Brown & Blue Lingerie: A Matching Garter Belt

To match the Brown & Blue lingerie set posted here, I sewed a garter belt from the leftover fabric. This is a type of undergarment you don’t see a lot of people sewing or wearing. In fact I’ve hesitated posting about it for that reason. Is it too unusual? Too personal? Should I talk about underwear in this much detail? Do people who wear garter belts want it to be a secret and pretend it’s tights under there?

So today here is a garter belt I sewed. Some might say they are outdated, some might think they’re a more comfortable alternative to tights. Either way, once you get into sewing lingerie, you have the potential to sew your own!

brown and blue lingerie set complete with garter belt

This is based on Ohhh Lulu’s Theda Short Garter Belt pattern. I say based on because I started with this pattern and made so many changes it’s not quite the same anymore.

I started by cutting a large, but that was a mistake. It was going to be way too big even before factoring in the stretch of my fabric. This pattern is meant for wovens and I am using knits.

I added seam allowances to the top and bottom edges so I could use picot elastic to match the bra and panties. I used leftover narrow cup elastic from the bra kit to stabilize the scalloped edge lace.

elastic sewn to scalloped edge lace

I ended up reducing the width by about 6cm pinched out of each side, and another 5cm pinched out of centre front. Quite a lot!

The back closes with a bra hook closure.

brown and blue lace garter belt back closure

I wished there was more information included about making the garter straps, as it’s not easy to source pre-assembled garter straps. I ended up buying metal clips from Bra-Makers Supply, strap elastic for the straps, and sliders and rings for making them adjustable. Lots of guessing as to the right width and how much strap elastic to buy. Though this is probably a niche market, I can’t imagine many people out there sewing their own garter belts! (Although I did see Gertie mention retro-style lingerie last week and people were excited about the idea. So perhaps it’s not as unusual as I thought.)

brown and blue lace garter belt flat

Here’s how I made the straps:

First, I cut 1 yard of 1/2″ wide strap elastic into four equal pieces. I threaded the end through a slider and bartacked to hold the slider in place.

making garter belt straps

Then, I threaded the long end of the elastic through the garter clip, shiny side down, as if it was a ring.

making garter belt straps 2

Take the loose end of the elastic, and thread it back through the slider.

making garter belt straps 3

Repeat with the rest of the straps.

making garter belt straps 4

Then attach each strap to the garter belt. I thought it would be easier if I sewed each strap with a straight stitch first, then turned and bartacked them firmly.

making garter belt straps 5

My bartacks aren’t perfect as it was hard to sew through that many layers.

making garter belt straps 6

Overall, it turned out quite well for a mostly-improvised project and a first attempt at this type of garment!

brown and blue lace garter belt

I think I’ll stick with silver findings from now on for bras if there’s going to be a garter set so they match the metal clips. The metal clips are really nice and I like that there is no colour, just a clear backing. Pretty expensive ($8 for 4) but again, probably the sort of hardware you can cut off when the garment wears out and re-use it.

brown and blue lace garter belt set

I used leftover wide elastic from the bra for the top edge, and bought narrower picot elastic for the lower edges.

That lace along the front is so pretty. The angle along the side follows the lines of the panties making it a good match for the set.

brown and blue lace garter belt lingerie set side view

Flat view:

brown and blue lace garter belt handmade lingerie

Ok! Anyone sewn a garter belt before? Has anyone seen pre-assembled garters for sale? I’m enjoying sewing all kinds of lingerie, including the more unusual and less popular items. It’s great to be able to sew specialty items that may not be easy to buy.

, , , , , , ,

70 Responses to Brown & Blue Lingerie: A Matching Garter Belt

  1. Billie December 15, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Pretty!!! I love the pale blue+chocolate colour combination!
    Since buying a garter belt from an online stockings shop, I fell in love with it! I much prefer it over tights whenever I don’t wear clothes that might reveal my garter belt (tight-fitting or too short skirts for example), since it tends to stay put throughout the day, while I always get dropping crotches with tights. A garter belt is one of the must-sew items for when I get better with my sewing :)

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 8:56 am #

      I totally agree. Dropping crotches, that’s the worst. So uncomfortable!
      If you can sew a bra, you can sew a garter belt. It’s not too hard, just uses new sewing techniques with elastic. The hardest part is sourcing the materials – I have a feeling the bra-strap straps might not hold as well as the thicker straps with suspender-clips. Will keep you posted as I sew more! :)

      • Billie December 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

        I’m a newbie (have only sewn a couple of clothes) but you give me something to aspire to :D
        By they way, the elastic in that one I got is 2 cm and feels like a bra elastic, but the shiny, slightly less stretchy and no plush kind (if that makes sense). Maybe adding more straps would help distribute the load and be safer with the thinner straps?

        • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

          Yes, makes sense! I think a combination of thicker straps, or more straps, or a tighter fit on the waist would help.

      • Billie December 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

        Ummm also slightly TMI, but might be helpful for whoever wants to try wearing a garterbelt for the first time. It might look a bit silly, but it’s even more practical if the panties are worn over the garter belt (makes going to the *ahem* washroom far easier)

        • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

          It’s not TMI – the model photos always show the belt over, so you’d think that’s the way it goes. :)

          • Kendra February 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

            I just had this biggest “oh DUH STUPID!” moment about wearing them. I have only worn one once and did it as how they modeled it and I never understood why anyone would want to because it was so painfully tedious to go to the bathroom! Though I still have issues with the clips staying on the nylons.. they always come undone! Anyone have suggestions for that?!

            • Tasia February 3, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

              I do both, sometimes over, sometimes under, depending on my mood. But it is much faster if you do the opposite of the way they’re modelled!
              I don’t have problems with the clips undoing, so I can’t speak to that one. Are they plastic ones or metal? I heard metal is better overall so I’ve always stuck to metal ones.

  2. Evie December 15, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    That whole set is really beautiful, Tasia! And there are definitely a lot more people who commonly wear garter belts than you might think. I personally find them a fun alternative to tights (and they also make trips to the restroom a little less cumbersome).

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      Thank you! Nice to hear from others who like garter belts too. You must be right, there are more people that wear them than I originally thought!

  3. Michelle December 15, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Tasia, this is simply gorgeous! And as one who is sewing lingerie and showing it on the web, I don’t think a garter is any more unusual than bras and panties. Maybe just less sewn than the others, but you might be starting a new trend. :) Really beautiful.

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Thanks Michelle! I know, in theory a garter belt isn’t any more intimate than panties and bras. Perhaps it’ll start a new trend or at least encourage other garter belt wearers to sew their own!

      • Annette December 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

        I was thinking the same as I read your post, “hmm, new trend!?”

        • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

          Perhaps! The stocking shops will wonder where the sudden interest has come from. :)

  4. Susan December 15, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Wow, this is beautiful Tasia! Love the colours. Thank you for sharing.

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Thank you! :)

  5. Marie December 15, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    I’ve always had trouble with underwear shopping -Small band / large cup combo is tricky plus the underwires tend to be too long for petite folk. Your posts have certainly got me thinking about branching out and trying some bra making… I wonder if a ‘Sewaholic’ undies set is on the cards…? ;) Either way I’m definitely giving it a go now!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      I think a lot of people have challenges getting the right fit with underwear, small cups, big cups, or in between! Bra making is becoming popular now, or I’ve noticed it a lot more since I took the class back in February and it’s now interesting to me. It’s cool to be able to sew every single thing you wear, from bras to outerwear! Sewing it is one thing, getting the fit just right is another. Like they told us in the class, consider every bra project as an experiment, and practice. You’ll get better at the sewing part with each project, and improve the fit as well!
      I’d love to do a Sewaholic undies set one day! It’s on the list of future plans, for sure.

      • Marie December 16, 2014 at 1:03 am #

        Great to hear -and yes it’s the fitting that has put me off up until now but 2015 will be bra tackling time! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  6. Jill December 15, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Really a beautiful set! Getting the right fit with a bra is crucial. Making your own makes sense. But I have to chuckle when I think of garter belts because I’m old enough to remember a time without “pantyhose”. Sure we had tights, but just us teenagers, and mostly in the winter months. The older women, and even us in the warmer months ( yes Virginia, girls and women wore stockings all year round!) had to suffer through with a garter belt. When pantyhose came out it was unbelievable the collective sigh of relief we all gave. So I guess years of having no choice but to wear a garter belt left its impression on me! That being said, yours is a work of art!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 10:37 am #

      It’s so fascinating to hear about what it was really like. Did you have thicker/warmer/wooly stockings in winter or was it always thin stockings, even in the cold? I’ve thought of knitting wooly stockings for the winter. When pantyhose came out did no one wear garter belts anymore, or was it more of a choice?
      Thanks for the comment!

