Many quilts, like art quilts, are designed to hang and therefore need to have a hanging sleeve. Making hanging sleeves for quilts can be a fun and quick project! Here are a few tips and ideas to make this process easier.
First, there is the option to purchase a pre-made hanging sleeve such as “The Quilter’s Hangup.” These hanging sleeves are purchased in long lengths that can be cut to the exact measurements needed. Generally, the finished measurements of the hanging sleeve should be 2” narrower than the width of the quilt. You will want to cut extra length to allow the edges to be turned under and finished. These pre-purchased hanging sleeves consist of a tube of muslin that can be hand-stitched to the back of the quilt so a rod can be inserted in the tube to hang the quilt.
On the other hand, it’s easy to make your own hanging sleeve. Make your hanging sleeve from the same fabric as your quilt back if you want it to blend in, or use a contrasting or coordinating fabric- depending upon the effect you desire. Cut a strip of fabric the width of the quilt and twice the width you’d like for your finished sleeve. For example, for a 4 1/2” wide hanging sleeve for a 60” wide quilt, you will need to cut a 9” x 60” strip of fabric. If necessary, piece strips for length. Fold under 1/2” on each short edge of the hanging sleeve and iron. Fold in again, encasing the raw edges, and stitch. Next, iron the hanging sleeve in half, wrong sides together. Align the raw edges of the hanging sleeve with the top edges of your quilt, before applying binding. Pin as needed and stitch a scant 1/4” away from the top edge using a walking foot for ease of sewing. Next, apply binding as usual. When you fold over the finished edge of the binding to the back of the quilt, the raw edges of the hanging sleeve will be encased in the binding. All that is necessary to finish the hanging sleeve is to hand-stitch the lower edges to the back of the quilt, being careful not to let the stitches go through to the front of the quilt.
Another method of making a hanging sleeve for smaller quilts is to use two charm squares. Simply fold each charm square diagonally, wrong sides together. Then pin one charm square to the back of the quilt at the top left corner and the other charm square to the back of the quilt at the top right corner, aligning the raw edges of the charm squares with the raw edges of the quilt. After the binding is applied, the raw edges will be encased and a dowel can be slipped into the charm square “pockets.” The dowel can rest on two evenly spaced nails in order to hang the quilt.
Quilts that are to be displayed in shows often need hanging sleeves. Be sure to check on the exact specifications for hanging sleeves for quilts in shows and exhibits. If the quilt will only be hung for a one-time event and you want to later use the quilt as a bed-covering, you might want to attach a temporary hanging sleeve that can be removed after its use. In this instance the sleeve can be hand basted to the back of the quilt just below the binding so the basting stitches can be easily removed when the hanging sleeve is no longer needed.
Which method of making hanging sleeves for quilts sounds easiest for you?