With more modern textile shows in circulation than ever, there is one thing that's hard to avoid sewing – quilt sleeves. If you have ever wanted your quilt in a magazine, quilt show or even if you’ve made so many quilts you’ve now decided to cover your walls with them, sewing a basic hanging sleeve on the back of a quilt is a good skill to know.
For quilt shows and magazines, a standard requirement is a 4” fabric sleeve on the top back of your quilt. Over the summer, I made an instructional video on how to do that. Check it out!
If you watched that vid and got a little judgy about the quality...and maybe a little sick from the bouncing camera, just know that I cut a hole in a stretchy headband and wore an inexpensive camera on my forehead to make that video happen...so...impressed? no? Maybe a smidge less judgy, though?
Cool! I can settle for that. 🙂
How to Sew a Quilt Sleeve
- Measure the width of your quilt.
- Cut a strip 8 ½” x width of quilt minus 2” (eg. Your quilt is 56” wide: Cut 2 strips 8 ½” x Width of Fabric (approximately 42”). Sew strips together to create one long strip. Trim the long strip down to 8 ½” x 54”).
- Hem each edge of the 8 ½” strip by turning in the edges a ¼” and then another ¼”. Iron the creases flat and pin in place.
- Sew as close to the edge of the folded fabric as possible.
- Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together (right side of fabric is facing up), and iron a crease in the center. Tip! Use starch to help get those creases nice and crisp.
- Open the strip up so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing up. Fold the edges toward the center crease until they meet in the middle.
- Press at the folds so that a crease is well defined.
- Unfold again and match the raw edges together, wrong sides together (right side of fabric is up). Pin and sew a ¼” seam.
- Iron the center seam open. At this point, re-press the creases created in Step-7. When these are nice and flat, it is easier to pin in the next step.
- Place the sleeve, seam side down, on the top back of your quilt – about an inch from the top and sides. Notice in the above pictures that there is extra space in the sleeve so that a rod can easily fit.
- Pin the sleeve to the quilt using safety pins (regular straight pins will poke you if you try to sit on the couch and move this around) Tip! This is very important: Do NOT stitch all the way through the quilt. You do not want these stitches to be seen from the front. Also, if this sleeve is being sewn just for a show and is temporary, sew large stitches so that you finish it more quickly and have an easier time ripping it off once you get the quilt back.
If your one reason for sewing a sleeve is for a show or magazine, congrats! You’re finished and can go get yourself a celebratory glass of rosé! Tootles!
However, if you would like to hang this quilt on a wall, this next tutorial is the cheapest and easiest way to do it.
How to Hang a Quilt
- Wooden Rod - cut to the exact size of the sleeve. The thicker the rod is, the further away the quilt will hang off the wall.
- Screw Eyes
- Drill 1 small hole into each end of the wooden rod.
- Screw in the screw eyes.
- Slip the wooden rod into the sleeve.
- Use a level to make sure your quilt will hang straight. Hammer a nail through each screw eye.
Tada! Easy-peasy and with no fancy tools.
Please excuse the terrible lighting on some of these photos. It's winter here in Chicago and that means maaajor cloud cover. Le sigh...we do the best we can, right?
When I first looked into hanging quilts, I found these Magnetic Invisible Quilt Hangers. Although I have no doubt they work well, I was hanging five quilts for a gallery show – at $40/pack, I needed to find a cheaper option.
If you have only one quilt to hang, you may want to skip the hassle of drills and rods and just use the magnets. If you HAVE tried these magnetic hangers, I’m very curious to hear what you think – so leave a comment below.
On a totally different note, have you tried hand quilting? Guys, it's been a long journey for me cause I loooove speed, but handing quilting is kinda the best...just look at it!
If you're at all interested in learning, check out this blog post (with video) on how to hand quilt! I list out the supplies I use on the FAQ page. I also have video tutorials in both the Sew Mojo #1 pattern and coming out with the Sew Mojo #3 pattern (releasing December 8!!!)