. . . then they'd all need sleeves!
But my quilts don't have arms, so only a few of them have sleeves for hanging. When the Vermont Quilt Festival invited me to display several of my quilts in their annual show, I couldn't resist! However, to be hung, about 20 quilts need sleeves.
Since it's quilt show season, and you (and your quilts) might find yourself in a similar predicament, here's how I add a temporary sleeve to my quilts.
First, a quick assessment of the quilt size and backing fabric. This lap-sized quilt has a pretty blue on cream print.
I always like to check the (messy) stack of leftover backing fabric chunks on the shelf. Just in case I have any of that same backing material left. Or maybe something close. No luck this time.
Since I like to come close to matching the color of the temporary sleeve to the backing material, I chose a cream-on-cream print. Not an exact match, but since it's only a temporary sleeve, I'm not going to stress over an exact match.
I need a strip that is about 10" wide. So I can either cut a length-of-grain piece of fabric from my stash or cut a couple of width-of-fabric (selvage to selvage) strips and piece them end to end. My quilt is about 60" wide, so I need a sleeve that is about that long, or just a little less than that. I use the quilt to estimate the right sleeve length. The beauty of sleeves is they really don't have to be too precise on any of the measurements.
Since I have a lot of this particular cream fabric, I'm using a length of grain strip. I fold each short end over to create a hem and sew.
At the work table, I fold the 10" sleeve in half lengthwise, raw edges at the top . . .
. . . and fold under the last 1/2" or so. Both layers together.
Then pin in place, start and end 1-2" away from the sides of the quilt, and that folded-under edge is aligned with the edge of the quilt binding. The pining and folding are all part of one movement. I pin like a crazy person, with the pins sticking out the top edge.
Back at the sewing machine, I set my stitch length as large as possible, 5.0 on this machine. Since this is a temporary sleeve, I'm really using a basting stitch, assuming that after the quilt is back home from the show, the temporary sleeve will be easy to remove. Then stitch in the ditch along the binding seam. Pull out the pins as you sew happily along! This goes really fast because the Paul Bunyon stitches move you right along.
My stitching goes just a bit past the sleeve. Looks good! Now I'm ready for some hand-stitching.
With the quilt and sleeve lying fairly flat, I pin the sleeve fold to the quilt. I like to pin this part to keep the sleeve from getting wonky, distorting the way the quilt will hang in the show.
If you do this next bit, your quilt show staff will love you forever. . . . start sewing the sleeve at the binding edge along the lower layer of the sleeve side, then sew the fold to the quilt backing.
Travel through the batting like you would when sewing the binding down, but take big-gulp stitches. Again makes for easy removal later if the stitches aren't your usual itty-bitty dainty stitches.
Done! By having the bottom side layer sewn to the quilt, the person hanging the quilt will have no question about where the hanging pole will go. And you have less risk that the quilt will be damaged as the pole is set in place.
As tempting as it might seem to save time, never EVER use safety pins to secure a temporary sleeve. It's so very easy for the pin to snag and pull, risking major damages to the quilt. Your beautiful quilt is worth the extra effort.
Once the show is over, remove the sleeve with a few snips of thread.