Fringe—Friend or Foe?
Updated: Oct 28
Many rug owners have a love/hate relationship with their rug fringe. When your area rug is new the fringe looks crisp and clean, and they are all the same length. As the rug begins to see foot traffic, the fringe can become dull, dingy, and show signs of wear. So how can you protect, preserve, and repair the fringe on your oriental rug? Or perhaps fringe is not for you, and you'd like it to be gone.
First, it’s important to understand what rug fringe really is when it is found on a hand-woven rug. The foundation of a woven rug is made up of a gridwork of threads or yarns for the pile yarns to be woven on. The foundation yarn, usually cotton, is strung on a loom, and the yarns going left to right are known as weft yarns and usually end by being bound by yarn and are referred to as a side cord. The yarns running up and down are the warp yarns. The warp yarns extend to the end of the rug and are usually knotted in some fashion to create the fringe of the rug.
Because the rug 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 rug repairs that Bal Arisi performs at our shop in Warwick, Bucks County shop. 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.
For handmade rugs, one option is to have new warp yarns added to the existing fringe to fill in the gaps where there is fringe loss. See the before and after below.
The second option is to have your fringe tucked behind the back of the rug so that the foundation is not compromised and the fringe is merely hidden. This is also a process that can be undone if you ever change your mind. This repair is known as fringe wrapping. See the picture below.
If you quite like the distressed antique look of worn fringe, that’s great. However, it’s important to take care that the fringe is not unraveling pile. and endangering the knots in the rug. If this is happening to your rug, 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 your rug.
We here at Bal Arisi can advise you on the most appropriate repair for your rug. If you are in the Central Bucks County, PA area and are in need of Oriental rug repair or fringe replacement, we invite you to give us a call at (267) 918-2085 to discuss your individual rug care needs.
See more of our before and after pictures