Sew a Loop End on a Line




Introduction: Sew a Loop End on a Line

About: I have a never-ending desire to try new things, build stuff, experiment, and learn. I don't really watch TV, or play video games - I prefer to get my entertainment from physically interacting with the world....

Loops are sewn into the ends of lines on paragliders, certain kites, and many other applications. It is a very strong way of creating a loop, and it does not snag as easily as a knot would

This is meant to be a very basic overview of how I sew a loop into the end of a line. I intend to keep it a broad as possible - it is quite simple, however, I personally would have liked to have found a simple instructional guide to it when I taught myself - so hopefully this is that for some people.

I use Bonded Nylon thread, however I know some people believe that other threads like Dacron are better for this use. 

Step 1: Make the Guide Plate

To keep the line aligned when sewing, a guide plate is used. Anything fairly rigid - about 0.5 - 0.75 times the thickness of the line should work. The one pictured is plastic. This plate will get taped to the machine under the presser foot. Cut a slot in the plate twice the thickness of the line wide, by a few inches long. A sharp utility knife and straight edge work well,

Step 2: Tape It Down

I use clear packaging tape to secure the plate, but most anything should work. You may have to play around with it a bit to get the alignment just right

Step 3: Start Sewing

Once you get the plate aligned - get a scrap piece of line and tweak the zig-zag width to go slightly beyond (outward of) center.
To begin sewing a loop position everything carefully, and make a couple back and fourth stitches turning the machine manually to make sure everything is going where you want it. You will want the angle of the zig-zag to create somewhere  between a 45 and 90 degree angle with itself. See picture

Use a sharp needle - the sharper the needle, the less likely it is to catch fibers and damage them on its way through the line

Step 4: Finish It Off

Run the length of the overlap creating 90 degree angles, and go a few stitches beyond the end of the short tail. After cutting the thread, use a lighter and carefully melt little mushrooms on the end of the thread. Thats it! Good Luck



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    16 Discussions

    Cool, just what I needed.

    I'm a paraglider and this is exactly the way all our lines are sewen on the ends. I have been looking for a how to so I can do some of my own repairs. Now I know who. Thanks

    nicely done … however I wouldn't trust this sewing for heavy duty use : nautical splice still remain the strongest I believe (usually 45% stronger than well made knots).

    9 replies

    Sheathed lines aren't splice-able. It is a core with a sheath - much like a climbing rope - so for this application, 'nautical splicing' isn't possible. This is the method used by manufacturers - and the loop is far stronger than the rest of the line. I have never seen a sewn loop fail, it is almost always in the middle of the line that the material will fail.

    For other types of braided and twisted ropes - spicing is a good method for joining however

    Sailors know double-braided (cored) lines are splicable. :-)

    Good point - I should have been more specific in my statement.

    The core inside paraglider lines is not braided, and thus cannot be spliced (plus they are really small, and I feel like it would be really difficult to do on lines that small if it was) - See additional photo in intro for what the core looks like

    Thank you for pointing that out :)

    oh well … sailing is my only passion !
    guess I should leave paragliders make their own comments when it comes to it : I'm just making a fool of myself ! … 

    Not at all - I honestly appreciate all the input.

    It great to have people who don't just believe everything they hear, and take it as fact. Everyone makes mistakes, and its nice to know that there are people out there double checking

    I know : but a splice is a splice … sewing is another matter !!!… and much weaker !!…

    possibly weaker- depends on how it's done. I'm seeing pages on the net touting greater breaking strength. Here is youtube video of a similar stitch for a climbing rope. The machine does extensive stitching to cover the original zip-zag stitch. I would bet much of that is to protect the actual structural stitches. On these small paragliding cords, you could accomplish the same thing by whipping over the "splice".

    Maybe you could make friends with the local engineering school and get them to test some splices to test breaking strength and repeatability. I bet the line fails before the splice.

    The only thing I might be concerned about with Sky-Monkey's technique is that there is no backstitching at the beginning and end. This is common in all forms of sewing to "lock in" the seam to keep it from unraveling. I've seen videos of sewing sailing harnesses and sail repair. It is used there. For my sailing lines, the melting technique is substandard because it creates hard (sometimes sharp) edges and results in a little line chafe. Sky-Monkey, please chime in here and correct my ignorance wrt/ paragliding.

    Regardless, I'm excited to learn about paragliding. Yet another item on the wish list!

    Sewing back on itself may be the better option - I found lines on my equipment done both ways.

    A while back I was told that the less piercing of the line the better, and more recently, a friend (who has more sewing experience than me) told me that if I halved the length of my zig-zag, that it would up the strength 4 fold.

    One of the important points that I just added to step 3, is to use a very sharp needle - seems counter-intuitive in a way, but the sharper it is, the less likely it will damage the fibers on its way through - and if you are using a sharp needle, then It would seem to make sense that more stitching isn't necessarily a bad thing

    Never-the-less, I have never seen a loop fail - only the lines

    Thanks for all the input

    Although rebraiding the lines together as in a nautical splice isn't possible with this type of line, I agree that finding a non-sewing way to do this is much cooler.

    This works really well. But, there is just something that feels good about being able to do the same thing just using old-fashioned rope tying/wrapping skills. But, that is just my own personal preference and sense of doing things.

    It means that when you are stuck, you know the safe, correct solution using the rope alone.

    If you prefer to not use a lighter, do as MollyBednum suggests and dab a touch of FrayCheck / clear nailpolish / etc on the ends.

    Sewing back and fourth repeatedly can weaken the line by jabbing the needle through more times than necessary - Although sewing back on itself for this application would work, I am not sure that it is the best solution

    Very neat and elegant! Thanks!
    Clear nail polish or a dab of craft cement is another way to seal the ends and prevent fraying. Bead-cord crimps over both strands, covering the short ends , might look especially nice if you can find a suitable size.

    Works great ! Many Thanks. I wonder how I could'nt think of it by myself...
    I used plain cardboard to make the guide, and everything went prefectly well with my very simple and old Brother sewing-machine. My friend says it should work with the mending tool sold with the machine, but since your method is great, I won't have to try it for a while :)
    Thanks again !