Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hanging Sleeve Tutorial

Hanging sleeves - quilts gotta have 'em if those quilts are going on display! 
quilt Hanging Sleeve tutorial

Quilt shows require a 4" hanging sleeve. But just stitching any 4" wide piece of fabric on the back is not the best hanging sleeve. Instead, I'm going to show you how to make a hanging sleeve that protects the back of the quilt, and provides a pocket for the rod.

Hanging Sleeve Preparation

Measure the width of the quilt, then cut or make a 9" wide strip of fabric that is approximately 1" shorter than the quilt width. On each 9" end, press over 1/2", and stitch. This provides a nice edge for the rod to slip into.

nine inch strip with 1/2 inch finished ends for hanging sleeve

Fold the strip in half lengthwise, with the raw edges of the stitched ends on the inside. Press the fold (seen in the picture above). Open up the strip, and fold each edge toward the center fold, still with the raw edges of the stitched ends on the inside. Press.

hanging sleeve for quilt folded to center

Refold the hanging sleeve on the center fold. Stitch the long edges together with a 1/4" seam allowance, with the seam on the finished side of the previously finished ends. I know that's not what's pictured, but that's the way I do it now.

hanging sleeve ready to go on a quilt

And why, you ask? Having the seam on the outside makes for a more finished interior pocket, and less for the hanging bar to get caught on.

Do one more careful press of each fold on the sides, and the hanging sleeve is now ready to go on the quilt.

Attaching the hanging sleeve

Center the hanging sleeve along the width of the quilt back, and pin the top fold at least 1/4" below the binding. 

hanging sleeve placement on a quilt

That way, when the rod is in the pocket, the excess fabric won't peek up over the top of the quilt. Wouldn't want the hanging sleeve spoiling the view of a beautiful quilt!

Stitch down this top edge, by hand. Don't cheat on the stitches. The hanging sleeve takes a lot of the quilt weight. 

quilt hanging sleeve hand stitched at the top

Then pin the bottom edge along it's fold, so that the back of the hanging sleeve lies flat against the quilt, and excess hanging sleeve fabric puffs up on the front.

excess hanging sleeve fabric for rod

Continue stitching the bottom edge, and also the hanging sleeve sides. That way, the rod goes in the pocket and not against the back of the quilt.

rod in hanging sleeve pocket on the back of the quilt

Now there's plenty of space for the rod, the quilt back is protected, and the hanging sleeve can't be seen. Nice!

hanging sleeve top view on quilt

Enjoy putting on your next hanging sleeve to show off your quilt!

Happy Quilting!

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  1. I find that even when I try to be careful when pressing the central seam down, I lose the creases on the sides. What works for me is to baste those creases before ironing. They are easily pulled out when I am finished sewing the sleeve onto the quilt.

  2. Thanks for sharing the tutorial! I have never tried to put a sleeve on my quilts (they are not good for shows just yet ;)) but I will save this information for the future!


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