Dressing Up a Suit

In the interest in saving time and money, especially in the week before our wedding, we decided it would be in our interest to make Dustin’s boutonniere. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to make bouts for the other guys at the wedding, but this fabric (and paper!) lovely is pretty simple to make.

I followed this tutorial over at WeddingBee, though I modified it just a little more to my liking.

You’ll need:

  • fabric of your choosing, in two contrasting colors/patterns (you can use scraps you have lying around, or buy scraps from a fabric store)
  • tea-stained or vintage book pages (the thicker the better)
  • a fabric adhesive, like Heat ‘N Bond (I used about 1/2 a yard, and bought it at a fabric store)
  • a needle and thread
  • a decorative button
  • thin branches
  • leaf templates (just do a Google search for a template you like!)
  • floral tape

The process!

  1. Cut two 3×4″ rectangles in each of your fabrics and paper. You’ll have 6 rectangles total, 2 of each pattern.
  2. Following the instructions on your adhesive, you’ll adhere the two rectangles together. For Heat ‘N Bond, you’ll simply heat your iron to the low/silk setting, place the rectangle of HnB paper-side up to the backside of the fabric, iron it for 2-5 seconds, peel the paper backing off, place the other fabric (backside down) on the adhesive, and iron for another 8-10 seconds. It’s a marvelously fun and simple process, and it gives the fabric stiffness it wouldn’t otherwise have.
  3. You’ll repeat this process with your other fabric and paper pairs.
  4. Next, you’ll trace your leaf template(s) on each of your fabric pairs. I chose a simple leaf shape for my fabric leaves, and a more complex shape for my paper leaf, which lays on top of the fabric ones.
  5. Once you have each leaf traced and cut out, arrange your leaves to you liking. Then, using your needle and thread, make a few simple stitches at the base (or where the stitches won’t show at the end of all of this) to hold things in place. You may also opt for a little dot of fabric glue. NOTE: My stitches are in a terrible place.
  6. Next, sew your decorative button (or silk flower, or vintage brooch, or Lego-man) at the base of your leaf arrangement. I chose a button that looks almost like a cross-section of a tree, which goes well with the branches I used as a “stem.”
  7. You could choose to stop here, but my boutinierre didn’t look quite finished, so I went out into the backyard to the dead trees management never watered, and snapped off two thin branches. You could use almost anything. Align them how you like them (it might be helpful to create a flat-ish side on which you’ll place your leaves. Once you’ve arranged the sticks, use floral tape to hold them together.
  8. Then, using your needle and thread, stitch your branches to the back leaf of your arrangement (so your stitch work doesn’t show). You might also try fabric glue, hot glue, or some other adhesive.
  9. You’re almost done! You can leave it alone at this point, and use a traditional pearl-tipped pin to affix the boutonniere to the lapel, or you can get a brooch backing from a craft store, and glue/stitch that on. Since this was just a mock-up, I haven’t done this step yet.

I don’t know what I think quite yet. I like this DIY bout, but I just don’t think it goes well with the look we’ve got so far (my vintage-glam dress, my brooch bouquet, our jewel tones, etc.). I think it’s just a little too rugged.

I love the book pages, though! What would you do to improve this idea?

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About AshleyGee

I'm a graduate instructor at a completely Southern (Football, Rush Week, and lots of "Hey Y'alls!") university. I teach freshman comp, study
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