Fold Forward Finish- Zig Zagging the Edge

November 6, 2010 17 comments | Updated September 25, 2018

Written by Cindi Gay

Finishing Hooked Rug-adding straight stitching

The fold forward method is my default finish for all my hooked rugs. It is a whipped edge that is sturdy and does not require additional supplies such as cording or rug tape.  This is Step 1 – how to prepare the backing edge.

Note: I do ***NOT*** follow these steps any more. See my new fold forward finishing post.

If you have time to steam the rug AND can let it sit undisturbed for several days, steam it now.  If not, you can steam it later.  I usually end up steaming at least twice.  Once before the rug gets whipped and again after the whipping is complete.

This step is necessary for most finishing methods.

1. Mark your final edge by drawing a line around the outside edge of your rug.  I use 1 1/4″ for rug warp when I’m doing a whipped edge. Use a pencil and drag it in the ditch. Use the method described in Basic Techniques: Drawing Straight Lines.

Use a ruler to measure the distance or add the Finishing Measuring Tool  to your shopping cart.  Free with any order.

Zig Zagging around the edge of a hooked rug
Initial stitching around the rug BEFORE the edge is cut.

2. Zig zag around your piece with the presser foot touching your loops. There is no need to get super close. The goal is to keep two rows of zig zagging within the area between the loops and the pencil line.

3. Run another row about ¼” from the first as shown. Be sure to stay inside the pencil line.  This picture does not show it but I now round the corners with the second row.  See step 6 below.  We will be cutting off the corner and you do not want stitching in the portion of the corner that will be cut off.

4. Stitch a row of straight stitching over each row of zig zag.  This step helps to keep the backing from stretching and is particularly important for oval or round rugs.

Finishing Hooked Rug-adding straight stitching
Adding a row of straight stitching on top of the row of zig zagging

Close up of straight stitching and zig zagging
Close up of straight stitching and zig zagging

The straight stitching is vital for round or oval rugs. Add another row just inside the edge where you will cut it off. Do the stitching BEFORE you cut it off. This will help to prevent stretching when you zig zag the edge.

5.  Now cut off the excess at the pencil line.  Zig zag the raw edge to prevent fraying.  If the rug is very large, I will cut as I go so that while handling the rug I do not stretch out the edge.

Finishing: Zig zag the cut edge of a hooked rug
Zig zag the cut edge to keep it neat.

6.  Fold the corner in so that the tip of the corner just touches your hooking.  The sides of the triangle should be in line with the rows of your hooking.  Mark the 45 degree angle made by the fold using a pencil or marker along the edge of the fold.

Finishing a hooked rug: Mark the corners to reduce bulk

7.  Unfold.  Working from the wrong side so that you can see the line you just made, zig zag just INSIDE the line.  Repeat for all corners.

Finishing a hooked rug: Corner stitching

8.  Add a row of straight stitching on top of the zig zagging.  Backstitch (go forward, then reverse, then forward again) to secure the ends.  Do this at the beginning and at the end.  This is one of the most important steps to keep your corners small and beautiful.  Be sure to stitch the corner diagonally BEFORE cutting.  If you cut first, the corner will stretch out of shape because you are stitching on the bias.

I do not cut these corners off until I absolutely need to; when I begin to fold and baste the edge in place.

If you have not steamed the rug yet, this is another good stopping place to do it.  Don’t skimp on the time it takes to let it dry.  If you don’t have the time you can continue without steaming but be aware that each step you complete without steaming puts you at a slight disadvantage.  As you stitch and baste the edge the rug cannot expand or contract along the edges as easily.

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