LoSP: DIY Thigh Chain Garter

While Alex was on Spring break, I wasn't as productive as I wanted to be, but I did get a couple items finish for my League of Space Pirates (our band), character Chroma's costumes. Inspired by the Thigh Chain Garters in my previous DIY post, I made myself an intricate version. You can make this with or without a sewing machine...except when adding the chain, which is hand sewn on. I think this was very easy to do, but I have a harder time explaining it, so bear with me while reading the steps.

For wearing it, I wanted to give the illusion that the chain was floating. Since I have pale skin, the silver chain doesn't have much contrast. However, by wearing black tights or leggings, the elastic band blends in well and the silver chain stands out better.

I also made a special garter to hold my small weapons (all paint modded toys)...a knife, a gun, and two bullets. I wrote the Weapons Holster Garter tutorial in a separate post. (I'll link to it when I'm done writing it...)

Thigh Chain and Weapons Holster Garters

It is hard to photograph, since the light weight chain easily moves, but you get the idea. The elastic band is just slightly under this skirt...because this skirt is now too small for me...

  • Black 1.5" elastic - Bought mine in a pack at a fabric store. If you are having it cut from a large spool, I recommend measuring your thigh 1st and adding about 1 ft (if you are doing both garters) or 2 inches (for just this garter). The extra is for a secure overlap (and a strip for weapons sectioning for the 2nd garter)
  • A hand sewing needle - For sewing with...duh. You can either hand sew the garter and chain...or just the chain
  • Black thread - The thread is for securing the chain to the garter
  • Scissors - I use small ones for cutting thread, since it's a thin material
  • A lot of thin lightweight chain - I bought a small spool of silver colored chain from Michaels. I still have a lot left over after this project. You want to use lightweight chain, so your band doesn't get too weighted down and falls
  • Small jewelry pliers - I have many different kinds. I use the two plier method...one in each hand while working. This is for opening the chain links. This saves on chain, instead of cutting the link
  • Small chain cutters (optional) - If you don't want to save chain, you can cut through a link to separate the pieces for each drape. I probably would have done this if I could have found mine. My chain is thin, so small chain cutters/nippers would do fine
  • Sewing Machine (optional) - For strongly sewing the garter overlaps


1) I took a black 1.5" wide piece of elastic and wrapped it around my thigh close to my crotch. I pulled it slightly tight, so after it was sewn, it would stay up on my thigh. I added 2 inches, for a secure overlap for sewing, and cut the elastic at that measurement.

2) I removed the elastic from my thigh and set the remaining elastic to the side. I held the fitted piece of elastic up to the remaining elastic and cut the remainder to match...so I would have matching lengths for both garters. I had a short piece left over, which I will use later for the next garter. I set the small piece and one long piece aside for the Weapons Holster Garter. Ok, back to the Thigh Chain Garter.

3) I overlapped the ends by 2 inches and pinned it. I took the piece to my sewing machine and stitched across the top, down a side of the overlap, across the bottom and up the last side, to secure the overlap. Then I sewed an X in the center from overlap points, for more security. This is how I always sew elastic. The overlap doesn't need to be stretchy. The rest of the unsewn band will be. If you don't have a sewing machine, this step can also be done with a needle and thread by hand sewing it. I find using the machine is a faster and stronger sewing method than hand sewing, for securing the elastic band overlap.

4) I wanted my chains to be symmetrical, so I had to find the half, quarter, and eight measurements of the circle band. I folded the band in half, using the overlap as a guide for a half point. I took pins and lightly placed them in the elastic, so I could keep track of the fold. I unfolded the elastic, and folded it the other way, matching up the 1st set of pins. I placed a pin at each of those folds, to mark those folds.

5) Now in each quarter section, I wanted to find the half way point/the eight marks of the circle. I folded each quarter section, one at a time, matching up the pins. I placed a pin in each half of the quarter. After doing this, you will have 8 pins...each will now mark 1/8 of the circle circumference. Marking this way is MUCH EASIER than using a measuring tape for precise measuring. Since everyone's thigh is a different circumference, the folding and pinning method works nicely.

6) Thread your needle. Match the ends and tie a knot. I think doubled strand thread is stronger and easier to work with than single strand thread. Starting at the 1st 1/8 mark on the left of the center mark on the overlap, make two whip stitches with your needle and thread.

7) With the small chain, whip stitch through the loose chain end to the elastic. I did this about 8 times to make sure it's secure. On the back, slip your needle through the layers of stitched thread. Slip it through again, leaving a loop. Put your needle through the loop and pull that loop slack tight...leaving another loop from the long section of thread that isn't pulled through yet. Put your needle through the long loop and gently pull tight. Snip your thread close to the knot, but leaving a small tail. This creates a secure double knot. You will secure all of the loose ends of chain using the info in this step. This is a very secure way to attach the chain and knot your thread to finish.

8) Skip an 1/8th mark and start at the next one...the 3rd one in the row. While the chain was on the spool I draped it to the 3rd 1/8th mark on the elastic band, and held the decided end beside the mark. You don't want the chain draped too long. About mid-thigh at the longest is comfortable. Clip or open a link at your desired end for the long drape, to separate your piece of chain from the spool of chain.

9) Before attaching the other loose end of your long draped chain, you want to measure out 3 more long chain pieces to match the 1st one you created. Clip or open a link to separate your piece of chain from the spool of chain for each measured out piece. Set the 3 pieces aside.

10) Straighten out the chain, so the links aren't twisted. As in step #6 and #7, secure the end of this draped chain at the 3rd 1/8th mark. Rethread your needle only when you are running low on thread.

11) Pick up one of the cut pieces of chain. Attach one end using steps #6 and #7 slightly beside the 1st chain at the 3rd 1/8th mark. Straighten the links out and attach the loose end to the 5th 1/8th mark.

12) Repeat Step #11, with the 2 remaining pieces of chain...but 1 piece will go from the 5th 1/8th mark to the 7th 1/8th mark, and the last piece will go from the 7th 1/8th mark to the 1st 1/8th mark. I consider this completing the 1st row of chain.

13) You will repeat Steps #6 to #12 with two more rows of chain. Each row will have lengths of chain shorter than the previous row and will be secured 1/2 inch away from the previous row chain attachment, moving towards the center where the 1/4th mark pin is.

14) After finishing attaching all of the chain, remove the marking pins. You are done.


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