May 19, 2011

French Collar Corsage


I hope this spring is bringing you a creative spirit, along with all the rain...with rainy days, there is time to spend at the table with all sorts of baubles and create the day away as we wait for the sun to come out and the temps to rise.

Earlier, I had a wild hair to create due to my good friends, Debbie and Maureen's birthday. They are twin sisters, and I love them both. I sure do love my girlfriends, and whenever I can, I want to show them. But the problem is, I don't wear a watch, nor do I have any clocks in our other words...I somehow feel that I get more hours in a day than others, and end up trying to cram in two days worth of projects into two hours. Sigh...too many ideas, and not enough time. Sound familiar to anyone out there?

To recap: I decided how much "fun" it would be to decorate a three-layer cake myself, and make homemade paper flowers on it and create some sort of French Collar Corsage for the guests of honor. Never mind that I have not seen neither made, nor had any idea how to go about doing this. And never mind that I had about a zillion other things I needed to do, and due, but....hey! Of course I can do this! To see the results of my paper flower cake, just read about it by clicking here.

Do you find those French collars at flea-markets and love them, but wonder what to do with them? I have found ways to display them over the years and use them around the house, but I still have many of them because I just can't resist them when I run across them at markets. 

So, I came up with another idea for them: French Collar Corsages...and after the party or event, they may be hung on a door knob as a keepsake.

I had no idea how to go about this little project, but after a bit, I figured it out. Now that I made a couple, I now know a few different ways I would make my next ones. But below are some basic steps to get you started. First, start with SOFT collars, not the stiff, starched ones. If stiff, then just wash the starch out and let it dry soft. I used old, stained ones - anyone who knows me, knows that I don't necessarily like "pristine" items. 

First, take a collar, and cross it over like so:

I then sewed a tiny stitch to hold it together, in the center:

I then dug through my collection of vintage buttons and found three buttons and sewed them together to create an interesting larger button and sewed it in the center:

I then added vintage French cuff buttons to the button holes at the tips of the collar:

For this corsage, I used died cheese cloth for my friend, Debbie, because she loves it so much. I was making this for her because I knew she would hang this in her bedroom. I designed custom bedding for her and will be using some fabric from her custom bedding for a leaf later.

I use this cheese cloth, cut into a square, to make a "ruffle" around the button. I fold little sections and then poke it behind the button with a toothpick and glue it behind the button:

As I said earlier, I was also making a three-layer cake at the same time while making these collar I didn't get all the steps photographed for each corsage, but the basic steps above was used for each corsage. Below are some photos of the other two corsages I made (while bake and frosting the cake - I am surprised there isn't frosting on them!).

For Maureen, I used feathers, and made her "ruffle" out of old German book pages that I fringed and glued behind the button. Above I began the fringe. Below is a piece of the fringe I cut before I scrunched it behind the button:

You can see the fringe all the around the button now (above) and I then bent it all a little with my fingers. Below, I sewed a little piece of material, and tacked it loosely so that the corsage could be pinned easily.

This next one is for Debbie's daughter, Caitlin, the hostess. This is simple and a combo of the two earlier ones. It has tiny feathers, so she has a little from her aunt's corsage. And it has a little cheese cloth like her mother's corsage, and I added a key because I know she has old keys in her home that are framed. 

So here are my three little French Collars Corsages for my sweet girlfriends. They were actually fun to make, and next time, I will enjoy making them even more, because I won't be making a cake at the same time. But the options are endless. Instead of buttons, I could use watch faces. Or a vintage clip earring. Old lace, a cuff link, or maybe even a vintage photo in a tin frame....

When the party is over...hang the corsage on a door knob, dresser knob, or even bed post. Or, recycle it and use it as a "bow" on your next gift package and pass it on!

 By the time the party got going, I was pooped and didn't really get my camera out at this stage. I managed to snap a quick photo and then forgot to get a "real" photo later. Sorry for the blurry photos, but you can get the idea. I really do put the camera down, and eat (dry) cake, laugh, drink punch and spend time with my sweet friends, and not just stay behind the lens...because while I love to click away with my Canon....clicking with my girlfriends is a picture-perfect afternoon for me!

My  "Little Debbie"

My "Merry Maureen"

Paper, lace, trim, buttons, is the making of the "perfect storm" for me. Now, toss out all watches, clocks, and timers within my sight...and now my "perfect storm" is heaven on earth because I am told that heaven knows no time. So, I imagine, that when I die, my heaven will be filled with endless stacks of vintage paper, boxes of old buttons, and tons of trim and finally...finally....I will finally have enough time for all of my ideas! 

In my heaven, there will be no such thing as: too many ideas, not enough time.

May you have a chance to create your own personal heaven on earth - even if it is for only a moment, a day, or only during a rainy season. And may you enjoy your perfect storm....

From my house to your house,



Anne Lorys said...

What you did with those cuffs is just genius, Elizabeth!

You continue to be such an inspiration to me, my friend!


Brenda said...

Elizabeth, your creativity and ability to create delights me! I am also delighted by your photographic skills. What lens do you use for your closeups, and what setting do you use on your camera when taking closeups?

Your friends are lucky to have you there providing special touches for their special day.


Unknown said...

I'm not crafty but you just might make me.
These cuffs are so fun!

Happy day to you~KarenSue

Sweet Old Vintage said...

