Tutorial – How to Make a Hanging Sleeve for Your Quilt

With quilt show season upon us, I thought I would share my favorite method for making a 4″ wide hanging sleeve. This is the quilt show standard, so that a pole can easily slide through the back. I made this sleeve for my Modern Logs quilt which will be hanging in the modern quilt category at Road to California later this month.

Hanging-Sleeve-FinishedMy Modern Logs backing was scrappy, so I made the hanging sleeve to match!

Materials Needed:

  • 8 1/2″ strip of fabric by the width of your quilt
  • Pins for hemming
  • Cotton thread to match your fabric
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Washable fabric glue (optional)

Step 1:

Measure the width of your quilt and cut a strip of fabric 8 1/2″ wide by 1 inch less than the width. Piece together additional strips if needed, for quilts wider than 42″. For example, my quilt measures 48″ wide so I will cut scrappy fabric strips, seam them together, and trim the strip to be 47″ long.

pinned-hemPin the hem in place – use a seam gauge if necessary to keep it even.

Step 2:

Hem both short sides by folding them over 1/4″ twice. You will be folding them over to the back side of the strip. Use a seam gauge if necessary to get consistent width folds. Pin to hold the folds and secure with stitching on both ends.

sewn-hemUse matching cotton thread so your seams will blend.

Step 3:

Fold the strip in half along the long side, wrong sides together. Press the fold on the bottom for a nice sharp crease.

folded-stripThe bottom of this picture is the folded, creased side. The top is the raw edge.

Step 4:

Open up the strip and bring each half of the strip together in the middle at the crease. Press the top and bottom edges to make a crease on both sides. These will be your guidelines for later.

creased-stripThe original crease is in the middle; you are adding 2 more creases.

Step 5:

Open up the strip and align the raw edges wrong sides together. Pin if needed and sew the raw edges along the length with 1/4″ seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the strip to secure.

pin-and-sew-the-tubePin and sew the raw edges together with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Step 6:

Wiggle the sleeve so that the seam is now in the middle of the sleeve and press the seam open. You will notice that the sleeve does not lie flat. This is correct – the extra room allows the quilt to hang nicely on the pole. Try to avoid pressing the sleeve flat (but if you do, it’s not the end of the world and it will still work).

sewn-bubbleThe sleeve will not lie flat on both sides – that is correct!

Step 7 (optional):

If desired, gently add glue along the length of the hanging sleeve, on the seam side. Be sure you use a light hand, keeping at least 1/8″ away from the edges so the hand stitching won’t get caught up in the glue. You can skip this part and use pins only, if you prefer.

glue-bastingGlue-basting the sleeve on Abacus. Keep that glue away from the edges!

Step 8:

Lay out your quilt on a flat surface and gently place your hanging sleeve into position, seam side down, right along the edge of the binding. Center the sleeve so that you have about 1/2″ left on either side of the quilt. The sleeve will bubble up a bit along the center, giving you that extra hanging space.

bubble-sleeveThe sleeve should bubble up, giving you extra wiggle room for the hanging pole.

When you are happy with the sleeve position, press with a dry iron to secure the glue. It’s easiest to press on either long edge, one at a time, to avoid pressing out the bubble. Add a couple of pins around the edges for extra security while sewing.

basted-sleeveI like to line my sleeve right up next to the binding.

Step 9:

Using several lengths of cotton thread, hand sew the sleeve into place using a whip stitch or a ladder stitch. Secure all four ends and pop the knot into the batting of the quilt each time you finish up a length of thread.


You can avoid sewing the top of the sleeve by hand if you add the sleeve to the quilt after the binding is sewn to the front of the quilt, but before it is flipped over to the back for finishing. In this case, align the top edge of the sleeve with the edge of your quilt. Stitch in place by machine, then finish the bottom and sides of the sleeve by hand. The binding will cover about 1/4″ of the sleeve but that should still be okay.

Machine-Sleeve A quilt sleeve partially sewn by machine, covered by binding on the top edge.