      • Jill December 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

        Hi Tasia, actually in the late 60s when I was in high school, we wore black tights with black flats- pointy toes of course! They were just like the tights we have today. The British Invasion brought in the mod style and bright colors. But for dress up occasions and warmer weather it was just nylon hose. But don’t forget this was the mini skirt era so when pantyhose came out it was great. You could go really short! But we were chilly! Thin nylons and a mini are no match for a cold winter’s night! Even our woolen dress coats were pretty short. When the maxi skirts and coats showed up, that too was a great improvement. And to answer your question, I would say all younger women went head over heels for pantyhose. The older women, my mom and aunts, wore girdles that had stocking hooks so they continued with stockings. Pantyhose was for really for the younger set, or at least someone with a flat belly…remember too, no workouts, crunches or gym memberships in those days!

        • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

          That’s so cool to know. Thanks for coming back to reply! I always wonder when new trends/advances were introduced, did people all adapt and change? Or were there some people who stuck to the old styles? Now I kind of know! :)

  7. Michelle December 15, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Oooo! Escandalo! I really love that you shared this project. I think it’s fun to see the different possibilities open to those of us who sew! I’ve never tried a garter belt in place of tights, but I admit, I’m curious to try!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      I’m so glad it was interesting to read about, and worth sharing! (I really did hold off for a while, wondering what people might think.)
      They’re neat, but like anything new, you think everyone can tell the first time you wear them! You’re super conscious of the difference. But no one can tell unless your skirt is super short. It’s nice not to deal with tights crotch and also unlike tights, you can adjust the waist. There’s usually a bra-type hook closure at the back, so you can tighten or loosen if you’re up or down weight or just ate a big dinner. And they’re fun – you can get stockings with seams up the back and such for a real retro look. Try them! :)

  8. francesca December 15, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Wow! Gorgeous! And not too intimate either, if anything kind to go into all that detail. I’ve been thinking of making one for a while, as I think stockings are so much healthier and easier to handle. I’d love to wear them and have tried stay ups but hate the feel of the elastic and the bukges they create:(. Plus I want to knit above the knee socks and lengthen them to wear as stockings:). You could do that now, Tasia. You’re such a fast knitter. I bought Rowan’s gorgeous sock yarn and dedicated book specifically for the high sock patterns…check it out…
    Would love to see a sewaholic undie pattern!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      I’ve heard that, that wearing stockings rather than tights is healthier for breathability. Makes sense! And yes, easier to handle. Two of them so if one rips, you still have one usable stocking.
      I would love to knit stockings! I started once, but lost interest when I realized they were going to take forever and the weather got warmer. I will have to check out the Rowan sock book! I saw a pattern on Ravelry specifically for thigh high stockings to be worn with garters –
      Would love to make an undie pattern! And garter belt pattern, for all the stocking enthusiasts :)

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Also these! Looks super cosy.

  9. Laura December 15, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Fantastic idea! It gets so wretchedly hot and humid in summers here, I had given thought to whether there was an alternative to nylon pantyhose. Many women don’t wear stockings at all, but I don’t think that looks professional. It’s okay with a summer dress, but not a business suit. The garter belt would seemingly allow one to wear stockings, but provide for some “air conditioning,” and of course, avoid the miserable dropped crotch of ill-fitting panty hose. I’m inspired to give it a try. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      I also find that shoes are more comfortable with stockings, even in summer. (Less sweaty, therefore less rubbing and blisters.) Another benefit! And yes, I also like the ‘air conditioning’ aspect. And adjustability, too. You can loosen or tighten the waist of a garter belt, make the straps longer or shorter, whereas tights are either the right fit for you or not.

  10. French Toast Tasha December 15, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    So, this question clearly comes from someone who doesn’t have a garter belt, but can you get stockings to go with them easily? Do the stockings need to have some kind of tabs to connect to the belt straps? Just curious, it looks fun!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Yes, I love or – What Katie Did has retro and seamed hosiery, and Mytights has everything else. The stockings don’t need anything, it’s the clips that do the work. Imagine if your tights just ended, mid-thigh, with a finished but not tight edge. Sometimes there’s a stretch lace band around the upper thigh which is nice. Then the clips clip around the top band, like suspender clips, but with different clips. I have heard advice never to get plastic clips, only metal, so they don’t break midday!

      • French Toast Tasha December 15, 2014 at 11:12 am #

        I’ll check it out, thanks! This whole idea seems much more comfortable, not to mention sexy, especially for summer.

        • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 11:17 am #

          It is more comfortable, except in extreme cold, then you probably want to have tights for more coverage! Also with very short skirts you have to wear tights else the garter straps will be visible, unless that’s your thing..

    • Billie December 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      I have to add, from experience, that you have to take care to get stockings, not hold ups, since the latter have a silicone band to grip on the skin. The garter clips don’t co-operate with it

      • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

        Yes, good point! They’re also called thigh-highs as well as hold-ups. You want to look for ones that don’t have the sticky part.

