My son's school held its first Prom this year, to those of you in the USA its no big news! But here in England its a new custom and I must say, it was a really good event. I decided to make my son's girlfriend a wrist corsage for him to give her as that way she could keep it as a keepsake of the night. I also decided to make Tom a matching buttonhole for his evening suit. Here is a workshop giving the steps to take to make something similar yourselves. Ive used the corsage magnets rather than pins for the buttonhole, as it prevents any damage by pins. I sell these of course in the store and they have been very popular, they are a brilliant idea. There will be a link to them later on in this article.
Here they are, Tom and Chelsey, and guess what!! They got to be Prom King and Queen!!
For the Wrist Corsage
You'll need some silk flowers that co-ordinate with the dress of course. Notice i didnt say 'match', and there is a reason for that. Lots of people think accessories have to match but in reality a dead match can either be impossible or boring even. Take a look at my colour theory article from the archive and you'll see all the possibilities, be adventurous. Also, in bridal floristry, too much of the same colour can look bland in photographs. Go for a contrast but add something ie ribbon, beads, etc to actually 'match' so that the design looks like it belongs to the occasion but doesnt have to be exactly the same.
To make the look unified, I used a sprig cut from a bunch of black Nerine silk flowers, some pale blue 'Love in a Mist' or Nigella to give its proper name, and some silk rose buds in ivory. This was to co-ordinate with a beautiful Turquoise Prom dress and also went well with the Dinner Suit because of the black included.
Ivory silk rose buds, black silk nerine and powder blue nigella, turquoise diamante to add sparkle. Turquoise satin ribbon was added at the end but we'll get to that.
Method of making up the Corsage
Ok so you know what you need, now to make the corsage. The good thing about silks is that you can make this well in advance, so for napkin rings, corsages, bridal flowers etc its a real bonus, and, of course, they can be kept forever so buy the best quality silks you can afford.
First you need to cut the pieces you want to use to the right length, so find the flower you want to be the focal flower, thats a way of saying, the flower to be the central point and focus of the design. This will be the largest of your selection. Then place something longer and more delicate behind it and adjust the length ratio in your hand so that they touch but dont overlap, let each flower have its own space but keep it close. Add other pieces of silk, in this case the black nerine and ivory rose bud, to the side of the first 2 placements and just move them around and experiment with the 'look' before you cut and commit yourself. Once you think they look good in the position you have, cut the stems so they are the same. See picture. See how I have bent the stem of the focal flower, the blue Nigella? Thats because when i bind and tape them, I want the focal flower to stand proud and upward from the wrist, I dont want them all flat, and hey, they have wire in them so use it!
Add diamante - in this case turquoise - if using them
Add what you like - make sure the lengths are staggered and not bunched up but...Know when to stop! Dont get carried away and make something too big fussy or heavy.
Now we need to secure what we've done so far, so taking a 56 guague long wire bent into a hairpin with one end longer than the other, hold it parallel to the stems and taking the longer end of the wire, pull and bind it firmly and quickly around the stems and the other wire.
Then, tape with stemtex tape or parafilm whichever you prefer. (Stemtex is the crepe type self sticking tape and parafilm is the thin plastic tape also self sealing, the former gives a matt finish, the latter a gloss finish.) In this instance Ive used stemtex and in a pale green colour so it shows up easier in these photos. All tapes and wires can be purchased in my store and the link will be at the end of the article, worldwide shipping. Cut the wire to an appropriate length, this varies according to the design and the size of the wrist its going on to so its pointless me being specific here. Now Tape over all wire to conceal it and tape down and across the raw wire at the end of course, cant have wire catching on the material. So now you have something like this.
Made Corsage Front View. Made Corsage Back view.
Now to wear this, the traditional way is to add ribbon to tie to the wrist so thats what ive done. The new skill saving method is to use a ready made corsage band with a metal clip which holds the design to the band.I may as well show you the first way. Take a length of co-ordinating silk ribbon and make a double bow, there is a workshop on the blog going into this in depth so wont repeat myself, but its a kind of figure of 8 from loops, see pictures. Tie another piece of ribbon around it and then around the corsage neatly just below the silk flowers. Then because it will swing around if you dont..you need to add a loop of ribbon to the middle of the corsage too for security on the wrist. At the back of the design connect the ribbons from the bow and the middle and this will then tie into a bow on the wrist.
DONT LAUGH at the next picture! ok you can Im afraid a rather hairy teenage boys arm is the wearer in this picture, his was the only arm available at the point of completion, cant get the staff! I include it only because the next one of it on the TRUE wearers arm isnt so close up.
For the matching Buttonhole
Always use the same material used in the corsage, this looks so unified, in my opinion much better than just an ivory rose. So here Ive used less of each of the Nerine, Rose buds and Nigella. No ribbon in the buttonhole.
Method of making up the buttonhole
As before, select the longer part of the buttonhole from less obvious flowers, no full open flowers. Thats for the focal point. This gives visual and actual balance. In this case ive used a bud of Nigella (Love in a mist) as the topmost point, nestling close by but at shorter length, the Black Nerine, Ivory Rosebud and Nigella. Cut as before to give the same stem length and bind securely as with the corsage.
Now its secure, time to add the magnet. They have 2 parts, the thinner part is taped in with the stemtex (or parafilm) and thicker part will be placed behind the lapel. These are incredibly strong magnets and a brilliant idea as no damage to the fabric ensues. Make sure the cut ends of the wires are carefully covered with tape so they dont snag material.
See how the magnet holds the buttonhole in place. The other part goes behind the lapel.
All the year of 2008 looked so good and it was nice to add a personal touch by making these flowers. The beautiful dress was made by Chelsey's grandmother. Hope you have the chance to do the same or use this workshop to make flowers for a wedding or special event as they apply to so many occasions.
Say hi if you visit my ebay store! Im always happy to answer any questions regarding your projects. Here is the link to the store. You'll find the magnets there and all kinds of things nice. Ask if you need any help.