Hi Elizabeth... I just posted and was checking out others this morning as I think about starting morning house chores... I loved the post as always and I have a box full of the collars.... Being a retired floral designer of 25 years my imagination just soared with your post... About 8 years ago the teens went through a couple years where they wanted ankle corsages and that was a stretch of the imaganation to create these for them... They wore tea length dresses for a couple years of which I love... I can see these being worn on the ankle with something as casual as capris or a Robin Brown type creation... Love the fact that they can be worn and uised as a display...even can view them as a pillar candle embellishemnt... Hum... Your mind always shares wonderful imagination and creation... I love your multi tasking, and I use to be able to do that and find in the last couple years I have lost that capablity.... since my heart attack I can only do one thing at a time and sometimes that is questionable... I don't know what for sure took that ability away from me, or is it is just the meds I take that I struggle for focus but whatever it is a fact that I am learning to live around... Just one more little objective way to learn to enjoy life with what you are given and what may be taken away with the key being just to enjoy.... Sending you best wishes ... I am hopng and waiting for the sun to make it appearance and add alittle energy to my battery... It has been a very different spring for many of us but oh so blessed more than the people of southern states that are devasted... There are so many things to be thankful for....

Elizabeth Maxson said...


You are always so sweet and I enjoy seeing your smiling face when you leave a note! Thanks for stopping by - made my day!


Elizabeth Maxson said...


Thank you the nice compliments! For the macro usage, I use a Sigma lens 28mm with 1.8 and I use magnifier filters for XCU shots. The filters (very inexpensive!) can be screwed onto any lens until a macro lens can be bought. I have used them for years. One day, would love to buy Canon lens, but Sigma lens are high quality too - I think this one cost about $500 or so? Can't remember.

I hope this helps!

E :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

I always love it when you write me, Sweet Old Vintage (always loved that blog name)...and yes...I thought of a lot of uses for them too! I love your ideas!!

I thought of the pillar candle idea and was going to use one, but did't have the right size candle on hand and was short on time to run out and buy one - great minds.... :-)

And another use? Slide over a wine bottle when giving as a hostess give when arriving for a dinner party! Decorate with a vintage wine label, velvet grapes or leaves....

And finally? How about on the side of a really cool hat? After seeing the royal wedding and all the hats, I kept thinking with the right baubles and feathers, and with the right hat, and sewn in the right place, it could look very chic on the right person...

Okay, have to go now....thanks for writing.

Oh, and as far as multi-tasking? It is way over-rated. :-) One thing at a time looks really good right now hahahaha :-)


Grace said...

Wow I am sitting with my mouth open! Great idea. Thank you for sharing. Grace

Gayle said...

I love that you put so much thought into personalizing these for each of your friends. You are right, the possibilities are endless!!

Take Care,

Down Raspberry Lane said...

Divine, Ms. M!

Burlap Luxe said...

Elizabeth, be still my bo-ho vintage heart! I shareed this post with my daughter who loves your colar cuff corsage more then you can imagine!

She was in awwww! and we both said we wish we were there creating with you! She is taken with the feathers so much that she was gasping!! You have my heart with the use of the buttons, burlap, and book page paper! but you know that about me!

Someday perhaps our paths will cross and we will create together soulfully :)

Come join in on my giveaway A "SHELTER" sign

cathypentonatelier said...

You never cease to amaze me my dear friend.... Your quote at the end of that post is so beautiful and so very right...Love C xx

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't travel the same flea circuit. I don't know that I have ever seen these but for sure now I will be looking.
And of course I will think of you.

rozetta said...

The corsages are so beautiful and so YOU!

I love the idea of being able to use them for decorating.

Now, to find some old collars. I never see them in my neck of the woods (SoCal).


Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Very clever and fun! Thanks for providing some inspiration for those irresistible collars! :)

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

How clever you are! This new twist on a corsage is brilliant. I would certainly wear it with pride.

Burlap Luxe said...

Come visit my latest piece I created! my fellow painter.
I wish I had you next door to photgraph it! New camera is soon in the works, I can't take it anymore :)


Anonymous said...

Beautifully crafted, love the buttons...must confess I'm a button addict. Always wondered if they have a name for that

tina said...

o.m.G!!!!!!!!!! Fabulous Fabulous Fabulous. See me? Throwing out every clock I have! ;) Such loveliness and I join you in the purposeful tracking and capture of joy in each minute!

Cynthia@Beach Coast Style said...

Just simply stunning and creative i don't have any of those collars but I am on the look out for them now!!! WOW!! I just can't stop looking at them. I just found your blog again I changed computers and could not remember your blog title I got the link for Carol Raised in Cotton!!! so glad now I can stalk you even more :) I just love your style!

jenclair said...

These are so lovely and so fun, beautiful and humorous!

The Old Painted Cottage said...

I always look so forward to your posts. Your photography is amazing and your talents are truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing them with us.


savvycityfarmer said...

I saw this on Carol's facebook page this morning ...
how genius, darling ...

you simply inspire me!!
everyday, all day

let's chat

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello Everyone!

Thank you for visiting my corsage experiment! I am always happy to have you visit me for a moment and I hope those of you who make a corsage will send me a pic of the finished project - I would LOVE to see them!

I am happy to have those back who "lost" me and happy to have the "regulars" and welcome to the newcomers!

I have been away doing a fantastic project that I can't wait to share - out of town a lot and working very long hours. Will share more when I can.

Big hug to you all,
Elizabeth :-)

Erin said...

Hello Elizabeth! I have been a huge fan of yours since RMS! So glad to see your blog:) Love these beauties, and the idea and design is genius!!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you Erin! You are so sweet. I enjoy your blog and your mantel creation as well. It is so neat how we bloggers can just inspire each other...thank you for stopping by and making my day!

Big hug,
Elizabeth :-)

Eileen said...

How wonderfully creative. Your photography is stunning--it has such a dreamlike quality. And boy did my eyes light up at the sight of those jars full of antique buttons!

Burlap Luxe said...

I am so crazy in love with all you inspire, I am up late and going through all your older posting wonder women!

I am sending your site to my aunt as I write you and I am on the phone with her telling her all about your amazements.

I will be back in the morn when I am awake ti enjoy more!

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