Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Turn the Dial - Stealth Hanging Tube
detail of the back side of Turn the Dial with the matching hanging tube
To hang a quilt for an exhibit, or quilt show, or even on the wall at home, it needs to have a fabric sleeve or hanging tube sewn securely to the back.  For two-sided quilts, I like to make the hanging tube look like it is part of the design of the back side of the quilt.  For some quilts, this is super easy, especially if the top of the quilt is one piece of solid fabric all the way across.  For my yellow quilt, this was not the case.

note: This post is not meant to be a exact tutorial, but just a few tips to help you along the way if you ever desire to do something quite as crazy as this.  My experiences have taught me that just when I think that I have learned how to do this on an easier piece, I make a new mistake on the next one, and have to start over.  It has definitely been a learning curve for me.

My first idea was to get the paper template pattern out and use the top 8 or so inches of it to make a matching tube.  Sadly, this would not work because I inserted those random strips of color which changed the real sizes of my little arc pieces.  So, I needed a new template, one that matched the actual quilt.  Here's what I came up with:

I cut and ironed a long piece of freezer paper directly to the top of my quilt.

You can see the fabric through the paper.  So I took a pencil and traced the shapes underneath.  And, I started finding all the fabrics I used in this section of the quilt.  It is a crazy amount of different fabrics!

After tracing the shapes, I peeled the freezer paper up and then labeled the pieces and started cutting them apart.

Once I had the individual pieces cut, I ironed them to the front side of the corresponding fabrics.  Remember to cut a 1/4" seam allowance around each piece.

I think it gets a bit more complicated because the hanging tube is not sewn in a flat shape to the quilt back, it has a tuck in it so that it bellows out a bit.  This gives room for the rod to be inserted in the hanging tube and not distort the front of the quilt. The first tip is to try to match the bottom edge of your tube to the place where it will be sewn onto the quilt.  Here's a photo of all the pieces sewn together like a quilt top and placed on top of the actual quilt to check for placement and if it matches or not.

Also, when I pieced this section, I did not make it wide enough for the entire tube.  So, I cut another long white piece for the back of the tube and sewed along one of the long edges (right sides together) to make it wide enough.  Then finish the ends by turning under 1/4", twice and topstitching.  Then sew the remaining two long sides of the tube and turn it inside out.  Use a basting stitch to make a pleat for that extra ease on the front side of the tube.  Then it was ready to sew to my quilt.  After hand stitching in place, the basting stitches are removed.

As a little extra touch, I added my label to the inside of the tube before hand sewing the tube on the quilt.  This way, when you look at the back side of the quilt, the label is not visible and it adds to the illusion of "which side is the front?"

I love it!


Mary Ann said...

Are you sure you aren't an engineer? You certainly are a problem solver. Guess that's why I enjoy your posts so much. Thanks for the detailed posts.

Kathy York said...

Mary Ann, I started as an engineer, but then changed my mind. :)