How To Hang Or Display Your Quilt Collection?

If you want to hang one of your favorite quilts, there are right and wrong ways to do it.

For a small lap quilt, you may be tempted to tack up the corners with thumb tacks. Don’t do it! Instead,  add two or three small tabs to the top or back of the quilt.

Depending on the weight of the quilt, you may be able to simply add a few loops of embroidery floss to the back side for hangers. These loops would then be draped over small tacks. Again, this method will only work with wall quilts that are light weight.

Larger quilts need to have a hanging sleeve added to the back side. A hanging sleeve is not hard to make. It is really a simple fabric tube that is whip stitched to the back of the quilt. It also requires a dowel rod or a curtain rod for hanging.

To make a hanging sleeve, measure the top edge of your quilt then add 2 inches to that length. This is how long your hanging sleeve needs to be.

You will need to determine the width of your hanging sleeve by considering the width of the rod on which it will hang. A fabric strip 6 inches wide will usually fit rods that are 2 inches or smaller in diameter. For larger rods, cut the width of the fabric strip to be 8 to 10 inches. You will actually fold this strip over and sew together to make the hanging sleeve.

Once you have determined the size of the fabric strip and it has been cut, you need to fold each of the short ends under about 1 ½ inches and stitch them down. This hems the sides of the sleeve.

Then, fold the tube in half lengthwise and stitch together along the raw ends. When you sew the sides together, do so with the wrong sides together. The seam on the back side of the tube will not be visible anyway.

Once you have created a tube from the fabric piece, you will need to sew it to the back side of the quilt. Start by placing the tube on the back side of the quilt about ¼ to ½ inch down from the top. You can pin it into place if you like.

Sewing the fabric tube to the must be done by hand. Whip stitch the tube to the back side of the top of the quilt. Be sure you don’t go all the way through the quilt, though. Only sew through the fabric tube, the backing and the batting of the quilt.

If you sew all the way through, you will ruin the front of the quilt. Don’t worry if the whip stitches are a little visible on the back of your quilt. They won’t be seen when you hang the quilt to display.

Whip stitch along both sides of the fabric tube lengthwise. Be sure to leave the ends of the tube open. This is where the rod will be inserted later.

Once the tube is completely stitched down, you have completed your hanging sleeve. To display your quilt, slip the rod through the sleeve then mount on your hanging hardware.

You don’t have to spend a fortune for hanging hardware. Usually, a typical curtain rod will do. Get a complete curtain set — one that has the mounting brackets included. Instead of hanging over a window, simply position the brackets on the wall of your choice.

Once the rod has been run through the hanging sleeve, just pop the rod into place on the brackets.

hanging sleeve on quilt
Hanging sleeve on the back of a wall hanging. The fabric matches the backing.

One popular device for hanging quilts on display is to sew a sleeve on the back of your quilt and insert a dowel or other rod.

The sleeve is made by folding a piece of fabric that is approximately the width of your quilt or wall hanging in half lengthwise. Then sew the edges together, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, and turn it inside out, so the seam allowance is on the inside.

Attach the sleeve to the quilt about 1/2″ below the top of the quilt and secure the bottom of the sleeve to the quilt as well. Leave the ends open, so you can insert a dowel or rod.

Some Suggestions for Dowels or Rods

* 1/2″ (in diameter) dowel available at a lumber yard or many quilt shops. If your quilt is quite large, you may need a thicker dowel to support the weight of the quilt. * Curtain rod — either a plain curtain rod attached to the wall, or a decorative rod with fancy ends * Wooden Closet rod — these are great for very large and heavy quilts. Attach screw eyes at each end of the rod, and then use nails or screws to hang the rod from the wall.

Note — you may want to finish the wood with a polyurethane coating to prevent the oils from bleeding onto your quilt.

By Penny Halgren of

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