R-9: Sample Corsage Designs



Single-Carnation Corsage --This is a basic round shoulder corsage which can be made as formal or informal as desired, and any appropriate mass-type flower may be substituted for the carnation.


Select a standard carnation and wire and tape it either by cross-wiring with " of natural stem left or by removing all of the natural stem and inserting a chenille stem into the calyx base.


Add a net fan or three wired-and-taped pieces of leather leaf or camellia leaves behind the carnation. Secure these to the flower stem by taping.


Prepare a ribbon bow for placement below the carnation. Leave the wires untapped, such that the wires may be placed around the carnation stem, twisted tight, and trimmed. Now trim the main stem to the desired length for pinning and tape it to leave no wires exposed. Arrange the bow loops for best appearance, and add a corsage pin.


Boutonniere - The basic boutonniere is created in the same manner as the single-flower corsage with leather leaf for the background. No net or ribbon would be used. However, a subtle addition of baby's breath or other filler could be appropriate, as could also be done for the single flower corsage.


Double Cymbidium Orchid Corsage --The cattleya orchid is used alone as a corsage because of its size. Several techniques were previously discussed for wiring the stems, with or without a water tube, and providing support wires behind the large petals. As a smaller orchid, the cymbidium is generally more popular, and its size will allow use of two together for a more developed corsage image.


Pierce a #22 or 24 wire just below the petals, and then pierce a #28 or 30 (crosswire) through the base of the flower. The heavier wire extends the stem and gives strength. The lighter wire is wrapped around the stem and heavy wire to secure the flower in place.


Add a moisture source, either a half-filled water tube or piece of moist cotton at the stem end, and tape the whole stem (including water tube, if used). For cattleya orchids it is usual practice to add the wire loops for petal support at this time, but they are not usually needed for cymbidiums. Be sure that the finished taped stem tapers toward the base for a natural appearance and comfortable feeling.


Position net tufts and/or glamor leaves (three) behind the orchid petals for a softened background and additional support for the petals. Place the two orchids together in a linear position, and tape their stems together. Add a bow at the base, finish taping and trimming the stem, and add two corsage pins.


Tailored Corsages --These are the corsage designs in linear, triangular, and curved shapes. They include several flowers of one or more types plus a variety of accessories. The following example is a combination of five pixie carnations of graded sizes, 3 sweetheart roses, and a combination of glamor leaves and net accessories.


Place a small net fan behind and slightly below the tip of a glamor leaf. Tape them together with one or two wraps. Place the smallest sweetheart rose over the leaf/tuft piece, with the leaf tip about _1" above the rose. Tape these stems together.


Place the smallest pixie carnation slightly down and to the right of the rose flower. Now place the next smallest carnation slightly lower than the first and to the left. Tape these stems to the rose stem. (Note that this positioning is similar to the procedure used in developing rhythm when arranging in containers. Note also that there will be a gradual facing change as the arrangement progresses from the top to the focus.)


Place a net fan or tuft between the two carnation flowers. Add a glamor leaf and net fan to the right and left sides at the same level as the rose. Tape these stems together. Add the second rose bud to the right of the corsage center and tape it to the frame.


Place a net fan or tuft to the right of this second rose. Add a carnation to the right of this netting and slightly down from the rose. Tape these stems.


Place a carnation with net fan over the glamor leaf on the left. Add a glamor leaf and net fan to the bottom right side of the corsage. Tape these securely.


Place the third and largest rose bud in the corsage center. Place additional net fans or tufts around the rose to fill the spaces and the remaining large carnation over the glamor leaf on the lower right. Tape these stems.


Adjust the size and shape of the corsage as desired, either for an asymmetric triangle or a crescent shape. Add the bow to the side/base, and tape its wire carefully. A focal accessory (small bee or butterfly) might be added at this time as the bow is positioned and taped. Check that all wire ends are covered by tape, and include two corsage pins to finish the design.



Wrist Corsage -- These corsages are very popular for dancing because they are more adaptable for a variety of gown designs. Some wearers also feel the wrist corsage is less subject to bruising compared to a shoulder corsage, but that is not necessarily true. Certainly, the larger and more fragile orchids and gardenias are much more safely worn on the shoulder rather than the wrist.


Wrist corsages are arranged in the same manner as for shoulder corsages, except that they usually taper to a point at each end to conform to the line of the arm. They are most easily constructed as two equal sized triangular corsages that are joined at the center. This creates the double ended corsage, and a bow placed in the middle finishes the joining point. The corsage is then fastened to a commercial elastic wristlet with aluminum clips that bend easily around the corsage frame.


Hair Corsages -- Floral pieces worn in the hair are popular for special occasions, in which case the hair is often styled to accommodate a special corsage. The usual design is in a teardrop shape that conforms to the shape of the head. Net and glamor leaves usually replace natural foliages, and a bow and ribbon streamers may be included or omitted according to the hair style and image desired. It is important for the flowers to remain as close to the hair as possible; the flowers should not project too far from the corsage frame, and attachment to the hair will either be with hair pins around the frame or the frame will be carefully wired to a small hair comb. After attachment, the flowers will need final adjustment to conform into the contours of the hair style.


Nosegay -- This is a carried design, in which the flowers radiate from a central point in a globular shape with the stems joined together forming a handle. The design process is virtually the same as for colonial and cascade types of bridal bouquets, although the size is appropriately smaller. Individual flowers are wired with long stems to facilitate handling. Most florists begin with a net foundation of several larger loops joined together. The flowers are then fitted among the net folds, beginning at the center and working outward in a circular pattern. The nosegay may be finished with a backing of foliage, net fans, or satin leaves around the outside, after which the multiple taped stems are taped together, trimmed to give a 6_8" handle, and then wrapped with satin ribbon, reverse side out, to cover the sticky tape. An alternative is a commercial nosegay holder. This is a funnel shaped collar, with or without a lace trim, for backing and supporting the flowers. The taped flower wires are inserted through a hole in the collar, pinned or taped to secure them together, and the handle ribbon wrapped. Another alternative is to use the wet-foam nosegay holders, which are complete handle and collar units, and arrange the nosegay with flowers and foliages prepared for standard arranging.



Flowers to Wear



Making Accessories

Sample Designs