It seems that many rug owners have a love/hate relationship with fringe. When your rug is new the fringe looks crisp and clean and they are all the same length. As time goes on and the rug begins to see foot traffic, the fringe can become dull, dingy and break. So how can you protect, preserve, and repair the fringe on your rug. Maybe you don’t like fringe at all and wonder, “Can I cut the fringe off my rug?”. Fringe can also fall victim to the vacuum cleaner and the use of bleaches by improper cleaning may weaken the fringe.
First, lets understand what fringe really is. Hand made rugs start with a foundation yarn, usually cotton, being strung on a loom. This foundation creates the grid work for the pile yarns to be attached to. This foundation also extend to the end of the rug and are usually knotted in some fashion to create the fringe of the rug. Because the fringe is an extension of the foundation of the rug, cutting the fringe off could be detrimental to the stability of the rug if the ends are not properly secured. Likewise, if the fringe is worn to the point that the knots are worn away, the structural integrity of the rug may be compromised to the point that the rug could fall apart.
Replacing fringe is one of the most common repairs that we perform at River Valley Rug Cleaning in York, PA and there are a few different options depending on your particular rug. If you have a machine made rug then machine sewing on an artificial fringe may be the option for you. However, if your rug is handmade, it is advisable to have your repairs done by hand sewing also.
Artificial fringe can make your rug look like new again when done properly. In this case (pictured at right), the fringe was almost worn off from years of foot traffic. The client liked the look of fringe so we were able to hand sew an artificial fringe over the existing short fringe. The new fringe will also help to protect the knots from wear and prolong the life of the rug.
Here is an example of a poor quality artificial fringe repair. The fringe was cut off and excessive amounts of hot glue were applied to keep the rug from unraveling. Artificial fringe was then glued onto the face fibers that were shaved down. When we received this rug for cleaning, the fringe was already falling off. This was not what the client expected. These repair tactics may be acceptable on machine made carpet and rugs but not on a quality handmade rug.
(Ask to see examples of repairs to avoid irreversible damage to your rug.)
The second option is to have your rug secured. If your fringe is already completely worn and your rug is unraveling (pictured left), then it needs to be secured. This is most often referred to as overcasting however, there are a few different stitches that can accomplish this depending on the construction of you rug. In most cases, we reduce the rug to its strongest point. By reducing the rug, the foundation of the rug is revealed, in a sense creating new fringe. This repair will last for years and keep the rug from unraveling
Before end repair (left)
After reduction and overcasting (below)
The rug below is another example of fringe repair.
Finally, the fringe may be able to be rewoven. This is generally the most time consuming and costly fringe end repair. This involves sewing yarn into the existing foundation of the rug to create new fringe. While reweaving may be a suitable option for your rug, it should be noted that these additional yarns sewn into the foundation of the rug can cause stress on the foundation, especially in a tightly woven rugs. Your rug care professional can advise you on the most appropriate repair for your rug. If you are in the Harrisburg, Lancaster, York area and in need of Oriental rug repair or fringe replacement, we invite you to give us a call at 717-846-RUGS(7847) to discuss your individual rug care needs.