My quilt Seasons in the Sun has been lying around in a shelf for over three years now! I live in a dusty place and it was necessary to put it behind a glass frame. In any case, it did not even have a hanging sleeve!
I was also not sure how to hang it behind glass and browsed the web for a solution. I finally decided to get a box frame made, fit it with a hanging rod and hang the quilt inside. The carpenter was ready with box frame a few days ago, but I could not get myself to stitch yet another quilting sleeve (after two on the Dreamcatcher and another on my son and daughter-in-law’s portrait quilt! That reminds me that I am yet to share pics of that portrait here).
So I was saying that adding hanging sleeves must be the most tedious part of quilting and I wanted to avoid it come what may! I decided I would mount it on board, like pictures are, but how? I did manage to work out something, and here is a mini-tute explaining what I did and why.
How to Display a Finished Quilt Behind Glass
Preparing your Quilt
1. Measure your quilt as accurately as you can, including the binding and then measure the finished binding. My quilt measured as follows
36.5″ x 50″ including binding. My binding was 1/2″ finished, so excluding the binding, my quilt finished at 35.5″ x 49″.
2. You need to decide if you want a border around the finished quilt. I had to add a 5″ border beyond my final quilt size, because I was working with a frame that was already made.
3. Once that is decided, you can calculate how much fabric you will need.
If adding border:
Fabric 1: Can be any solid ; I used inexpensive poplin. This has to be equal to the size of the quilt minus the binding plus total 1/2″ for two seams. I will call this the backing fabric.
Fabric 2: For the border. I could not decide what I wanted for the border. I would have liked a sky blue mitered border, but I did not have enough of the fabric in my stash. I also did not have enough green fabric in a single colour, so I pieced my border using whatever I had at hand.
To calculate the fabric needed for the (unmitered) border:
Width of border:
Width of border+ width of binding + 1/4″ for seam joining border to backing + 1.25″ to wrap to the back of the mounting board.
In my case this was 5″ + 1/2″+ 1/4″ + 1.25″ =7″
Length of border:
2 readied strips, width of border x length of backing ( for me 35.5″x7″)
2 strips of width of border x width of backing plus two widths of border minus 1/2″
( for me 7″x 49.5″ plus 14″ minus 1/2″, that is 7″x 73″)
If not adding border
Make a backing fabric equal to final size of quilt plus 1.25″ all around ( to wrap over and to the back of the mounting.
You may be tempted to skip the backing all together, but adding an additional backing protects your quilt, because it ensures that it does not come in direct contact with the board.
4. Prepare your backing by adding the borders. Spray starch and press all seams.
5. Sew the backing to the quilt:
Lay the prepared backing flat, right side facing up. Arrange the quilt, also facing up, on top of the backing. ( I spray basted the two layers together!)
Pin-baste these two together, so that the binding seam of the quilt falls exactly over the seam joining the border to the prepared backing. Now we are ready to sew.
You can machine sew, exactly at the inner edge of the binding, turning over frequently to check that you are not straying from the seam line on the fabric below. I did not feel confident about machine sewing, so I flipped over the pinned- basted layers. I folded the border back on the backing and slip-stitched the two layers together. I could ensure that the seam line on the backing fabric was joined to the seam line of the binding on the quilt exactly. That at the end of it I was left wishing I had stuck to a hanging sleeve, is quite another matter!
Once this was done, I folded the border back and ironed it. Here you can see how it looks. The binding is free, not stitched down, and I like that ‘quilty look’.
If not adding a border, the mount has to be exactly the size of the quilt.
I do not know any technical carpentry terms, so this is going to be written in a layman’s language!
I wanted teakwood for the 2.5″ wide frame, but the carpenter recommended pinewood, saying it was lighter. I did not want a simple frame, so I extended the bars beyond the frame. I designed the frame with the horizontal bars longer than the vertical ones to enhance the expansive feel the final picture would give.
The original plan, as I mentioned, was to affix a rod inside the frame and hang the quilt inside. But, with my change of plans, the hardboard that was screwed on to the back of the frame was removed and trimmed to fit inside!
– So, first the glass was fixed with strips of wood (1/2″ square section). I hunted across my city for plexi-glass, which would be non reflective, but it was not available anywhere. I then opted for the thinnest glass, 4 mm(?) thick.
– Next, the prepared quilt was stretched across the mount, the edges wrapped to the back and secured with painters tape.
We did think of gluing it to the back, but decided this was a better solution, as it would be easier to remove in case needed.
-The quilt was now placed inside the frame. Note that it does not touch the glass, because of the 1/2″ thick wooden strips between the quilt and the glass.
– The hardboard mounted with the quilt was secured with wooden strips nailed over it into the frame ( the way glass is). So no nail goes through the fabric anywhere.
I do believe this looks much neater than just hanging a quilt inside a glass box! I am now planning to frame more of my quilts to display them without fear of dust ruining them! And without harming the quilt in any way with glue or nails etc!!
Here are some more close-ups!