The Challenge Of Hanging Irregular Shaped Quilts

An art quilt maker FB friend recently asked for suggestions about how to display a 6ft diameter round work she had finished. That’s a large round piece right there.

Someone suggested putting several hanging sleeves containing slats or what Americans call cover strip (wood approx, 2.3cm x 0.5cm x width of work minus 2-3cm) between close to the top and down to the widest point of the circle, leaving the rest hanging – I’ve often seen this done, and to my ctitical eye it never ever sits properly – there’s always a combination of sagging and stretching, making it both impossible to get the textile sitting flat and also drawing attention to the multi-rod hanging system behind the quilt. And the hanging system should never distract the eye from the work itself.

Though I’ve never felt the need to make a round quilt, I have made plenty with serious shaping across the top, and two layers of cotton fabric with some standard batting in between will in time flop forward if it doesn’t have some support. Here is “Tropical Waters” that led to the Ebb&Flow series and became known as “Ebb&Flow 1”

I made this quilt to illustrate the article I was invited to write for Down Under Quilts, published in 2004. In the article I outlined how I reinforced the shapes that rise above the line your eye draws across from left to right at the lowest points in the wavy shape – behind which is a standard sleeve+hanging rod. Those shapes have some template plastic cut to fit up into during the construction phase, before quilting – and yes your sewing machine will stitch through the plastic inside. That plastic extends down below the level of the sleeve, and the diagrams and text go into that, so that on the wall it doen’t have anything flopping down.

Diagrams 4-8 detail use of reinforcing plastic as outlined in the text.
Presented with permission,

I think these diagrams from my article are self explanatory for someone who sews moderately well, but if you want further detail, the next images are scans of the text of the article:

Presented with permission,

And finally, intructions on how to make the quilt using the freehand improvisational construction, still not so well known back in 2000 as it is now. Sorry they’re just a little fuzzy, but contact me if you have any questions.,

Presented with permission,

But there’s another way to tackle serious shaping, too. You cut or have a carpenter jigsaw cut for you, a shaped board (just a bit smaller than the outer edge of your quilt, see black line of approximate shape) with several holes drilled into it for hanging on the wall; these match up with the nails or picture hooks you installd where you want to hang it. On the front side of the shaped board, you position and either glue or staple strips of Velcro just in from the edge.

Kimberley 1″ 70cmhx 100cmw, 1996. Photographed on black background.

To hang the quilt, first put the board in place. Then position the quilt so that the velcro strips stick together, and before you press into place firmly, check so that the whole work hangs straight down and flat against the wall.

The 3 pages scanned and included in this post were originally published as an article by myself, “Irregular Shapes” Down Under Quilts Magazine  #78,  pp 33-37.

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “The Challenge Of Hanging Irregular Shaped Quilts”

  1. I read your FB post about your QN acceptance (HOORAY!) and went to your blog to read more… found THIS! I was the circular quilt questioner, so I really like this article. I have used plastic at times as well as various items found around my house. I tend to use what is at hand. Many of my pieces are odd shapes, thus the experimentation. Your ideas give me more techniques to try. Thanks.

  2. Alison says:

    Hey Candace!!! thanks for taking the time to comment, and glad what I wrote might be stimulating or helpful for you. Contact me direct if you have any questions 🙂

Leave a Reply

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

All images and text are © Alison Schwabe
Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without written consent.

Translate »