How to Finish the Back of a Primitive Hooked Rug

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Finishing a hooked rug once the hooking is complete can sounds intimidating to many beginning rug-makers. A rug's edges, however, are the most vulnerable to wear and abuse. Without binding and hemming, your hooked rug may only survive a few seasons. Spend the few extra hours, before and after the actual hooking, to ensure your rug's neat finish and long life.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 hooked rug (finished or unfinished)
  • Sewing machine (if rug is unfinished)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roll twill tape (1 1/4-inches wide)
  • 1 bottle (6 oz.) fabric glue (optional)
  • 1 tapestry needle
  • 1 spool upholstery thread
  • Sewing pins (100 ct. box)
  • 1 can spray adhesive (10 or 12 oz.)
  • 1 skein of wool yarn in a complementary color
  • Finishing a hooked rug begins before the hook touches the fabric. Certain preparation tips ensure a pretty finish. Above all, leave 1 inch of untouched backing fabric around the outside of the hooked design. Prevent fraying along this border by sewing a straight stitch or zigzag stitch along the outermost edges. In addition, double check the lines drawn for the rug's border. Crooked borders make crooked rugs. Hook two lines along the inside edges of this border before hooking any other area.

  • Add twill tape to the rug's edge. Baste the tape, by hand, close to the edge of the rug's hooked design border with the upholstery thread. The tape should be touching the border. The stitches don't have to be neat because the tape will be covered. Use fabric glue in place of sewing if necessary.

  • Fold the backing fabric (the 1-inch hem) toward the back of the rug. Pin the fabric in place to keep it flat while you sew. Sew, by hand, this hem in place with a straight stitch about 1/4 inch from the hem's outside edge. For neat corners, cut the hem fabric diagonally at the center of each corner. Cut almost to the hooked border. Fold one side of the hem back and glue or sew flat. Repeat with the other half of the corner. Fold and glue the other three corners in the same manner.

  • Whip stitching the rug's edges is the final step. Thread the tapestry needle with the yarn and knot the end. Bring the needle up, on any edge, from the bottom of the rug to the top. Have the needle come out at the upper edge of the rug tape. You want to cover the tape completely with yarn. Whip stitch over the tape by bringing the yarn around the rug's edge and back up, again from the bottom of the rug. Pull the needle up at the spot next to where it came up the first time. Make these two stitches as close together as possible.

    Continue in this manner around the entire rug. When finished, sew a few stitches on the back of the rug, to anchor the yarn, and knot the yarn.

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