Making a Quilt Hanging Sleeve

Here is a tutorial on how I make and attach my quilt hanging sleeve. I use this method to make sure there is ‘slack’ in the sleeve.  It’s important to make your quilt sleeve more open so that there’s room for a pole or slat.  I’ve seen too many quilts in shows where the sleeve was sewn on so tight that the hanging rod caused the quilt to bulge out at the top.

I also like making a full sleeve because it protects the back of my quilt from rough poles sliding along when the quilt is being hung.

STEP 1:  First, measure your quilt’s width at the top of the quilt.  Cut your sleeve fabric 8-3/4 inches by l inch LESS than quilt width.  So, if my quilt is 50 inches wide, my sleeve fabric will measure 8-3/4″ by 49″.   Of course, for wider quilts, I piece the sleeve using a standard straight join with a 1/4 inch seam.  There is no need to miter the join.

STEP 2:  Next, turn both short ends under 1/4″, and then turn them again 1/4″ .  Iron these turned ends under and stitch them.  The arrow shows (just barely) the right side of the open sleeve with the turned under ends.  This is done to give the end of the sleeve a nice finished edge.

STEP 3:  Fold the sleeve in half with RIGHT sides together and iron a nice crease along the fold.  Then fold each side up to meet the center crease and iron them under.

First side was folded and ironed.

Here you can see both sides folded to meet the center crease.  It is VERY IMPORTANT to iron these 2 new folds with a crisp seam.  You might want to starch them a bit to keep them crisp.  You will use these creases as your sewing guides when you attach the sleeve to the quilt.


STEP 4:  Next, sew the two long sides together, using a 1/4″ seam.  The sleeve is still right sides together.

Arrow is pointing to that center crease that I used to measure where the center was. Just ignore this for now.

STEP 5:  Now turn the sleeve inside out.  It may require a bit of tugging if it’s a really long sleeve.


Here is the finished sleeve, right side out! Notice that it is slightly cupped because the creases I made earlier created the slack!  If they have gotten a bit ‘soft’, go over them with the iron.  You’ll need them for the final step.

STEP 6:  Next, fold your quilt in half, and fold the sleeve in half.  Match up the two folds, pin them at the center.  Then open up both and pin your sleeve to the quilt. (sorry I forgot to take a photo of the second part!)

Here I’ve matched the center of the quilt and the center of the sleeve.

STEP 7:  Now, attach the sleeve to the  top of your quilt about 1/2″ to 3/4″ below the top.  Place the sleeve with the sewn seam from Step 4 towards the quilt.  I then pin the bottom of the sleeve to the quilt using that crisp crease from Step 3.  You’ll keep the back side of the sleeve flat against the quilt and hand sew it down along the crisp crease.

STEP 8:   I pinned the sleeve to get it into the correct position.  However, I remove the top pins and replace them with these long Clover clips you see in the next photo.

You’ll also notice that this quilt has a faced binding.  So, my sleeve will sit on top of the faced binding.  When I hand stitch it down, I carefully make sure that I sew through the binding and just a bit into the backing fabric.  I make sure that I don’t go too far into the backing or batting–I don’t want these stitches to show on the front of the quilt.

You also need to sew down the end of the sleeve–where the arrow is pointing.

Your binding will measure about 1 ” from the outside corners of the quilt. This helps make sure the corners don’t flop or droop when the quilt is hung.

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One Response to Making a Quilt Hanging Sleeve

  1. Bobbi Penniman February 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

    What a great tutorial and I’m saving it for students.

    I do the same except Step 4. I sew that long seam with wrong sides together. Then I press the seam open. (No turning). I then sew the sleeve on, with that seam allowance touching the back of the quilt. That way the inside of the pocket is smooth and wouldn’t catch the rod when it is inserted. And just makes it a little easier, no turning.

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