Monday, May 19, 2008

Chinese Ball Buttons and Frogs

I'm still on a mission to finish this capelet for Miss Emily. I have constructed the shell, attached the small shawl collar and constructed the lining. Before I can bag the lining, I need to baste the button loop into place at the base of the collar. I wanted to use a button loop made from a fabric tube of the capelet fabric. However, I had a horrible time creating cord for the loop. I used instructions from these websites:

There was nothing wrong with these instructions. I'm pretty sure the chinese brocade was the problem. It wanted to fray something terrible and it was too stiff to turn in on itself. Since I was short on time, I didn't have the luxury of a steep learning curve. So I went out and bought rattail cording. I just finished my first Chinese Ball Button using this cord and these online instructions:

Making Chinese Frogs and Ball Buttons

This resulted in this button. Too small and not really very ball-like. Definitely no where close to workable.

Back to the drawing board. Next I used these instructions...

How to Sew A Chinese Frog

This was the resulting button. By this time I could see that a thicker cord was going to be needed. I decided to try my hand at making my own again. Before I had used a very narrow strip of fabric. If a bigger cord was needed to make a bigger button, than I might as well try to make it myself. I would probably be able to successfully turn a larger fabric tube. So back to my original idea of a chinese ball button from the capelet fabric itself.

I'll update later. Hopefully with a successful Chinese Ball button. If anyone has had success with these, please feel free to sing out!


Paula said...

Charity, a recent issue of Threads had an article about making Chinese ball buttons. I don't remember off the top of my head. It wasn't April, so I'm thinking it was probably May. But my head is mush right now so I could be wrong.

AllisonC said...

i hope you figure this out. i tried once when I couldn't find the exact colour Chinese buttons I wanted - now I buy the buttons first. There must be somewhere here in Hong Kong that can do custom ones which is probably the way for clumsy old me to go. But I know you can do it!

When Ladies Dressed said...

I've never tried these before; I see that in the end, yours turned out perfect!

Christine said...

Perhaps try this site:

If you tighten the ball carefully so that the crisscrossing of the cord stays on the outside, it seems to be the right size.

Anonymous said...

I learned to make mine nice and round from chinese knot you tube, cannot remember exact which one, but there is one that intructs and demonstrate very slow by an English woman.