*) hair, so I knew I had to come up with something else.

DSCF0378My Mama at her wedding.  Isn’t she beautiful?

Since you should all know by now that there was no way on this earth I was going to pay $100+ for a veil from a store, Plan B was to make my own veil completely from scratch like my sister-in-law Sarah did, only using lace accents instead of crystals.

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Plan C (the plan I actually used) came into being when I happened to find an ivory veil at Michael’s; with the 40% off coupon it ended up costing me $9.  I also convinced my Mama that since neither my sister nor I were going to be able to fit into her size-2-sample-size-cut-down wedding dress, that we should take the beautiful lace appliques off of it and use those for my veil (and other places).  You can see the lace appliques better in these pictures (and you get to see my handsome Daddy!).  They are all over the collar and bodice, with a few on the sleeves, plus there are little lace medallions on the sleeves and skirt of the dress.

parentsweddingThe streamers coming off of the bouquet are streamers that were attached to the Bible that my Grandma (Daddy’s mom) carried in her wedding in the 1950s.  I’m still trying to figure out how I can use them in my wedding.  And don’t you just love the awesome 80’s photo treatment of superimposing Mama’s picture over the silhouette of Daddy’s face?

laceTaking the lace off the dress.

This lace was a bear to get off, let me tell you!  The little medallions on the sleeves and the skirt weren’t too bad- they were just held on with fabric glue.  But the collar and the bodice lace was not only glued down, but sewn down on top of the glue.  Once I FINALLY got all the lace off the dress, I was ready to sort out which pieces I wanted to use for the veil and start making it.

Step 1: Buy or make your veil base.  You can get plain veils to embellish at the craft stores.  They tend to run about $15, but don’t ever buy anything without a coupon to bring the cost down even lower. If you want to make your veil base by buying tulle or lace at the fabric store to use, here is an excellent tutorial on how to construct it from Bean in Love that also shows how to add lace trim to the edge of your veil if you want.  Since my veil came with a nice, clean pencil edge on it, I chose to let the other lace be the focus.

Step 2:  Choose and arrange your appliques.  I decided to use one of the larger appliques at the comb of the veil and use the small medallions from the sleeves and the arms scattered over the rest of the veil.  When I was initially arranging them, I pinned the lace in place because I was planning to sew them onto the tulle (see step 3).  This is also a good idea if you are like me and will need to change your design around several times before you are satisfied- it’s not permanent like the glue would be (or should be-again, see step 3) but it keeps your pattern from getting all messed up and forcing you to start over.

IMG_2541Lace pieces laid out and pinned on the veil.

Step 3: Attach Lace to Veil. This is where things got tricky.  My first plan was to sew the little medallions on; ha ha ha.  Yeah right- I would still be there sewing.  So then I went and bought some fabric glue and spent an evening gluing the little medallions to the tulle.  And the next morning when I picked it up, they all fell off.  Apparently, not all fabric glues are created equal.  So back to the craft store I go to buy a second kind of fabric glue.  This time it worked and those little suckers aren’t going anywhere. SO my reccomendation is for your fabric gluing needs, use Beacon Fabri-Tac (pictured below) and NOTHING ELSE!  (I have received no compensation or anything else for this recommendation; I’m just trying to save you a whole lot of frustration and headache.)

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And you’re finished! This veil cost my $9 to make!  You can’t beat that with a stick, as my Nana used to say.

Here’s my finished veil.  I’m quite proud of it, and it’s extra special because the lace came from my Mama’s dress.

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And here it is on while I tried on dresses.

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What about you- did you have a veil or not? Did you make your own?  What other cool wedding headpieces have you seen?  How did you use family heirlooms in your wedding day festivities?

How to Make a DIY Garter

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Last week I showed you how I made the wedding bouquets for my upcoming wedding.  This week, let’s talk about the garter toss tradition.

I did a little research about the history of the garter toss for this post (and by research, I mean I typed “wedding garter toss history” into the search box on Pinterest and read what came up).  The general consensus seems to be that the custom originated as a way to ensure the bride’s virginity before the wedding night.  Wedding guests would accompany the happy couple back to the bedroom as witnesses to the act and take the garter as proof of the consummation.  Because the garter was considered to be good luck, this somehow evolved (around the 14th century) into guests ripping pieces of the brides clothing, including the garter, off of her so that they would be lucky. In order to avoid an all out brawl, some smart bride and groom decided they would remove the garter (and other bits of clothing) and throw it to the guests to avoid them tackling the bride.  (Sources: The Garter Girl, Absolute Soiree and Wed Alert).

I’ve seen a lot of chatter about the garter toss and whether it is scandalous, immoral, passe, etc. and there are all kinds of ways to do a garter toss everythign from the groom removing it with his teeth to having the garter pre-placed on a football and the groom throwing it.  And there are so many beautiful garter sets on Etsy!

