Monday, November 23, 2009

Garters and Other Ornaments

Garters are a staple of most Mardi Gras festivities.  They are so dainty and so pretty.  This evening I was reminded that garters are used in many different festivities.  Weddings pretty much require at least one garter, if not more.  I actually remember my grandmothers and other older ladies rolling their stockings over their garters.  Those were not the pretty little things that are tossed at weddings.  The history of the garter toss seems to stem back in time when the couple needed witnesses to the consummation of the marriage.  The witnesses would bring the garter or a piece of undergarments to prove they witnessed the consummation of the marriage.  It became good luck to acquire a piece of the couple's clothing.  Frequently, the groom would simply toss the garter or garment out the window to get rid of the spectators.

There are more uses for the garter than the above festivities.  Sleeve garters came into vogue in the late 19th century when men's shirts could only be purchased in one size.  The sleeve garter was used to push up and hold up the sleeve.  Of course, your more wealthy and aristocratic gentleman of the day had his shirts tailor made to fit.  So, the sleeve garter became a sign of your financial situation.  Sleeve garter can be seen on musicians, especially the barbershop quartet variety; card dealers in casinos; the wild west; bookkeepers; welcome home attire; and sadly, funeral attire. 

I had to make some.  They are super easy to make and so much fun to decorate.  My attention was brought to the fact that team garters are now an accessory for the multitude of football and other sports paraphenalia.  Yes, you can purchase garters with the name or logo of your favorite team.  When I did a search on the internet, the garters were not the most popular team item, like the tee shirt, but darn if they didn't have them.  Except for the one I was trying to find, of course.  My research was not exhaustive but hit the high points.

The garters that I made are LSU colors for a friend.  I should be able to embroider on the garter.  I've read articles and watched videos on embroidering on ribbon.  If I can embroider on ribbon, I should be able to embroider on garters, especially if I make the garter.  I'm thinking that if it works out okay, I might do garters for my Krewe.  Oooooh yes!

There is also a type of machine embroidery called "free standing lace" (FSL).  This type of embroidery is done on a water soluble stabilizer (WSS) and is specially designed for FSL.  The design is stitched onto the stabilizer in such a way that the stitches hook onto each other.  Once you've finished embroidering the design, you wash away the stabilizer (which is simply a sheet of starch) and dry the design.  Here are three such designs that I did this weekend.  They are Christmas ornaments.  They turned out pretty cute.  The trick for something like this is to wash away the stabilizer leaving just enough starch in the design to make it stiff.

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