Rug Repair Part 6: Torn Corners and How to Repair the Problem
Corner repairs are probably one of the most common “rug fixes” needed by your customers.
(Editor’s Note: This is the sixth and final piece in Aaron’s six-part series on rug repair he wrote in 2013. Click here to see Part 1 on rug restoration, conservation and repair, here to see Part 2 on rug-end securing, here to see Part 3 on dealing with worn fringes, here to see Part 4 on covered sides and selvages and here to see Part 5 on curling edges.)
Area rug corners get a lot of wear and tear. Foot traffic across corners is particularly damaging. Careless vacuuming can catch corners in beater bar vacuum cleaners and tear the rug’s structure. Damage can also be caused by tugging on corners to move rugs around, which can detach weak or unstable selvages.
Corner repairs are probably one of the most common “rug fixes” needed by your customers. Quick and simple sewing repairs are often all it takes to stabilize corner damage and can sometimes even return the rug to a like-new appearance. Such repairs are easy to learn and are a profitable service that cleaning customers really need. Let’s take a look at two examples and see what can be done to correct these problems.
On hand-woven rugs, the corner is where the end finish meets the selvage, often a spot where a rug is structurally weak. In traditional weaving, great care was taken to make corners strong and stable. In modern production weaving, that is not always the case. Many new handmade rugs have cut or reduced sides where the selvage and end finish are not integrally woven together. A few stitches or a simple overcasting is all that holds corners together on these rugs. This finish does not hold up well and often will tear open from foot traffic or cleaning.
It is important the professional rug cleaner carefully inspect all corners during the pre-cleaning inspection. Often a quick stitch is all it takes to prevent serious damage during the rug cleaning process.
See Images 2 and 3 for a look at a Persian Sarouk from the 1960s. The original selvage has been cut away and the side simply overcast with red wool. The ends have been secured with a knotted string finish. In Image 1, the overcasting has come loose from the corner. Simple sewing techniques have been used to repair the corner. It has not been re-woven but has been brought back to near original condition. This repair took 20 minutes to complete.
We can see similar corner problems with Karastan® rugs woven after the late 1970s. The fringe are sewn to the ends of the rug and turned under at the corners. It is common to see these corners detached and the weave of the rug unraveling. If the damage has not gone too far, it is a simple matter to sew these back together. It makes sense to add a few stitches to the undamaged corners as well to prevent future damage. (See Images 4 and 5).