We always get an incredible response to our reader challenges, and our Quilting Arts Magazine 2012 Calendar contest was no exception. It amazes me how our reader/artists can take a broad theme (in this case, "Getting Pet-ty") and translate it into a compelling, beautiful, heart-warming, thoughtful, or funny (sometimes all of the above) image through fabric, thread, and embellishment.
One thing that continually surprises me, though, is that when we require the finalists of any challenge to attach a quilt sleeve for hanging, we get numerous emails asking, "How do you make a quilt sleeve?" Or, "Exactly what kind of quilt sleeve do you want?"
Although attaching a quilt sleeve isn't necessary for every art quilt and it certainly isn't the most fun part of quilting, it is almost essential if you're submitting a quilt to an exhibit or contest.
For this reason, I asked Leslie Tucker Jenison to demonstrate how to make quilt sleeves on an episode of "Quilting Arts TV," airing in Season 7. She and her buddy Jamie Fingal did an entire segment on preparing your quilts for entering shows. Both are award-winning mixed-media and textile artists who are quilt show veterans.
Here's an overview of Leslie's quilt sleeve tutorial, with her photos:
1. Cut a piece of cotton fabric to the exact width of your quilt by 9 inches deep.
2. Fold and press each edge into a ¼ inch fold.
3. Then turn again and press so raw edges are concealed.
4. Stitch the folded edge in place on both ends. Then stitch the length of the quilt sleeve "tube" (right side facing inward).
5. Turn the tube inside out.
6. Press the sleeve tube so the seam is on one edge and the fold is on the other.
7. Baste the folded edge with the longest machine stitch possible.
8. Then, roll the basted stitch to the top center of the sleeve so the basted stitch is situated over the other seam, which will be situated against the quilt back.
9. Pin the quilt sleeve to the quilt back one inch below the top of the quilt. The width should allow the sleeve to be positioned approximately one-half inch from each edge.
10. Stitch the sleeve securely in place. Be sure to whip-stitch the ends to the back of the quilt, which assures that the hanging device is inserted into the sleeve properly. It helps to take an extra stitch every 4-5 stitches so the sleeve won't become loosened from the quilt if it is hung in multiple venues. Check to be sure that the stitches do not go through to the front of the quilt!
11. Once the sleeve has been securely stitched to the quilt back, remove the basting stitch from the sleeve. This tuck allows room for the hanging device to be inserted without creating excessive tension on the front of the quilt.
NOTE: It is important to attach the name of the quilt and the artist's name and contact information onto the quilt sleeve, as well as the date the quilt was completed.
Want more tips and other quilting instructions? You can watch Leslie create a quilt sleeve in detail and get tips for preparing your quilts for shows from her and Jamie, on "QATV" Series 700, now available on DVD.
P.S. Do you have a special way of making a quilt sleeve? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.