I feel your pain.
You’ve been wranglin’ this dern quilt for weeks – months – (years??!) and now you can see the end.
The piecing, applique, embroidery is done. The quilting is finished. The fun parts are all done, and you’re left with the slog of finishing it up. You’re ready to bind it and put this puppy to bed.
And you’re so over it. You just want it to be done.
If you made a midsized quilt to be used as a wall hanging, you are now faced with figuring out how to hang the crazy thing. How do you get it up there to stay but make it look professional and, well, intentional? Like the piece of art that it is?
My method of creating a hanging sleeve supports entire top edge so that you don’t end up with floppy corners. This hanging sleeve supports the weight of your quilt and is fairly invisible.
It works for mid-sized quilts – larger than about 24″ at the top edge but less than,about 80″. If your quilt is larger or smaller it may require a different method of hanging – I’ll give you some suggestions and ideas in future posts.
You can use this hanging system with our without picture hanging wire, and when mounted using two horizontal nails in the wall, it’s practically hidden.
- Quilt – completed except for binding
- Support to go through the sleeve – I use a strip of rectangular unfinished pine molding that is 3/4″ x 1/2″ x width of top edge of my quilt.
- Fabric for sleeve – approximately 12″ wide by the measurement of the top of the quilt plus 8″. (You can piece this from long scraps to get the proper size.)
- Hanging hardware (see picture below), including picture hanging wire.
Two caveats: 1. This method is done BEFORE you bind the quilt. If you have already bound the quilt, you’ll have to do a little “make do.” 2. DO NOT CUT THE WOOD SUPPORT UNTIL AFTER THE SLEEVE HAS BEEN ATTACHED AND THE QUILT HAS BEEN BOUND, WASHED AND DRIED.
1. MAKE THE HANGING SLEEVES
Cut a strip of fabric for the main sleeve. A little math is in order here:
(Now now now – you can do this. It’s not hard -write it out and you’ll see that it makes sense. Also, rest assured that accuracy is not all that important. I tend to wing it, so the fact that I had to figure out what I do intuitively took a little effort too – so don’t worry about it too much.)
Figure out the circumference of your supporting material then double the total. I use a strip of pine molding that is about 3/4″ x 1/2″ x width of the quilt top edge for my support. The total circumference of the wood is is 2 1/2″ (3/4″ + 3/4″+ 1/2″+1/2″= 2 1/2″) I double that measurement so I get 5″ wide.
(If in doubt, err on the “too big” side. You can make it a little wider, that’s fine. No big deal. Just don’t short change it – you want the quilt front to lay perfectly flat and not pull around the support.)
For the length of the hanging sleeve, I measured the edge of the quilt that I want to be at the top and it is 43″. I subtract 5″ from that measurement, so I end up with 38″. I cut one strip of fabric 5″” x 38″. Turn under each of the short ends of the strip and stitch with a narrow hem. Fold the entire strip in half lengthwise and press.This will make a double strength hanging sleeve – it is more substantial and will better support the weight of the request of the quilt.
Also, you’ll need to cut two smaller loops. Make these about 5″ (or however wide your strip is) x 3″ long. Hem both of the ends, fold in half and press.
2. Pin hanging sleeves to top edge of quilt.
Center the long strip with both raw edges toward the unbound top edge of the quilt and pin. Put the smaller loops close to the corner on either side and pin. This is what the top edge of your quilt will look like at each end. Make sure that the smaller loop will not be caught in the side binding – it should be close to the corner, but not so close that it gets caught when you try to stitch the binding around the edge.3. Sew on binding, catching top edges of hanging loops in stitching.
I am using my preferred method of machine attached binding, which is sewing the binding on from the back and flipping it to the front. Here’s what it looks like as I’m sewing it on:At this point, you can complete the binding application by machine or hand-sewing the folded binding edge down.
4. Mark the connection edge for the bottom edge (folded) of the hanging sleeve.
You need to build some ease into the hanging sleeve so that the quilt doesn’t pull around the support. In this case, I marked a line about 1 1/2″ below the binding stitching line with a fine pencil line.Here you can barely see it – I flipped up the hanging sleeve to mark the line and my finger is pointing to it. Now bring the folded edge of the hanging sleeve to the pencil line and pin. Do this with the little loops towards the corners as wellSee how this will give you a bit extra fabric?Now, either hand or machine stitch the bottom of the hanging loops to the quilt. I hand stitched it because I couldn’t hide the bobbin line on the front of the quilt well.
5. Now you can wash and dry the quilt as you prefer.
Waiting until now to measure the finished top edge to cut the wood support will allow your quilt to shrink up (if that’s what you like – I do) and you can then cut the wood to the proper length.
6. Attach hangers to wood support.
I found these little hangers at the hardware store and they are perfect. I can screw them into the wood, the flip up and down so I can slide them through the hanging sleeves, and they were cheap. Slide the wood support so that both sides of the hanging sleeve are on the outside of the wood.
7. Attach picture hanging wire to fasteners if desired. Make wire as taut as possible.
If you’re crazy enough to try and hammer two nails into your wall that are perfectly horizontal(use a level!) and will be in exactly the right place for the little fasteners to hang on, go for it. I’m not that good. I use picture hanging wire. (Here I’m going to switch quilts because I think you can see the hanging sleeve a bit better.)
All the best – Chris