How to Tie the Knot in a Frog Button

Written by sylvia cini
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The frog button, or Mandarin button, is a type of knot used as a fastener on traditional Chinese garments. On qipao, a particular style of dress, the frog was pushed up through a loop button hole on the opposite side of the top. In many instances, elaborate looping was stitched directly to the shirt, forming a symmetrical bone-shaped design when the button was closed. Frog buttons are still widely used in the East, but have also been adapted into Western fashion where they are used on shirts and dresses for men and women.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • String

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  1. 1

    Hold the free end of the string in your right hand so 6 to 10 inches hang from your hand. Place your left hand 3 inches away from your right hand, allow the remaining string attached to the ball to hang from your left hand.

  2. 2

    Place the string in your right hand into your left hand on top of the other string to form a small loop, about 1/4 inch in diameter. Slide your right hand toward the end of the string, so at least 3 inches of string remains.

  3. 3

    Repeat to form a second loop; you will have two loops pinched in your left hand with two lengths of thread hanging below your hand.

  4. 4

    Wrap the free end of the string over and under the other, twisting them together.

  5. 5

    Slide the loops slightly closer together until the right loop overlaps the left.

  6. 6

    Weave the free end of the string through the two loops: over, under, over, under. Pass the string over the right side of the right loop, under the right side of the left loop, over the left side of the right loop and under the left side of the left loop.

  7. 7

    Pull the two ends of the string slowly, working the string in the knot until it is tight.

  8. 8

    Use the ends of the string to form the decorative frog design on the shirt or sew them directly to the shirt to accommodate a flat button hole.

Tips and warnings

  • As you improve your technique you will be able to place your right hand closer to the edge of the string. This will result in a tighter knot and less material waste.
  • To achieve a different look, double-up the string, use rope, vary the thickness and work with textured fibre.
  • You can make a matching cord to knot by cutting a strip of fabric on the bias, sewing it into a tube and using it like rope.

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