Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Help Needed with OLD Braided Rugs

soupereasy | Posted in General Discussion on

Out of my depth here. Usually post on CT.

I have two antique braided rugs, one of which needs some major stitching. The braids are fine but the stitches holding them together are shot.

Is there a way to reattach the braids which would not need hands of steel, and knees, that are more limber than mine?

Please advise.

Thank you


  1. markenmac2 | | #1

    My Mother was a rug braider.  I inherited two big rugs from her and have worked on them several times.  The "sewing part" isn't difficult.  She used a big flat needle that has two eyes (they keep the thread from pulling out too easily).  It slides right in the loops from one braid to the other, without actually catching the wool.  I use some coated string (it must be linen or a similar fiber...it's really strong).  I usually pull out some of the loose string and tie on before starting to make the repair. If you don't have access to a needle like that, I would think a blunt metal needle like is used to sew up knitting projects would work.  After I make the repair, I run the loose ends back into some of the loops, hiding the lond tails that I leave.  Unfortunately, the knees have to suffer.  Unless you have a great big table where you can lay these out flat, I haven't found an alternative to getting down on the floor.  -Mary

    1. soupereasy | | #2

      Thank you for the information, even though I wanted you to tell me that there was some sort of device which would allow me to ...!??

      The rugs really are beautiful, I have had them for @ 20 years.















      1. markenmac2 | | #3

        I wish it was easier.  They are definitely worth repairing.

        1. soupereasy | | #6

          OK, I am really not sure where the stitches should go. My instinct would be to just attach one braid to the other, which would pierce the wool.

          Told you I was out of my depth here.

          1. grandma11 | | #7

            My mother has made several room-size braided rugs, and I have made one 4 x 6 feet.  My experience has been using a very heavy blunt needle, using heavy white string and sewing the braids side by side with the needle and thread passing through the loops of the braid, so as to hide the string, but not piercing in any way.   I used a glove on my sewing hand to pull the thread (string) tightly without injuring my fingers. It is hard work, but well worth it.

            My rug is at least 20 years old and Mom's first is 35-40 years approximately.



          2. markenmac2 | | #8

            You basically thread the needle through the loop formed by the wool braids.  My needle more or less finds its way through...it's easy when you sew in the direction with the least folds.  My mom folded her wool strips like big bias tape...the two unfinished edges to the middle, and then fold again.  When you start making the repair, insert the needle so that it passes under the loop, not into the fabric, and it will slide right through.  Go from the loop on one braid across to the loop on the adjacent braid.  You need to pull tight enough to join the two braids, but not tight enough to cut the wool.  It's easier to do it than to tell how.


      2. user-51823 | | #4

        i believe the flat needle described is a leatherworking needle. my grandfather used to make hand-tooled leather goods as a hobby in albequerque, and his kit has needles like that. a strong tapestry needle would work as well, or i think best would be a curved upholstery needle, usually available in variety packs at most fabric stores. just use a doubled intrinsic thread knotted at the end. this provides strength and prevents the tread slipping out of the eye.

        1. soupereasy | | #5

          Intrinsic thread...that would be?

          DH did some leatherwork in his past and was familiar with the needle.

          Last time he made a repair he used a curved needle and coat thread.

          1. user-51823 | | #11

            intrinsic is what my mom called buttonhole thread. it' is heavy-duty, and doubled, i would think would be plenty strong enogh to hold the braids together. although someone made a good point about not cutting into the braids, so maybe a strong slender cotton (pref. dyed so as not to show up ever) would be gentler on the rug.

  2. Teaf5 | | #9

    To save your knees, you can have someone help you roll the rugs up to the part to be stitched and put them on a dining room or picnic table for easy access.

    Ping pong tables and park picnic tables are nice, large surfaces, and then you get the benefit of stitching in sunlight and fresh air, plus the company of curious passersby!

    Unroll and reroll to keep the part you are stitching flat, or you'll end up with bumps and ridges when you put them back down on the floor.

  3. celkalee | | #10

    I had a home-dec business several years ago and this came up frequently believe it or not. Sometimes I would be presented with "antique" rugs which I soon realized were just old, dirty and covered with dog hair. Those I returned and directed the customer to K-mart. We had no Wal-Marts in our area at that time! However, with beauties like yours I found a wonderful tool. The large blunt or curved upholstery needle. In addition, I would use my hemostats. (nurse, here) They look like scissors but have ridged narrow tips that are perfect for grabbing and holding slippery needles. They are available in professional uniform shops and some notions areas in the larger craft stores.

    1. soupereasy | | #14

      Funny enough they probably are held together with dog hair. No getting around it with an Old English Sheepdog and a Springer Spaniel. ( Both now deceased)

      Once I sew them, any suggestions as to finding a cleaner? Haven't found anyone who would clean them since I lived in California. Used to take them to the dry cleaner there, does anyone clean area rugs any more?

      1. user-51823 | | #15

        here, we have a specialty rug cleaner sharing a building with a flooring business.
        ask at stores that sell carpets and rugs to see who they recommend.

        1. soupereasy | | #16

          Have tried that across several states and they just want to sell me new rugs.? How silly is that. If I can't get the old ones cleaned, why on earth would I want to buy new ones which I can't get cleaned?Rant over. Sorry.Will give it another try, perhaps pretend that I am going to buy their rugs and ask where I would get them cleaned.Thank you for the information.

          1. user-51823 | | #18

            what a pain! it's taken me too many decades to learn not to be intimidated by that sort of sales attitude. In truth, there should be someone at any carpet or flooring store who will respect your needs and simply answer your question. If the first person you talk to gives you the run araound, just keep asking to speak with someone else until you either get someone decent or reach the end of the line, at which point i usually say 'i'm sorry you couldn't help, thanks, and goodbye'. when people are pitching a new rug or trying to change the subject, don't be shy about interrupting and getting them back on track. sometimes they open up when they see there's no chance of swaying you. and if they don't, the less time lost, the better for everyone.

  4. meg | | #12

    When I was young, my Mom would sit on the floor and pull the rug over her knees to work on re-stitching it. In time, she'd sit on the couch and pull it up over her knees but I think that got heavy, gravity and all.

  5. sewfar | | #13

    I too have spent a fair amount of floor time repairing hand braided rugs but my knees can't take it long so I just sit on the floor.  I have sometimes used a curved upholstery needle.  I just got a neat green garden stool. Its bottom is shaped somewhat like a kid's snow saucer but with a little adjustable seat and it is it is so easy to scoot about and swivel that it is fast becoming my best friend for Grandma's floor / ground "play ".      The threads and needles the other readers recommended sound great.  Will have to search out the double eye needle.  Good luck !! And I hope your back and knees hold up.

  6. GailAnn | | #17

    I've been avoiding this post, as I THOUGHT I had no interest in rugs, but those are absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  Hope you can figure it out. Gail

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All