Over the years of entering shows, I have developed what I think is a pretty good system for hanging quilts. I like my quilts to hang as close to the wall as possible. I always want them to hang flat, flat, flat. Nothing makes me madder at myself than to see one of my quilts hanging with a wavy bottom.
Here is my process for getting the desired effect.
The best hanging sleeve instructions around were created by the amazing quilt artist Libby Lehman. While I have never met Libby, she has been a juror in many of the shows I have entered. In fact, she gave me my first award–a first place in the Art Quilt Category at the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta in 2007. Wow. it feels like yesterday and hundred years ago that I made Boxy 9-Patch.
Libby has been experiencing some serious health problems. I think about her every time I use these instructions and send her healing thoughts. I hope you will do the same. If you would like to follow Libby’s path to recovery you can by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom.
I have modified the instructions only slightly. Libby’s instructions call for cutting your fabric nine inches wide. I cut my hanging sleeve fabric 5 inches wide by the width of the quilt. Traditional quilt shows use a tube system for hanging the quilts which requires a larger sleeve. I use a slat system which does not. Addiontionally, I do not like how a HUGE hanging sleeve looks a small quilt. It feels so out of proportion.
You could just stitch these hems once, but I like to create a top stitch look–here I have stitched three rows. I like how it looks, and it helps keep the hanging slat from snagging on the hanging sleeve.
You sleeve will now look like this.
Ignoring all crease marks for now, pin the two long edges together and stitch.
You no longer need the center crease, but you DO need the other two creases. They are the guides for where you should attach the sleeve to your quilt. When you are done stitching the sleeve to the quilt, you will have 1/4″ ease for your slat or hanging tube. Carefully, iron your this seam to one side or another.
Your sleeve will now look like this. The top of the sleeve is supposed to curve as it is doing in the photo. This means you did the sleeve correctly and that there is a 1/4″ ease for your hanging tube or slat.
Hand stitch all the way around the sleeve attaching it to the back of your quilt. Because I quilt my quilts so heavily, this can be a very time consuming process. With each stitch, I must flip the quilt over to make sure the stitch isn’t showing on the front.
If the quilt is a large one, I then repeat this entire process for the bottom of the quilt. Yep. I make two hanging sleeves for all of my quilts except for the very smallest ones. Here is what the back of my quilt looks like when I am done.
I suppose you might be curious about what the front of this quilt looks like as well. It is called Family.
The next step is to prepare your hanging slats. Walt purchases these slats at the hardware store. The slates are labeled “Alum-Flat 1/8″ x 1”- 8 FT and are made by Steel Works. I am sure any aluminum slat will work.
Next, drill a hole about 3/8” from the edge of the slat on both sides.
Your finished slat will look like this.
I always write my name and the name of the quilt on the slat. If I have more than one slate for a quilt, I number them. For example, if my quilt has four slats, I label them Name of Quilt, My Name, Top Slate #1, and so on.
These are screws that go with the slats. Buy these at the hardware store when you buy your slats.