Welcome! Now that the 2021 BOW is over, it’s time for me to move on to sharing some other tidbits of quilting information in my weekly blog. I hope you enjoyed the BOW and my tips I shared through those weeks and you will continue to read my blog.
Besides binding, there are two other things that I feel are important before I consider a quilt completely done. They are labels and a hanging sleeve if the quilt is a wall hanging (or even a larger quilt you may want to hang). I have some tips and techniques for these that I will share this week. So let’s get started!
Do you Label? I hope so! So many quilts I look at in books say “quilt maker unknown”. I wonder who made the quilt? Who was it for? What was the occasion? I have a few family antique quilts but there was very little information about them when I acquired them. I have written down what little I know and have safely affixed that information to those quilts.
When I began quilting, I didn’t think of labeling my quilts. I wish I would have labeled more of them as I made them since it’s a bit hard to remember some of the inspiration behind quilts I made 20 years ago! Labels are so much more than just your name as the maker and perhaps the name of the recipient. You can use the label for historical purposes if you intend to keep a quilt in the family. You can also record the date it was made, fabrics you used and even the quilting techniques.
Below are a few examples of labels I have made. When my daughter graduated from high school, I made a label with her name, class year and things like class song, color, etc.
I also included what sports she was involved in and other activities. Be creative! All I did was type it up on the computer and print it on fabric that can be fed directly into your ink jet printer! This type of printable fabric can be found at most quilt shops. I also had her friends sign one of these pieces of fabric and put that on the quilt as well.
How to attach the label? Besides stitching down all four sides like I did on the labels above, it can be attached partly when stitching on the binding. I like doing this because it’s easier and it adds a little extra security to the label. Here is an example of a fabric label attached on two sides while binding is attached:
Above left photo shows how the label, pinned in place on the lower corner of the quilt, is secured on the back as you machine stitch the binding on the front. The next photo shows as you hand stitch the binding on the back, the label is completely secured on those two sides. Finally, all you have to do is hand stitch the other two sides and you’re done!
Another option: I’ve also labeled quilts by writing with a fabric safe pen directly on the back. This is something you can do when you have a light fabric backing. Be sure not to press too hard so your writing does not bleed through to the front. This works great if you do not intend to write a lot of information. It’s easier than affixing a separate piece of fabric, it’s more permanent, and the pen is fabric safe so it will not damage the quilt.
So now I label all my quilts and I hope these tips will help you do the same.
Adding a hanging sleeve (sometimes called a rod pocket) to the back of a wall hanging or larger quilt is the best way to easily display it. I think the sleeve also helps hang the quilt smoothly and helps to avoid stressing any one side of the quilt. Once the sleeve is there, you can use about any item to hang your quilt like curtain rods, wire quilt hangers and even yardsticks! Here’s some I have hanging:
Here are some simple steps to make these hanging sleeves. Like the label, I think the best way to put a sleeve on a quilt is to do it at the same time as when you attach the binding as I did on this quilt below:
Step 1: Cut a strip of fabric 2 1/2″ wide and 2″ shorter than the width of the wall hanging. This quilt is 24″ wide, so I cut the strip 2 1/2 x 22″.
Then, hem the short ends of the strip by folding in about 1/4″ on each side (towards the wrong side of the fabric) and stitching.
Step 2: Lay the strip on the back of the quilted item aligning it with the top edge and pin in place. So, when you attach the binding to the front, the top of the sleeve will be stitched to the back.
Step 3: Turn under the bottom edge of the strip and pin in place so you can hand stitch this while hand stitching your binding to the back.
Now when you are done stitching, you can slide in a curtain rod, quilt hanger or yardstick like I did with my quilts pictured above and hang the quilt!
That’s it for this week. Share your tips on labeling and hanging sleeves in the comments. Perhaps the tips you share will be something new. Like they say, “you learn something new everyday!” I will draw a name from the commenters to win my new pattern, Spinning Spools.
The drawing will be on Monday, June 28th. Good luck!