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Sew mounting a rug.. advice?

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angee1011

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Apr 6, 2021
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Michael's
Hello all,
Some background: I've been framing for several years at Michael's, so I know my fair share. And I've done plenty of sew mounts before. I just find them rather intimidating. This particular sew mount I'm working on is a rug that's roughly 3 feet by 4.5 feet. My plan is to drymount some scrap matting to foam to help stabilize it so it doesn't bow with the weight as I sew. That said, the sewing part always trips me up, especially with weightier and larger pieces like this one. Anyone have any advice or tips for me that might help me with this one? There's no matting with this one, it's just going into a frame after I mount it with some acrylic.

Thanks!
 

Ylva

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Welcome to the G, Angee.

If it is that big and heavier, I don't think I would attempt a sew mount. I would probably sew a pocket on the back of the rug and put a rod through that. Then hang it in a shadow box. If needed, you could sew a few loose stitches on the bottom, to prevent it from swinging out too much.

If it is strong enough by itself, you might be able to sew through it, just on the top.

Another thing I might consider (hard to know without seeing and feeling the piece) is to stitch it to a larger fabric background and stretch it like a canvas.

Drymounting mat board to foam won't do much to stabilize it, it isn't strong and rigid enough
 

Lafontsee

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Another thing I might consider (hard to know without seeing and feeling the piece) is to stitch it to a larger fabric background and stretch it like a canvas.

This may work depending on how heavy the rug is. If it is too heavy, it may sag a bit against the fabric background. To avoid this, you can stretch a piece of fiberglass window screen material onto the stretcher bars and stitch through both the fabric and the screen. The screen won't sag and will support the weight of the rug better than fabric alone.

James
 

Mary Beth van der Horst

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If you're hellbent on the sewmounting route, and it is quite heavy... glue your matboard to a piece of plywood for a more sturdy support than foam. Choose where you want your tack stitches and use a very thin drill to make some pilot holes through the mat covered plywood. Then use a similar colored upholstery thread, doubled up on itself for extra strength. Hopefully the rug has some loft to it that will help hide your tack stitches. Don't forget the acrylic will bow around the rug if it is thick so you may still want to consider shadowboxing it or using another frame to space it---the plastic spacers are too thin to use with acrylic most of the time.
 

framah

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I usually do stitches at 1" intervals along the top to hold the weight and keep it from "looping" between the stitches.

Then 3" along the sides and bottom and then thru out the middle area to help carry the weight and keep it from sagging.

I like the idea of a screen to sew onto as it is much easier than sewing thru a mat board and/or FC.
 
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framah

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Nah, plywood is way overkill and ends up too heavy.

I have sewn pieces this big onto matboard and FC and it worked fine.

It is a tedious job no matter how you do it so price accordingly.
 

Mary Beth van der Horst

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Nah, plywood is way overkill and ends up too heavy.

I have sewn pieces this big onto matboard and FC and it worked fine.

It is a tedious job no matter how you do it so price accordingly.
Good point... Don't use wood unless absolutely necessary. On some of my craziest sew mounts, my thread has cut through both mat and foamcore--8 ply may be harder to tear through than the 4 ply I usually work with tho.
 

Joe B

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Good point... Don't use wood unless absolutely necessary.
Plywood is actually very acidy and is the worse inside the framing package. I would never recommend using plywood. A stiff foam board such as Gator Board or MightyCore with a one or two ply cotton cover would be much better and would weight 1/10 of what plywood would weight.
 

Jim Miller

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If you're looking for a chemically stable, lightweight substrate, try fluted polypropylene, aka Coroplast brand. It comes in many colors, and if you align the flutes vertically, it would support quite a lot of vertical load.

Lafontsee's suggestion about using fiberglass window screen is good, too. Once stretched on a strainer frame, it would probably support the rug easily. Just cover it with fabric before stitching the rug to it.
 

Shayla

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If you're looking for a chemically stable, lightweight substrate, try fluted polypropylene, aka Coroplast brand. It comes in many colors, and if you align the flutes vertically, it would support quite a lot of vertical load.

Lafontsee's suggestion about using fiberglass window screen is good, too. Once stretched on a strainer frame, it would probably support the rug easily. Just cover it with fabric before stitching the rug to it.
Does it have to be criss-crossed with two pieces, like cardboard, for rigidity, or does just one work? Also, would Tyvek thread work well for heavy rugs, or is heavy cotton thread fine?
 
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Jim Miller

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Does it have to be criss-crossed with two pieces, like cardboard, for rigidity, or does just one work? Also, would Tyvek thread work well for heavy rugs, or is heavy cotton thread fine?
Just one layer would work for many applications if you get the flutes running in the right direction, especially if you use a thicker board, like 8 mm, 10 mm, or 15 mm. Or if not, then use two layers with the flutes crossed. The usual preservation-framing rule is to use thread like the fabric you're stitching (cotton/cotton, silk/silk, etc.), but for heavy rugs, I've had good results using polyester thread. And if it's just a pretty rug with no residual value, dental floss would do the trick. However, that would not be preservation-worthy.
 
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