How to Add a Hanging Sleeve to a Quilt | Madam Sew

How to Add a Hanging Sleeve to a Quilt

For quilters, displaying our handiwork is one of the fun things about making projects. We put them on beds, tabletops, kitchen counters, over quilt stands and on ladders. Hanging a quilt is also a lovely way to show off your work, decorate your home, and showcase your creativity.

Using hanging sleeves that span the entire top of the quilt is a good way to hang larger quilts as it distributes the stress across the entire top. If the quilt isn’t too large, a small sleeve with a wooden slat placed inside the sleeve provides good support. Leave a one-inch gap between the sleeve and the edge of the quilt. Old wooden rulers are perfect choices for the slat. A metal loop nailed to each end of the slat provides the means to hang it on a nail placed on the wall. The advantage here is that the hanging system is invisible from the front.

For full bed size quilts, the best method to use is a curtain rod with a larger sleeve. This is the method most quilt shows will use if the quilt is to be displayed or judged.

Measure your sleeve length by measuring the total width of the quilt including the binding. Don't worry, it won't reach the edge when we are done. Cut a piece of fabric the length you need by the finished depth you need x2 plus one inch. For example, if the quilt is 31 inches wide and the sleeve needs to be 4-1/2 inches deep finished, cut a piece of fabric 31 inches x 10 inches. Place WRONG sides together, and sew a seam the length of the strip with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press the seam open, with the seam running down the middle of the side you will have against the quilt.

Press the seam open

Turn the edges twice to the outside (right side), covering the raw edge of the seam.

raw edge

Stitch the hem through all the layers.

stitch the hem

Press, then push up the bottom edge 1/4 - 1/2-inch up from the pressed line and press again.

push the bottom edge

You will then have a pressed line to follow when stitching the bottom of the sleeve to the quilt. This will give some room for the rod, so your quilt hangs straight. Pin the edge against the quilt where the rod is inserted, and sew it down. This will guide the rod inside the sleeve as it is being inserted and protect your quilt back from damage. One thing to know, this is mostly hand work, labor intensive, but not difficult. Most will be able to whip stitch one of these on a large quilt in an evening or two.

pin the edge

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For temporary sleeves, the stitches don't have to be perfect. They can be fairly far apart, just don't go through the quilt to the front with your stitching, catch only the sleeve and into the batting layer. If you plan to show your quilt at a guild or national show, make the sleeve at least 4-inches in finished diameter to accommodate most sizes of hanging pipes used by shows.

sleeves at least 4-inches

Have fun quilting, and stop by my blog for more easy projects.

If you are new to the Madam Sew blog, be sure to check out my complete Beginning Quilting series

Basics, Tools and A Simple Block
Making Half Square Triangles
Sewing Flying Geese
Choosing Colors and Prints
Choosing Batting
Adding Borders
Finishing Quilts with Binding
Choosing Threads 

I’ll be doing more articles to advance your quilting skills on Madam Sew. Subscribe to the Madam Sew blog so you don’t miss a thing!

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Recently retired and new to quilting. Thank you for sharing.

Donna Robinette

Thank you for that information! I have a few baby quilts that my grandmother made for me that are quite old (59 years to be exact). I have wanted to hang them up to display for a very long time. It took me a long tome to find someone to explain a simple step-by-step way to do it. I have tried other web sights and do it on scrap material first which always ended up in a disaster. Thank you for being on a web sight I trust!


I would like to rreceive your blog. Add me to your list. Thank you.

Carla Wehler

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