Christa’s Quilt Along 1.2 – Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Blocks

Welcome to week 2 of my Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Tutorial. You can link back to week 1 here for the supply list. This week we will sew up all of our jelly roll strips into blocks.

Step 1 – First, find yourself a nice relaxing sewing spot.  Next, lay out all of your pretty strips (40 total) and cut each of them in half along the fold so that you have a total of 80 half strips, each measuring 2 1/2 inches wide by approximately 21 inches long. This will give you a better variety to work with. Smaller strips are also easier to handle and sew together.

Relaxing Sewing SpotLay out Your StripsI sewed my strips together with my  Singer Feather-weight last week while  on vacation at the beach. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Step 2 – Group your half-strips into pairs. You’ll be using the same fabric twice each time, so try to mix them up so they are all different. Or you can sew them together totally randomly. Lay your whole stack next to your sewing machine, with pairs rights sides together and sew them together along the length. Try to keep a consistent quarter-inch seam allowance while sewing.

Stack of StripsSewn Strip Pairs

Seams Pressed OpenStep 3 – Press your seams open. I find that the strips lie much flatter, and are much easier to stack and cut when the seams are pressed open. As we will find in a couple of weeks, they are also much easier to machine quilt though.

Make sure there is at least 20″ of useable fabric per strip set, not including selvedges.

You can click on any of the pictures shown to see a larger, detailed view.

Step 4 – Square up the end and cut each strip segment into 4 – 4 1/2″ blocks. There is little waste and with careful cutting, you can get a bonus 2 1/2″ piece at the end of each segment. Save those for now and I’ll figure out something fun to do with them later.Cut into 4 1/2" SegmentsStep 5 – Cut all of your strip sets into blocks exactly the same way. You should be able to cut a total of 160 blocks. You only need 145 blocks for the quilt (if I counted correctly!) Save the leftovers in case of mistakes. I will use some of them on the backside of my quilt.

Stacks of Finished BlocksNext week we will finish the quilt top. We will continue on with basting, easy machine quilting, and binding in subsequent weeks. I like to go at an easy pace so everyone can keep up! Feel free to work ahead if you like and email me pictures of your progress. I’ll feature as many of them as I can during my sew and tell on Fridays!

Also, please post any questions you have about this project and I’ll answer them in the comments section of my blog. Thanks for sewing-along!

Here is the complete Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt-Along Schedule:

Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish

Li’l Rascals Charm Pack Quilt #4 – Blocking and Binding

I’m finishing up my Li’l Rascals charm pack quilt this week and it has been such fun to make!

Week #1 was the free pattern and cutting instructions to make the top.

Week #2 was machine quilting the large nine-patch blocks.

Week #3 was using a stencil to mark and quilt the sashing and borders.

I will finish the quilt this week by blocking and binding it. I’ve enjoyed putting together this tutorial so much that I may make this a regular blog feature. Let me know what you think!

Li'l Rascals Charm Pack QuiltThe first step in blocking the quilt (whether you do this before or after binding) is to get the quilt completely wet. You can soak it in a tub, or in your washing machine on the hand-wash cycle. It will start out as a wet lump, but that’s ok, because you’ll smooth it all out.

Wet QuiltSmooth the Quilt

I have 2 large tables set up in my sewing space that I use for basting and blocking. I laid the quilt out on the corner of the table and began blocking it into place.

I use several acrylic rulers to help me block it into place. I overlap them and measure some of the areas of the quilt to make sure they are nice and square. Using the numbers on the rulers I can tug and pull the quilt into place.

Acrylic Rulers for BlockingQuilt BlockingIt  takes about 1-2 days to dry nice and flat.

Once I’m happy with how the quilt looks, I use large square rulers to trim the corners and long rulers to trim the sides. The long lines help me make nice straight trimming cuts.

Trim the Quilt

Now it’s ready to bind! Here are two binding tutorials I’ve put together from previous posts. I bind most of my baby quilts using these methods. Now, onto the next quilt!

