2023 Quilt Show Quilt Sleeve Instructions

All large and medium quilts must have 4-inch sleeves; small quilts wider than 30” must also have a 4” sleeve. Small quilts less than 30” wide may use a 3” sleeve. Miniatures need at least a 2-inch sleeve. Quilts wider than 90 inches require a split sleeve. Any quilt not adhering to these guidelines will be withdrawn.

For those entering a quilt show for the first time, the sleeve is a tube that is attached to the top-back of the quilt; a pole is inserted thru the sleeve and the pole is attached to the hanging frames. A 4″ sleeve starts out as an 8.5″ strip of muslin or other fabric; a 3″ sleeve starts out as a 6.5″ strip of fabric.  There is an easement build into the tube for the pole.

Suggestion:  As you read through the directions for the first time, take a sheet of paper 8.5” x 11” and fold it following the instructions.  Assume your quilt is 12” wide.  Either sew or staple as you go.  When you get to the end successfully then begin with your fabric.  You will save time as taking out stitches is much slower than picking up another sheet of paper.

or you can watch this American Quilter’s Society video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF81VRK4ilw


Cut sleeve fabric 8.5″ (6.5” for 3” sleeve) x width of quilt minus 1″   Hem short sides of sleeve by turning under 1/4″ twice.  The finished sleeve will be about 1” shorter at each side of your quilt.

Fold sleeve long edge to long edge wrong sides together.  It should be 4/25” wide (3.25” for 3” sleeve).  Lightly press.  This is your center press line.

Open sleeve.  Turn long edges to meet center press line from both sides.  Press the new fold lines firmly.  These lines will become your sewing lines.  Your sleeve should have 3 parallel fold lines.

Open sleeve.  With wrong sides together, fold along center press line.  Sew 1/4″ seam down length of sleeve creating a long tube right sides showing.  Press seam open.  Your sleeve is complete.

With the sleeve seam toward the back of the quilt, pin one of the previously pressed fold lines of the sleeve approximately 1/2 inch from top of quilt.

Pin the bottom edge of the sleeve along the other previously pressed fold line.  There will be an easement in the sleeve for the pole.

Hand stitch the sleeve in place making sure your stitches do not go through to the front of the quilt.  Also be sure to stitch down the quilt side of the sleeve opening.