Top Shows

Good Morning

Weekdays at 9am | TV ONE

Astar's Craft - Buttonholes and Corsages - 6 Sept

Buttonholes and Corsages

The wedding flowers or buttonholes traditionally worn by men were either a white carnation or a rose, matched with a leaf or small piece of asparagus fern. For the bride's corsage, an enormous amount of fuss was involved in ensuring that the flowers matched the outfit.
Trends come and go and the traditions of the past have disappeared. We are now more relaxed with our choices and basically anything goes. However, the basic methods of construction remain the same and to make sure the flowers last the distance there are a few simple steps that need to be followed.

Golden Rules

Don't make the corsage or buttonhole too big. There is nothing worse than an oversized flower on a small-framed person.
Try and take out as much excess weight as possible. This can be achieved by removing almost all leaves and stems and leaving just the flower heads.
Establish what fabric the garment is made of and design accordingly. Light-weight fabric such as chiffon or silk might not be strong enough to hold heavy designs.
Any flowers or leaves that are wired must be covered with floral tape. Years ago we didn't have plastic covered wire, which meant that the wire went rusty when wet. 
It is best to limit the number of elements (flowers and foliage) to three. 

You will need

Floral wire (wire comes in 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, and 28 gauge, 45cm long or on a spool. 18-gauge is the heaviest.) Pre-cut, plastic coated lengths are best for floral arrangements. Heavier flowers need a heavier gauge of wire to support them. For most work 22 or 24-guage should be sufficient.

A selection of small flowers - roses, carnations, stephanotis, asparagus fern and ivy leaves.

1 roll of green floral tape - parafilm

Long pearl-headed pins

Male Buttonhole or Boutonniere


There are numerous ways of wiring flowers. A trip to the library or an internet search will give in-depth illustrations, which will make the task much simpler for beginners. 
Cut the rose stem to slightly less than 1cm, or give yourself just enough stem to insert the wire up into the top of the flower. Push the wire through about 2cm and turn the short end down back on to itself. Don't be tempted to twist the wire as this will add bulk. Take the green tape and pull slightly to extend.  Wrap this around the stem and wire bringing it down about 2cm. Pull, twist and bind so the tape sticks back on itself.
You can wire several pieces in one application which will help eliminate excess weight.
Cut a piece of fern twice the length of the rose and select a small ivy leaf marginally larger then rose. Place the ivy leaf behind the fern and wire both together. The fern and leaf gives extra support to focal flowers.
Place the rose in the middle and cut the wires to about 4cm. Bind to hold all together. 
For the buttonholes worn by Brendon and Steve for our wedding competition promotion I incorporated a small sprig of stephanotis. This was wired then placed behind each rose, but slightly above it.
When it comes to correct placement on the body, the rose head should point up.

A corsage is simply an extension of a buttonhole but with a bigger cluster of central flowers and smaller flowers graduating away from the middle. It is worn to follow the contour of the body, with flowers pointing down. 
The correct position is at the top of the shoulder seam of a garment, not to rest on the breast.