  11. Jacqui December 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Very pretty! I’d love to make some. It has been years since my visit to Vancouver but I did find garter straps at Dresew. They were only available in black and white, though.

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

      Oh, good to know! Will have to check next time I’m there.

  12. Debbie December 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    I actually can’t believe how beautiful this is; I’ve always thought sewing lingerie’s not worth the effort but this is soooo worth it!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

      It can be worth it, if it’s worth it to you. I probably wouldn’t sew workhorse undies (plain cottons and such) but I like sewing fancy things. Or things that you can’t get anywhere else, like blue lace garter belts. :)

  13. Annette December 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Love the color combo, gorgeous! The entire set is beautiful and I hope you have fun and comfort wearing them. Enjoy!

  14. Caroline Amanda December 15, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    So gorgeous. I love this entire set, but especially the garter belt. I’m personally never worn one. This makes me want to try making and wearing one!

  15. Sylvie December 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    You’re inspiring me to try stockings and a garter! I’ve thought about it before but kind of figured people just didn’t. We can all feel a little more comfortable trying them all together. ;)

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      I thought the same thing and that’s why I wondered if I should post about it or not. I’m really enjoying the discussion about tights and stockings and garters that came of it! Perhaps not very many people wear them, either that or we just can’t tell the difference between tights and stockings when someone’s fully dressed. :) Either way, it’s a comfortable alternative to tights in my opinion. Harder to find stockings than tights, but not too hard with online shopping.

  16. Chris Griffin December 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Modcloth sells garters and thigh high stockings for those wanting to try before making. Although, it may be cheaper to make! I love garters and thigh highs for all the reasons above!!
    My only thing is I prefer garter skirts so you get a tummy-smoothing plus garters.
    Lauriana’s blog has a garter skirt:

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      Ohhh I love that garter skirt! It’s amazing. That’s where it’s at for tight skirts. Thanks for sharing the link! Now I want to make one, too.

  17. The Nerdy Seamstress December 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    This is so pretty. I’ve never worn one, but I want to make one. I would have never thought to make it. I think it’s pretty neat!

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Thank you! It’s neat to be able to sew stuff like this. It’s less risk than buying special lingerie, if you aren’t into wearing the finished item, at least you got to practice and learn!

  18. Splintersnstitches December 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    I’m a “big legged woman” (to quote Led Zepplin)…or at least my thighs are. With 13″ calves, 25″ thighs, and long legs, it is VERY hard to find tights that fit, so I have been looking into making my own garter belts too. I’ve seen them at Fredrick’s of Hollywood and the like, but they’re kind of limited in colors and besides, I love how you matched them to your bra/panty set–so pretty!! The next trick is finding thigh high pantyhose that don’t have that vile silicone banding!!

    I wonder if you could use the clips like this ( instead. It sounds like they might be cheaper, and maybe easier to use.

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

      I think the actual suspender clips (that you’ve linked) have sharp grabby teeth, and would likely put holes in your stockings! The clips I used are about $2 each, double the price but not sharp or pokey.
      For garter belts try What Katie Did or Joanna’s Wardrobe, they have styles that are more basic and flat to go under clothes. And some more interesting styles too! I’m actually thrilled to see so many comments on this post, I’m encouraged to sew more garter belts and talk about it. Hopefully it helps! I agree, if you’re tall or petite, it’s hard to get tights that sit just right. (And even if you’re average height, sometimes tights just aren’t awesome to wear.)
      For thigh highs that aren’t hold-ups (holdups are the ones with the silicone), I like – they’re UK based but ship everywhere and free shipping over $65. And lots of sales and special deals so you can stock up when there’s a sale on. What Katie Did has retro styles with back seams, love! (But they’re a little more obvious and dramatic. And you have to worry about the lines staying straight.)

  19. Laura December 15, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    I’ve made a long leg girdle with garters, because I was working for a lingerie fabric store, and we had all these vintage patterns, and it seemed fun. It was fun, and even though I was making them to wear like bike shorts under skirts and the like, and I rarely clipped any over the knee socks to the garters, they just were cool.

    • Tasia December 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      That sounds awesome, and very unusual! A bike-short style girdle with garters? I have these handknit over-the-knee socks that never stay up so I can see that being useful. You know, I’ve never seen vintage lingerie/shapewear sewing patterns. Or maybe I just haven’t looked! I’d love to read the instructions for sewing a vintage girdle or garter belt and see how it all comes together. So cool!

