Putting Backing on My Blue Heaven

I was just reminded by a student that I have a specific method I used to put backing on My Blue Heaven.  I would have put a photo of the piece here but... I can't find the quilt.  I packed up almost everything so I am ready to move when the house sells... 

Wool is so loose, not like a canvas or cotton fabric so anything that has weight to it can sag and pull and after a while look very unsightly.  My Blue Heaven is fairly big and depending on how much you are adding in wool and embellishments, it can be quite heavy!!

Please read this all the way through before you start!

You probably know by now that I don't always do things the traditional way.  I just want what I do to work.  That being said, I began by:

1. making certain  I squared up the finished top.  

To do this I used a large square ruler and a large long ruler together.  I wanted to be sure that the top was a true rectangle.  If you don't know how to use double rulers to square up your project let me know.  I can do a brief video showing this.

2. Measure the finished top.  Cut a piece of felt (NOT felted wool, just the normal felt you get at a craft store) the same width as the top and the length plus 3".  I used black so it didn't show at the edges.  My top was a mix of dark greens and blues.

So for instance, if your project measures 22" x 34" you would cut the felt so it measured 22" x 37".  

3. Create a hanging sleeve across the top: Fold the top three inches (or slightly less than that so you don't end up with the length being too short) over.  Press.  Use a pressing cloth on the felt so your iron doesn't melt anything.  Don't ask me how I know this...

4. Stitch across the top edge about 1/4" or 3/8" from the folded edge. 

5.  Stitch the bottom edge of the folded piece about 1/4" from the edge.  You should now have a tube across the top that you will be able to put a dowel in for hanging.

6.  Press fusible web on the inner side of the felt.  The inner side of the felt is the side that will go against the back of the completed top and doesn't show the tube.

I found that if I didn't fuse the backing to the top it didn't stabilize it!  I used a lightweight fusible as I just wanted it to stay in place, not be a hard piece of rock when I was done! 

Plus, if you are planning on doing some machine quilting on this, to add more dimension and interest, it is better to have a lightweight fusible in there holding things in place.

7.  If you are going to do some quilting, do so now, before you stitch around the whole piece. If you know you are going to want to quilt the whole piece you will have to do the quilting without creating the hanging sleeve.  Leave that 3" extending beyond the top. 

After you are done machine quilting your work, you can lay the extra 3" of fabric over and hand stitch it in place to create the tube. Do NOT stitch the hanging tube first and then try to quilt it as you will stitch through the area where you created the hanging sleeve. Then your dowel will not go through!   

8. Now finish the edge of the piece by using a blanket stitch all the way around. I hand stitched the blanket stitch around mine. 

If you choose to machine stitch around it you should trim the hanging tube so the 3" strip is cut 1/4" in from each side. An example is if your top measures 22" wide, you would trim 1/4" off just the tube segment on each side and the part of the tube that is closest to the wall when hanging will measure 21 1/2".   If you don't do this, when you sew around the whole piece with your machine you will sew the tube closed!  

I hope this helps.  If you have questions you can email me.  

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