Thursday, April 25, 2013

Scarf tying - Step by Step - the basic double knot

Recent posts of "What I Wore" featured a "double knot".

The double knot used on a square silk scarf.

The double knot used on a cardigan waist tie.

The double knot is the most basic of all scarf ties and the beauty of it is that it looks neat, symmetrical and perfect.

Best of all, its very simple. Trust me on this. Once you understand the steps in the technique, its very easy. 

But before I show you how to tie, lets go back a few steps.

Scarf ties are many & varied. There are countless YOUTUBE videos on how to tie. My post is one millionth of the resources available and its in photo (not video) form.  

Due to the wealth of resources out there, I encourage you to explore the web for scarf tying.

So how do you navigate all those resources? Good question. 

For large rectangle scarves (& bulkier winter scarves), the best resource IMO is Wendy's Look book video. It shows 25 different techniques in a very entertaining format.

For silky square scarves, any Hermes video will do or anything in MaiTai's Picture book is excellent.

Together with Style into Action, these are the only resources you will need.

So lets get down to business.

Most silky square ties involved two steps:

Step 1: Turning a square scarf into a narrow ribbon. Fold the scarf into a ribbon shape about 3-4 cm wide (photos 1-4).

Step 2: Tying the "ribbon" into the desired knot. In this case, its the basic double knot (photos 5-9).

Starting with Step 1 (making the ribbon shape):

Take a silky square (any size will do) & lay it out flat with the bad side facing you/good side facing the table (or the floor). 

Photo 1: Take two diagonally opposite corners of the square scarf & fold as in photo 1.

Photo 1

If the scarf had fabric tag, make sure the corner with the tag is one of the corners you took hold (& preferably the tag corner is in the "corner under here"). This will make sure the tag is hidden & isnt flopping out.

Photo 2: Take each long end of the above & fold again so the edges meet along the middle. The scarf will now look like photo 2. 

Photo 2

Photo 3: Take the above scarf & fold it in half lengthways so you get the look in Photo 3.

Photo 3

Photo 4:  Take the above scarf & fold it in half again, lengthways, so you get what you see in Photo 4.

Photo 4

You have now created a long thin strip (2-3 cm, depending on the size of the scarf) which you can start to tie.

Now let's move to Step 2 (the actual knot):

Photo 5: Take the above & lay one end over the other, so that to end on top is the longer one. You know have a long end (on top) & a short end (underneath). See Photo 5.

Photo 5

Photo 6: Bring the longer end under & over the shorter end so you have a basic single knot like Photo 6.

Photo 6

Photo 7: Now you are going to do a second knot (hence the term "double knot").

The only "tricky" bit is that you will take the original long end & bring it under the short end (again) - as in Photo 7. 

Notice the original long end is showing as a horizontal ribbon end pointing toward the left of Photo 7. 

Photo 7

Photo 8: Now bring that same long end through the original basic single knot, so that the long end is now pointing toward the right of photo 8. This will look like what you see in photo 8.

Photo 8

Photo 9: You have now made the double knot but it is very loose. Clap, clap, clap. 

So you can now pull that long end through so the tie becomes tighter. In the process, you adjust the knot & the ends so they sit evenly & symmetrically - see photo 9.

Photo 9

If at this stage, after a bit of adjusting, if you notice that your ends are uneven (one is noticeably longer than the other), it means you made the original cross over in Photo 5 too long or too short. You need to play around with that original fold to get the ends even & its just trial & error (practice makes perfect!)

You are now ready to slip it over your head. With practice, you will be able to do this knot directly on your body.

The end result is what is on the original photo of this post. 


The key to this knot is that the long end goes over the short end twice - once in Photo 5 & again in Photos 7/8.

Remember: Long tied over short - twice.

For a multi patterned scarf, fold it so the best colours & sections of the print show up at the front of the finished product.

I like to have my best color showing on the knot itself - in this case, the blue part.

If the scarf has different patterns on each corner (a feature of expensive scarves), then do the original folding so your favourite corners are on show & your least favourite are tucked in. 

You can play around with the width of the original ribbon - I suggest a petite person sticks with the narrowest widths while a larger person can take a larger width.

This will work on any size square - if you are petite, go for something smaller than a 90 cm square - a pochette size 45 cm square looks fresh too. 

Miu Miu

Or you can wrap the scarf around your neck twice & tie the knot right on your neck, as in this photo following..

Here is the same knot again, but the scarf wasnt folded diagonally in Step 1. Can you guess how it was folded?

You can also play around with how large you make the neck opening. ie; the knot can sit lower or higher, depending on your clothing neckline, you mood & how large the scarf actually is! 

The scarf doesnt have to be silk, anything soft will work, even a fine cotton. Avoid anything stiff though.

If the scarf has the brand name woven into the fabric in one of the scarf's corners. Some people like to have that corner as one of the visible corners of the finished product. Its up to you whether you want to tuck in the brand name or not. 

Some people like to practice this in front of a mirror. Frankly I find that confusing. While I am learning, I like to get the technique right on the table, then to place the scarf on my neck. After a bit of practice you will be able to do the knot directly on your neck.

Tomorrow I will post a variation of this tie as seen in this photo

Happy tying & please ask any questions. 


  1. I love your site! You will be in our prayers and thoughts! Nice and informative post
    on this topic thanks for sharing with us.Thank you
    glue removal

  2. Your illustrations are the clearest knot-tying instructions that I have found after clicking on multiple websites! Others were good, but your site is the best!