So, I am really not an expert on mini quilts. I've finished.... two? But, I've been working on several lately, with two more due to finish this weekend, so I've been experimenting with how to hang them. Here's a tutorial for hanging a mini quilt with two nails and a long dowel. I'll show you how to make a long dowel pocket from extra binding strips. It's fast and subtle and probably not the first time someone's done this, but I thought you might like me to share. If your mini's really small you can go with one nail, hung at a center point. In that case, I'd make the pockets a little differently, which I'll discuss. Here goes!
Step 1: Prepare the Dowel
First measure your quilt back from just inside the binding at the very top. Overall, my Retro Flowers quilt measured 25.5", but inside the binding it's just 24.5". You'll want a dowel rod about as wide as this inside-the-binding measurement - so 24.5" in my case.
Purchase a dowel at any home improvement store or many craft stores. You don't need a real thick one unless your wall quilt is very large. Mine is about 3/8" in diameter. Cut it down to the correct measurement with a sharp utility knife used in a sawing motion.
Step 2: Make the Pocket
Cut a piece of fabric as long as your dowel rod and 2.5" wide. I used a 24.5" length of extra binding. If you're planning ahead, purposely make extra binding for your mini so that your pocket will match the binding. It looks very subtle on the back! Prepare the fabric pocket by pressing it in half longways with wrong sides together so that raw edges meet. This is the same way you prepare binding strips. If you're using leftover binding, it's already pressed in half! For step-by-step binding instructions see my Zigzag Binding tutorial.
Unfold the end of your fabric strip a bit to allow you to fold in the raw edges by about 3/8" and 3/8" again. Press after each fold to create a nice hem. Do this on both sides to hem the ends of the pocket. Stitch the hem in place. I made two lines of stitching, which is totally unnecessary. Just felt like it! Be sure to sew close to the fold on the inside though, so that the dowel won't get stuck in that fold when you push it through.
When the hemming is complete, fold the ends of the pocket in half longways again, and press. Now you have a long, hemmed pocket ready to attach. It should be shorter than your dowel rod because of the hemming process. Mine is 22" long.
Step 3: Attach the Pocket
Slide the pocket under the binding at the top of your quilt. Ideally you're adding this dowel pocket before stitching down your binding. If the pocket is an afterthought (like mine), just unpick the binding at the top edge. Since I machine sew my binding in place, unpicking is not a mental hardship. So, tuck the raw edges of the pocket under the binding, matching its raw edges with the raw, trimmed edge of the quilt. Be sure to center the pocket on your quilt.
Lay the binding over the pocket and pin in place. Secure your binding down as usual. I zigzag stitch it down from the top of my quilt which catches the pocket and fastens everything in place. If you prefer to hand stitch your binding from the back, do so sewing through the pocket and into the quilt back. This might be a little tricky? You'll have to tell me how that goes.
Now that the top, raw edges of the pocket are sewn in all that remains is to secure the folded edge of the pocket that extends below the binding. Hand stitch that folded pocket edge to fasten the pocket in place. Don't stitch all the way through to the quilt front. Just poke your sewing needle through the backing and batting for a firm hold.
Step 4: Hang!
Now insert your rod, which should extend a little bit more than 1" beyond each side of the pocket. Using a level, place two nails in the wall on which the exposed dowel ends will rest.
Ta da! Properly hung! Because you've used two nails, your mini will not slip off-kilter as time passes. My Retro Flower quilt hangs by our main door, so this was a must for me! If you're hanging a smaller quilt, you can use just one nail. In that case, make two shorter pockets, hemmed on both edges, with a space at the center to expose the dowel. This is just a tiny more work in hemming, but creates a shorter length of pocket to hand sew, so it all comes up about even in time invested.
This is just one way to hang a mini quilt. I'm also experimenting with using grommets on a quilt I worked on last night. If you're a veteran mini-maker, I'd love to know your favorite way to hang them!