Updated: Jul 5, 2022
Contrary to popular belief, the fringes and edges of handmade rugs are not for decorative purposes. The fringe is actually an extension of the weft and warp (lines) that form the rug's foundation. The weft and warp are made from cotton, wool, silk and sometimes jute, and if pulled, torn or damaged, will unravel the woven pile (knots) of the rug.
Over time carpet fringe can become damaged and more often than not will be due to improper vacuuming, pets pulling on fringe, foot traffic and improper or lack of cleaning.
Unfortunately, fringes are the first part of the rug to get torn and damaged. Routine maintenance, as well as being diligent about handling minor repairs, will not only protect the rug, but also prevent further unraveling and more costly repairs. The extent of the rug's damage, the type of rug and the rug’s foundation fiber will determine how much repair work is required for the rug’s fringe. Securing the fringes with proper overcast stitches, implanting new fringes, re-weaving rows of damaged piles (missing nap), and making new fringes are all various options that can bring your rug back to its original condition.
Fringe repair cannot be just cosmetic, or an attempt to hide the unraveling foundation of a rug. If not repaired properly continued damage will occur and can result in losing portions of the rug as it unravels.
When possible, maintaining the original condition of a rug or repairing it back to the original condition is ideal when considering rugs as investment pieces and for insurance purposes. To do this, a restoration process is needed. However, fringes can be cumbersome to manage and costly to repair at times so alternatives can be considered even though the value of your rug for resale or insurance purposes could be compromised. This can be considered the difference in “restoring” and “repairing” your rug. The restoration process often entails putting the rug back on a loom and the expertise to reweave the rug. This is an expensive option but a true skill for these artisans that perform this work.
Repairing fringe or looking at alternative options will prevent further damage, extend the life and enable the rug to be enjoyed for years to come. We genuinely believe that all rugs should be used and enjoyed unless you just happen to own a museum quality rug and that’s a different story.
If you are not in love with the fringe on your rug, your pets love to chew on it and your vacuum loves to chew on it too, there are alternatives. Uneven fringe over time, areas of missing fringe, discoloration to fringe, etc. are all common examples. Here are a few options to consider:
1. Remove the fringe
2. Replace with new fringe
3. Tuck or fold the fringe
4. Shorten the fringe
Removing the fringe is an option, however, not available on all rugs. If the fringe is a true extension of the weft and warp of the rug's foundation, it can’t be removed. It can be shortened, however not past the knots that are present to secure the weave.
Replacing the existing fringe with new fringe is an option on many rugs and entails sewing new fringe on top of where the old fringe was secured to the rug. This is a really good option when the rug is in good condition but the fringe is not. The new fringe can have an amazing impact on the look of the rug in your home. If this option is appealing to you, it is important to look at the different fringes available in order to choose one that not only compliments the rug, but also is something you will be happy with for years to come.
If you aren’t a fan of fringe but it is not possible to remove the fringe without jeopardizing the rug, tucking or folding it under and securing it will give it the appearance of no fringe but it still exists underneath. When this is performed, a cloth binding can be added to cover the fringe underneath.
Shortening the fringe is by far the most popular request we get from our Customers. Over time, when fringe becomes worn or uneven, trimming it to match the shortest area will give it a refreshed look. This is a good option until you want to invest in having all new fringe put on your rug. This is also a great choice for someone who doesn’t like the hassle of the careful vacuuming or has issues with a pet chewing on the long and intriguing fringe. Shortening the fringe to just shy of the knots is ideal.
Fringe is definitely a personal preference. We have had so many Customers during our 75 years here in Winchester and it is easy to say “When it comes to fringe, you either love it or you hate it.”
If you have any questions about the fringe on your rug and what your options are, stop in and see us or give us a call at 540-662-9081. Once we are able to discuss the options and determine the best options for the results you are looking for, we can quote you a price for the project.
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