I think the garter toss is awesome, not to mention totally hilarious.  I will be having a garter toss, complete with Mr. C fetching it from under my dress and whomever catches it placing it on the leg of the lucky lady who caught the bouquet!  (Side note: if you have met my sister, ask her about her experience with this sometime.  She probably won’t tell you, but then you can come ask me.  I’ll tell you when I finish laughing.)

But (say it with me now!) “I refuse to pay a whole bunch of money for something I can make myself for much cheaper.”  And garters are incredibly easy to make on your own if you have a sewing machine and can sew a relatively straight line.  It doesn’t even have to be perfectly straight since it gets all scrunched up.  I’ll run through the steps I used to make mine below, but here is a really awesome tutorial from the blog Something About Katie with better pictures than mine.  (I forgot to take the step by step photos.  Again.  Sorry!)

So here we go- making your own garter:

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Step 1: Find your materials.  There are all kinds of garters out there and you’ll need some different stuff depending on what kind you make (I ended up making three because I couldn’t decide what I wanted.).  But no matter which kind  you’ll have some variation of ribbon, fabric and lace, thread to match and elastic. Make sure you get your elastic in a width thinner than the ribbon/fabric/lace you’ll be using for the band of the garter — I had an oopsie on this and had to go get a different kind of elastic– and make sure it is sturdy enough to keep your garter on your leg.  You don’t want it slithering down because it’s too heavy for the elastic to hold up. It won’t show, so it doesn’t matter if it’s ugly, just that it will hold the thing up on your leg.I bought two widths- one for the thick garter and one for the thinner garter.

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It really doesn’t matter what kind of stuff you get to make your garter out of, as long as you like it. I used ribbon by the spool in one of our wedding colors in two sizes, the solid one pictured above (5/8″ I think) and a skinnier one with solid and see-through vertical stripes (3/8″ I think) that you can see in the first picture on the right hand garter, and ivory ribbon in the 5/8″ size.  I really love the ivory ribbon because it has a cool thread detail border on it (you can sort of see it in the right hand garter in the top picture).  I got these on sale, but even regular price they are only $3.99 and $2.99 and you can always find a coupon.

I didn’t mind buying the ribbon by the spool at the craft store because I know I will use it for something else; if you don’t think you will use it you can always get your ribbon by the yard at the fabric store, which is what I did for the two kinds of lace.  My oh so scientific way of determining how much I needed was to wrap the lace around my leg in the store and then double that length so that I would have extra in case I messed up.  For the thicker lace, since I wanted to put it on both sides of the ribbon, I tripled the initial amount from around my leg. You can also buy lace fabric off the bolt and use that (which is what the Something About Katie tutorial shows).

Step 2: Put together the top layer of the garter band. I sort of followed tutorials and sort of made up my process as I went.  First you have to measure your materials.  I once again used my super scientific method of wrapping the ribbon around my thigh at the point I wanted the garter to sit.Make sure once you have that measurement you add an inch or two extra length so it makes the pretty scrunches once the elastic is in. Then, use the ribbon to measure and cut your lace or other ribbon. Cut the length of ribbon for the bottom layer of the band now and set it aside for later.

How you sew this layer of the band depends on what kind of garter you are making and how you want it to look.  If you are doing a thicker garter with lace and ribbon, sew those two things together with the ribbon and lace placed like you want it (lace on both sides, lace on one side, etc.).  For the skinnier garters, I just sewed the two layers one right on top of the other using a zigzag stitch to give it a little more hold.  Once you have all your pieces put together, sew the two ends together to make the circular band.  (I did this a little differently than the tutorial from Something About Katie; she doesn’t sew her ends together until after she puts the elastic in.  Her way is easier, but I didn’t want a thick seam digging into my leg, so I hid the seam under the bottom layer.  Either way works.)

Step 3: Sew the top and bottom layers of the band together.  It’s as simple as it sounds; I put a second layer of ribbon behind the ribbon and lace of the top layer and ran a straight seam around each edge of the ribbon.  Make sure you leave a wide enough space between your two seems to run the elastic through.  Don’t sew the ends together of the bottom layer because you need the gap to put the elastic in.

Step 4: Put in the Elastic.  Measure your elastic by pulling it as tight as it will stretch and wrapping it around your leg to get the length.  Release the tension and cut– it will look very short but that’s ok.  The easiest way to put your elastic into the garter band is to thread it through using safety pins.  Put a safety pin at one end that is parallel to the elastic and another on at the other end that is perpendicular to the elastic (this one will keep this end from pulling through the slit in your band).  Start feeding the elastic through the band using the parallel safety pin as a “needle” so that you can feel it to move it through the casing (the space in between the two seems).  Once it is all the way through, pull the two ends way out of the slit with the fabric bunched in the middle.  Remove the safety pins and sew the ends of the elastic together using a zigzag stitch.  Now pull the fabric back around so the elastic is hidden.

Step 5: Finishing the Garter Band. Sew the gap closed at the ends on the bottom layer.  Do any cleaning up that needs to be done (cutting threads, etc.).  Your basic garter band is done!

