After you have machine sewn on your binding to the front of your quilt (my explanation of binding a quilt starts with squaring a quilt up at here and finishes with the binding in the next two posts) you are ready to attach a hanging sleeve. Most quilt shows and quilt competitions require a 4” hanging sleeve to be attached to the quilt and it is far easier to attach the sleeve into the binding before you turn the binding to the back rather than sew it on later and do it entirely by hand. This is the method that I use to attach a standard 4” hanging sleeve with room for the rod.Cut a strip of your backing fabric that is 8 ½” or 9” wide by the width of your quilt. I do this easily by laying an 8 ½” strip of fabric across the width of my quilt and and cutting it the length needed. It cuts out the step of having to measure it with a tape measure :) In the picture you can see the back of the fabric I am going to use for the sleeve.
Now take the sleeve to your sewing machine and using thread that matches the fabric sew the hem down. I really like to take this opportunity to use some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine. Many people say that they don't use their decorative stitches but this is a great chance to try some of them out and it adds a nice embellishment to the quilt. I usually try to choose a stitch that will compliment the front of the quilt somehow.
Take your sleeve back to the sewing machine and sew ¼” along this fold using your longest stitch length or a “basting” stitch. You do not want to use a short stitch length here because we will be taking these stitches out later.
Moving again to the ironing board fold the two raw edges together and press a crease in. The little sewn “tuck” will be standing up. Make sure that you stretch out the fabric so that there is not extra fabric in the tuck. We want the tuck to be only ¼” and no bigger or it will show past your binding from the front. Your sleeve is now ready to be sewn onto your quilt.
Take your quilt and your sleeve to your sewing machine. Center the sleeve onto to top of your quilt. You will have a small amount on either end where the sleeve does not touch. This is where your binding will be folding to the back and where your hangers will go to hang it on the wall. Sew the sleeve on to the quilt using less than ¼” seam allowance. If you use a bigger on it will go into the binding.
Now you are ready to hand sew down the back of the sides and the bottom of the hanging sleeve. Use the same blind stitch that you used for the binding. After the stitching is done remove the basting stitch from the sleeve and you will have a bit of extra fabric in the sleeve to accommodate a rod. If you don't put this extra bit of fabric in the quilt will pull over the top of the rod or the rod won't be able to go in at all.
I will add to this post once I do the hand work to show the finished sleeve but it is just too humid right now to have the quilt on top of me to do the hand stitching. So there will be more soon :)
I hope that you all enjoyed this blog on the hanging sleeve. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them here and I will see if I can answer them.