Quilts make beautiful room decor when displayed strategically. You can make it the focal point of a room by hanging it with a dowel on a plain wall.
How do you hang a quilt with a dowel? You hang a quilt with a dowel by slipping the dowel through one or more sleeves sewn on the back of the quilt. The sleeve(s) anchors to the dowel, which is then mounted on the wall allowing the quilt to hang from it.
If you’ve always wanted to flaunt your best quilts around the home or at shows but have never known how to, here’s your chance to learn. This article offers a step-by-step guide for hanging a quilt on a wall using a dowel.
Things You’ll Need To Hang A Quilt With A Dowel
There are a couple of supplies you’ll need to hang a quilt with a dowel on the wall.
A dowel is a wooden rod cylindrical in shape. It comes in a range of diameters. The wider the diameter, the heavier the load it can withstand without breaking.
It would help if you made your own judgment to get a suitable size, but a ⅜” dowel is standard for most quilt sizes from small to large. You can go wider for full-size extra bulky quilts.
Also, ensure the dowel is cut to size. It should be slightly shorter than the quilt across the top. That is approximately two inches less than the dimensions of your quilt.
It would be unsightly if the ends of the dowel extended beyond the edges of the quilt. That means they would be visible from the front, and you don’t want that.
If you already have a dowel and are afraid it would stick out from the sides of the quilt, you can fix it quickly. Just cut off the excess using a saw and sand the end smooth.
You’ll need fabric to make a sleeve. You can use any fabric, even your leftover scraps. The sleeves are positioned at the back of the quilt, away from the view. Therefore, the fabric doesn’t have to match the quilt.
However, it must be made from strong fibers that don’t stretch. Cotton is an excellent choice.
- Sewing Kit
You’ll probably need to use everything in a sewing kit, tape measure, fabric scissors, pins, thread, needle, and tailor’s chalk, plus an iron, and a sewing machine. You’ll also need wall nails, screws or hooks.
Choosing Hanging Sleeves
Before you begin anything, you must first decide on the sleeves you want. There are many kinds of sleeves, but we’ll focus on those that keep everything except the quilt’s beauty invisible.
We have triangular sleeves, also known as corner pockets, and rectangular sleeves.
Triangular sleeves are usually two sandwich-shaped pockets with the right angle sewn on top of the backing at the top corners of the quilt. The longest side opens into a pocket that allows the end of the dowel to go in.
The triangular sleeves are ideal for smaller quilts like lap, baby, and doll quilts. Because they are attached to the corners, the center of the quilt is left without much support.
Therefore, with this kind of sleeves, large quilts which are heavier will be vulnerable to plunging in the middle. Rectangular sleeves are hollow fabric strips, allowing the dowel to pass through them.
Some people opt for short sleeves, one for either end for lightweight quilts. And one or two additional ones in the middle to contain the weight of heavier quilts.
However, having a single continuous strip, like a tube from one end of the quilt to the other, is simpler and less time-consuming to make. Besides, this sleeve type provides the ultimate support for all quilt sizes.
We highly recommend the single tubular strip across the width of the quilt over two individual tabs, and here’s why:
When hanging from the ends, the quilt’s weight puts undue tension on the fabrics at these specific points. This increases the chances of the fibers stretching and tearing at those points damaging your quilt.
But when the weight is spread evenly across the width of the quilt, it is easier for the fibers to bear the pressure as the quilt is supported all the way.
With that in mind, let’s get to the directions for making the sleeves and hanging the quilt.
Step By Step Guide For Hanging A Quilt With A Dowel
After gathering your supplies, proceed with the following steps.
How To Attach A Rectangular Sleeve Before Binding
- Measure the width of your quilt less 2 inches and note it down. If your quilt is, say 36″ inches wide, you will work with 34″.
- Cut fabric into a strip that is about 8″ by the figure you got in step 1, which in our example is 34″. You can adjust the width of the strip to your preference.
- Fold in one of the shorter edges by ¼ of an inch twice, press flat, and then topstitch to hem.
- Repeat steps 3 on the other shorter side.
- The next step is to fold the fabric strip into half lengthwise, so the two long raw edges align. Press to create a fold line in the middle. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing outwards.
- Open the strip and fold both of the raw edges toward the middle line. Press so that you now have three crease lines; the two new lines, one on either side of the middle line.
- Again re-fold the strip into half as you did initially in step 5. Place it across the top of the quilt to the back side so that all edges are lined up perfectly. Because the pocket is slightly shorter, you should keep it centered and leave equal spacing at the ends.
- Pin-baste the strip to the quilt for an easier time and stitch it to the top edge of the quilt.
- Carefully position and fold the binding in a way that it conceals the edges of the quilt and pocket, then machine stitch through to the end. Your pocket is now tightly secured at the top with double stitching.
- You’ll need to hand stitch in the following steps to secure the bottom of the pocket. Be cautious to prevent the stitches from showing at the front of the quilt. Pull backward the middle fold line such that there’s more loose fabric on top of the pocket than at the bottom.
- Whip stitch along the next fold line, which is at the bottom. This creates a hanging allowance for the dowel, so it doesn’t pull and distort the quilt.
- Whipstitch the bottom part of the sides of the pockets too.
- Lift the dowel and balance it against the wall where you want the quilt to be. Put a small mark where the nails/screws should go before driving them in.
- Now go ahead and insert the dowel through the sleeve. A small section of the dowel should be popping out of either end of the pocket. Mount the dowel such that the ends rest on the nails/screws.
How To Attach A Rectangular Sleeve After Binding
To make the quilt hanging sleeve a permanent part of the quilt and thoroughly reinforced, it is best to sew it on before binding the quilt.
But don’t worry if you’ve already completed the quilt and then decide later to put it up for a show. You can still add a pocket afterward.
In this case, you’ll do everything as above from steps 1-4 but skip steps 5-9. Instead, you’ll make a tube separately and then attach it to the back using whip stitches.
Begin with the same steps from 1- 4, then:
- Fold the fabric strip into two lengthwise, this time with the right sides turned to one another.
- Stitch along to create a seam, then press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Turn the fabric inside out, and you have your tube.
- Draw a chalk line half an inch in along the bottom of the tube. (You’ll use this in place of the bottom crease line in step 11).
- Align the tube close to the binding, ensuring the side with a chalk line is at the back. Whipstitch the top edge of the pocket to the quilt, then continue with steps 10-14 as above.
How To Attach A Triangular Sleeve
- For triangular sleeves, you’ll begin with 2 square pieces of fabric rather than rectangular strips. These should measure a third of the quilt’s width. So, if the quilt is 24 inches wide, the squares would be 8″ x 8″.
- Fold each square into half to create a triangle shape and press.
- Align one triangle to the top right corner at the back of the quilt and baste the two raw edges at the top and side. The triangle’s longest side should be inside the quilt to form the pocket.
- Repeat step 3 for the other triangle, this time placing it on the second corner at the top right of the quilt.
- Stitch the sleeves to the edge of the quilt before adding a binding and stitching all around.
- Slip in a dowel cut to size (length corresponding to the quilt’s width less 2 inches).
- Hammer a nail or screw to the wall where you’d like the quilt to hang and mount the dowel over it. The nail should be centered.
- You can make similar pockets for the two bottom corners and insert a dowel if you wish. It helps prevent the quilt from curling upwards and provides stability in breezy situations.
Hopefully, you’ve gained as much confidence in hanging a quilt with a dowel as you have in your quilting skills.