Step 6: Add the Embellishments. This is the fun part because it is what makes your garter yours.  I desperately wanted to have a peacock themed wedding but Mr. C put the nix on that, although I did still get to use peacock colors. BUt he did say I could have some peacock touches here and there and on of them is on my keepsake garter.  I’m so proud of how they both turned out.

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A few final thoughts on making garters.  I bought the beaded lace because it just creamed bridal garter to me, but when I made the garter it didn’t play so nicely.  Because the pearls were so stiff, it didn’t scrunch like it needed to in order for it to look and fit like it should.  So, as you  chose your materials to make your garter keep in mind that they need to be thin and flexible enough to bend and stretch with the elastic.

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What do you think about the garter tradition at weddings?  Did you have a garter toss at your wedding?  Have you heard different origins of the tradition?

How to Make DIY Photo Booth Favors

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I think one of the most fun trends in weddings right now is having a photo booth for your guests.  You get some awesome (and ridiculous and potentially black-mail worthy) pictures of your guests, they get an awesome souvenir from your wedding and you can have a really cool scrapbook/guestbook with photos and notes. Calvin and I are renting our photo booth from the same company that our DJ works for and they have a special deal if you get a photo booth and a DJ, so we came out pretty well on this one.  And we’re going to get little magnetic sleeves for the photo strips to go into and voila!- favors.

On each little photo strip, there will be a graphic that we had to provide.  At first I thought I would use one of the awesome free monograms from The Wedding Chicks. (Check them out for some really cool free downloads and printables, as well as some awesome wedding ideas!) I tried several of the monograms and these two were my favorites that worked with our wedding themes and colors.

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Circle Love monogram in Blue Jean (dark blue) and Deep Ocean (light blue) and Silhouette monogram in Blue Jean.

But they seemed really  flat and monochromatic. So I tried the Silhouette in the brighter, more teal-ish Tiffany Blue, but that looked too bright.

weddingchicks-download-1398973474It was at this point that it occurred to me-“Hey goofball, you know how to use Photoshop! You can combine them.”  Mind you, my Photoshop skills are limited and rather rusty. But after much trial and error, this is what I came up with:

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I’m pretty proud of it, if I do say so myself. Obviously in the real version it has our real last name, but I removed that for safety reasons.

And props for the really cool cursive font (the one used for Mr. and Mrs. and the date- not last name though) go to my amazing friend Suzanne.  You can check out her amazing Etsy shop Silver Tree Art and her blog at Reverend Artist Mother.  She also created an amazing planner, A Year of Daily Living: create your way every day that you can buy on Amazon.  Check her out!

DIY Wedding Planning Notebook

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All of the stuff related to our wedding has been living in a pile that moves from our eating table, coffee table or living room floor as we need those areas.  I have been looking for a wedding binder or something to collect it all in, but I don’t like any of them that I have found.  I don’t need all of the checklists and calendars and “helpful hints” that come in the pre-made ones. My guest lists and checklists are all online at The Knot. I have a calendar already.  The binders at the stores are too big, too expensive and not organized the way I like them.  The print-your-own and put it together kind from online have a bunch of stuff I don’t need or want and I just couldn’t find one that I liked.

And in the meantime, I’ve been terrified that I will loose something important. So, I once again feel back on the motto, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”

Most of my wedding stuff is loose papers, fabric swatches, business cards and other random bits of looseness that don’t work well with a traditional binder.  And, really, who wants to have to stop and punch holes in every single thing anyway?  So I decided that pocket folders would be the best way to organize everything; they hold all the random bits that you can’t punch holes in, you can categorize things and they are CHEAP.  I mean, you can get them for pennies!  But of course, that leaves me with a pile of folders, and while they are harder to loose than random papers and pieces of stuff, they still aren’t especially well contained.

My next thought was to put the folders in a binder.  They are contained; you don’t have to punch holes once they are in the binder.

But then you are back to the issue of having to lug a binder around.  I don’t know about you, but I have enough crap I schlep around every day without adding a big, bulky, inconvenient binder to the mix. So that was a no-go and I was back to the drawing board.  I was stumped until a few nights ago when I couldn’t sleep.  I remembered that when I was younger my Mama had this thing that was basically folders bound together and of course as soon as she discovered them, they stopped making them. But the concept is perfect and we have a spiral binding machine at work. Problem solved.

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I grabbed four plain 2-pocket folders that I had lying around. (Mine are just plain, cheap ones, but if you wanted to get creative and fancy you could.)  I turned three of them inside out so that the pockets were on the outside and I cut the fourth one in half to be the front and back covers.  I sandwiched the three whole folders in between the two halves of the fourth so that folder part of the halves were facing in towards the other folders and the folds of the intact folders would be facing out once they were bound together.

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I punched wholes on the side of the folders I wanted to be bound and attached the binding to them.  A few labels stuck on the pockets and we’re done.

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Viola! A wedding notebook that suits my exact needs.

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