How to attach a hanging sleeve to a quilt
A hanging sleeve is a tube of fabric sewn to the back of your quilt at the top. To hang a quilt with a sleeve, just slide a rod of some sort through the tube. This is the method that quilt shows use when hanging quilts, but you can do the same thing at home by placing both ends of the rod on decorative brackets mounted on the wall. A hanging sleeve will allow your quilt to hang freely which will save it from getting pulled out of shape when it is displayed.
Except in very small quilts, hanging sleeves are usually 5" or so deep. Here is how to make one.
- Cut an 11" wide strip of washed muslin to the width of the quilt. If you would like to make your sleeve invisible, use the same fabric as the backing. If you have fabric left over from the quilt, consider using that to make the hanging sleeve. That way, should the quilt ever need repair, you will have the exact fabric available.
- Fold under the raw edges of both sides twice and stitch. That will enclose the raw ends in a seam and also makes the sleeve just slightly narrower than the quilt. You don’t want it the sleeve to show from the front.
- If you have not yet bound your quilt, fold the sleeve in half the long way with wrong sides together. Pin the raw edges to the top edge of the quilt. As you sew the binding on your quilt, you will also attach one long side of the sleeve to the top of the quilt. Pin carefully and use your walking foot if you have one - you are going through a lot of layers here. When you fold over and stitch the binding, you will encase all the raw edges of the sleeve as well.
- If you have already bound the quilt, sew your sleeve together the long way with right sides together. Turn it inside out. Place the seamed edge of the sleeve just below the binding on the back of the quilt and whip stitch it to the backing. The raw seam will be inside the sleeve tube at the top.
- Sew the bottom part of the sleeve to only the backing with very long basting stitches. Don’t flatten the sleeve completely when you sew it down - you want it to have a little bit of slack to accommodate the rod that will go through it. Every three inches or so, take a stitch that goes all the way through the quilt to the front. Try to make this stitch as inconspicuous as possible on the front. This helps secure the sleeve to the quilt and puts less stress on the backing fabric.
- Consider signing your name and address inside the sleeve. It won’t be seen when the quilt is displayed, but should it every become lost or stolen you will have proof of ownership.
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