  20. sonia December 16, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    I’d forgotten about suspenders/garters, in the 80’s I had lots of pretty satin sets with matching suspenders, they all seemed to have a whole matching set of three pieces in the shops. I just looked online and only found one in the bridal range of a big online shop. Thanks for the reminder, I prefer this idea to using tanning products on my legs this summer.

  21. Renée December 16, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Beautiful set. I bought garter clips from Dressew a few years ago when making a Hallowe’en costume. I haven’t worn a garter belt any other time but I do hate wearing tights because I am so tall and the crotch always sits so low. I think I will have to give them a try.

  22. Tiff December 16, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    This great etsy vendor has the garter clips in lots of colors, along with lots of other great lingerie supplies:

    They are a set of 4 for $1 USD and she will ship internationally – not sure if it’ll work out in the long run on shipping costs to Canada, but might give you broader color options!

    • Tasia December 16, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      Oh awesome, thank you! Metal ones, too. Thank you so much for sharing!

  23. Alice December 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Gorgeous! I love this whole set, I almost wish it was available in stores (though of course it would be much less special if it was).

    I have a cheapo garter belt I bought along with a pair of fancy stockings this summer, but I haven’t worn either of them yet. In the summer I don’t wear stockings at all, and when it’s cold I want the insulation of tights! Also, I wear short skirts and can’t be bothered to sit like a lady so opaque tights or shorts are really a necessity. The garters and stockings dwell in the same realm as cocktail dresses–they’re being “saved” for special occasions that may never happen. But if I ever make a lingerie set I will have to make a matching garter belt.

  24. Anne December 17, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    We wore thick stockings in the winter and long bloomers to cover the gap to keep our thighs warm. I could use some now as I hate tights under my skirts with boots and my thighs are freezing!!! I was skinny then and my “suss belt” always slipped and cut into one hip or the other with the effort of trying to keep the stockings taut and smooth. Tights really were a big improvement despite the dreaded droopy crotches. Better fitting tights is the answer there, keep trying sizes that you don’t think will fit, it may solve the problem.

  25. Anne December 17, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    Tasia, I forgot to say how much I adored the ensemble, and how much I admire your taste in lingerie. Tres ooh la all!!! The chocolate and blue is so subtle and chic.

  26. Ryan December 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    Stockin Girl ( has a lot of different styles of stockings and tights. Being tall, i have trouble buying tights and even stocking can be difficult to source. But you get a little more leeway when you can adjust the length of your suspenders.

    • Tasia December 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

      Nice! Thanks for the recommendation, I’m happy to see they ship to Canada and have a good selection. :)

  27. Sara December 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    It actually looks a lot like an upside down bra.

    • Tasia December 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

      It does! Like a stretch lace bralette.

  28. Jennifer December 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    I am so excited! This post and thread helped me with wardrobe problems I’ve been struggling with for years: (1) I gained a fair bit of weight and can’t wear my sexy bras or garters anymore, which was upsetting to me (I l-o-v-e my lingerie!) See, I wasn’t interested in making bras or panties until you showed them with a garter belt–Oh my gosh, a SET! Yes! I *love* sets! I don’t know why I didn’t think of making one before! (2) I was only familiar with garter belts, not garter skirts, and have always felt dismayed at seeing the outline under my body-skimming dresses (even when I was slender). Problems solved! Thank you so much! Keep following your instincts, Tasia! You are doing good work!

    P.S. I also thought about wearing the panties over the garter belt, but I thought it just wasn’t done. It’s nice to know that other ladies came up with the same “washroom” solution!

  29. Jennifer December 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    And…I realize that most ladies consider a bra + panty combo to be a set, but to me it’s not a set until it has a matching garter belt! Great job! Your pieces look lovely!

  30. Corina January 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    Dear Tasia,
    I absolutely love the blue and chocolate panty and bra set. I have two questions:

    1. Where can I get the pattern for the bra and panty set?

    2. Where can I get the beautiful blue lace and the other fabrics used on panties and bra?

    This was truly a work of art. You have inspired me to go for it. I’ve signed up for the Craftsy bra making class and bought a pink kit to start.
    Keep up the great work. We’ll done. Corina

  31. Cassie Hargett January 18, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    It’s not unusual. Though you don’t see other girls wear this. Maybe because it’s not available to them or they just don’t have the time for this, but after seeing what you made, I’m sure a lot of them will try this. It’s great. I mean, it’s better than what it used to be. I think the garter belt was a good complement. Good job on this one.

  32. Sewing Sveta January 26, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    I saw garter clips in Dressew, for 49 cents per pack. Maybe you need more, so check the place.

    • Tasia January 27, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      Thanks for the tip!