Binding Blog Post #1

Binding Blog Post #2

By the way, if you are interested in making this same quilt, it requires just one charm pack of your choice and 1 yard of coordinated fabric for the sashing. I used Lil Rascals by Chloe’s Closet for Moda with Funky Monkey Sock Texture in dark brown.

Sew and Tell – Big Stars Quilt

Ellie W from Oklahoma made this beautiful star quilt.  She is definitely my sew and tell “Star” of the week! I love the brown paisley Michael Miller print that ties it all together.

Ellie's Star QuiltEllie's Star QuiltEllie loved the pattern and teal tonal fabric so much she made a total of 3 bed sized quilts! She sewed them with different fabric placements to show off the teal Gingko Tonals fabric which she got from me.

Alternate Fabric PlacementAt right is  one of the other quilt tops she’s working on with the teal fabric in the sashing. I love how the brown pieces on this quilt form a square. That would be a perfect spot for some really jazzy quilting!

Ellie made 16 blocks, set 4×4 for a queen sized quilt. For a king sized quilt she made 25 blocks, set 5×5 plus an added border. Hey, I could whip up 16-25 blocks in a few days…

Ellie says she loves to make herself one big bed quilt every once in awhile, and she likes to give the others away as gifts so she can get started on the next one!

Star BlockHere’s a general idea of how to make one of these big block beauties:

Start with a 6 1/2″ center square for your star. For the star points, cut four 6 1/2″ squares of the fabric that will show as sashing (the paisley fabric in the picture at left). Sew two 3 1/2″ squares of the cream star fabric onto one side of the paisley for the points.  Line these squares up in the corners “snowball-style” and trim off the ends. Then add four 6 1/2″ squares of the teal fabric to complete one 18 1/2″  block.

Share Your Project

If you would like to share a project you’ve made with at least one piece of fabric purchased from me, please email christa@christaquilts.com with your high quality photos and what makes your project interesting or special to you. If you are selected as my show and tell star of the week, you’ll get a $5 gift certificate as my way of saying thanks!

Lil Rascals Charm Pack Quilt Part 2 – Machine Quilting

Last Thursday I posted instructions on how Lil Rascals Charm Pack Quiltto make this cute Li’l Rascals quilt top from just one charm pack and a yard of coordinating fabric.

If you are following along, feel free to post comments or ask questions about the project and I’ll do my best to answer!

This week I am working on machine quilting the 9 patch blocks with a free-motion wavy plaid design. Next Thursday, I’ll blog about marking and quilting the borders and sashing with a stencil.

I was really excited about doing something different with this quilt. I have stippled myself silly over the last 4-5 years and I’m ready to move on to new textures and designs.

Wavy Plaid PracticeI was inspired by Leah Day’s Loose Weave quilting from her  Daisy to Paisley book of free motion fillers. I stitched out a practice sample on scrap fabric, then set to work on my quilt.

The long wiggly lines were easy to quilt without marking. My design is called “Wavy Plaid.”

First, I quilted long slightly wavy lines down the length of each 9-patch block. I used a thin polyester thread that seemed to blend in with most of the fabrics. I wanted the texture to show, not the thread! I quilted 4 sets of double rows per block and kept them sort of even.

Vertical Lines Quilting

Next, I quilted the same type of wavy lines going across the width of the blocks. I did have to rotate my quilt so that I was quilting either up or down the quilt the entire time. When I tried to quilt from side to side, my thread kept breaking.

Wavy Plaid Quilting I love the freedom this design gave me. Nothing had to be perfect and the quilting added lots of gorgeous texture!

Echo LinesTo create the double lines, I quilted an echo outline with my free-motion foot, using the edge as my guide.

I dropped the feed dogs on my machine, used a Supreme Slider underneath the quilt to help it slide around smoothly, and stitched while wearing Machingers Quilting Gloves. The right tools make all the difference!

By the way, in case in case you need it, here are links to my mini-tutorials on pin basting, and sewing a pieced backing.