I’m sharing a quick tutorial for hanging a mini quilt with a dowel using loops and buttons for added charm! Find all the steps, how to adapt it for your quilt size, and even a free template below!
New Wall Hanging Quilt
With the release of my new quilt pattern, Diagonal Dazzle, I wanted to create an example of the single block wall hanging size in some scrappier fabric choices. As well, I was proud of completing my first quilt design and I wanted to have a wall hanging version to put above my sewing table as inspiration.
You may recall that I had a resized version of the Sewology quilt above my sewing table previously, which I still love very much. For now I’ve tucked it away carefully in my closet and I can switch back and forth with this new quilt.
I made a first version of the wall hanging using scrappy fabric, and it did not turn out well. The colours and patterns are too intense and I honestly don’t want to look at it. I’ll share that version soon, but that’s a story for another post.
Anyway, I went back to the drawing board and pulled some different scraps. And I’m much happier with this version. But I realized that I wanted to give it a little something extra to make it special. After feeling inspired to hang it with fabric loops and buttons, I set out to gather what I needed.
Ways to Hang a Small Quilt, Wall Hanging, or Mini Quilt
Before we jump into my tutorial, let’s just take a quick moment to list some of the typical methods for hanging small or mini quilts.
- Thumb tacks – Many people hang whole walls of mini quilts with clear thumb tacks. The clear thumb tacks are not overly obvious on the surface of the quilts, but they do leave holes in the wall.
- A hanger with clips – You can use new or vintage hangers that have clips to clamp onto the mini quilt. I pulled hangers out of my closet to temporarily hang my quilt and keep it clean until I could finish it properly. But this quilt is too wide and would need multiple hangers.
- A curtain rod or picture rail with clips – I recently added a tutorial for using a picture rail and curtain clips to hang quilts. Mine is hung too close to the ceiling though to be a good option for this mini quilt.
- Sewing thread loops or small rings onto the back of the quilt and hanging on Command Adhesive hooks – this can be a great option if you don’t want to put holes in the wall. The hangers also won’t be visible from the front. You can even use large safety pins provided they fit over the hooks.
- Hidden Dowels – Quilts can be hung on hidden dowels that slide into pockets at the corners of the back of the mini quilt. Or a dowel can run through a sleeve sewn most of the way across the back of the quilt at the top. The dowel can then rest on top of two nails. This is a great option for an invisible hanger. I used a dowel inside corner pockets of my Sewology quilt.
- Visible Dowel – This could be a simple as a dowel that sticks out beyond the fabric sleeve behind the mini quilt, with string tied to either dowel end, and hooked on a nail. Or it can be a visible dowel running through fabric loops attached to the quilt.
Hanging a Mini Quilt With A Visible Dowel
I decided I wanted to hang my mini quilt with a visible dowel, because it would allow me to add some playful elements, as well as more colour, texture, and pattern. Immediately, I envisioned some patterned fabric loops, closed with colourful buttons, and looped over a painted dowel.
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I do not have a large stockpile of buttons. In fact, most of the buttons I have are single buttons – you know the extras that come attached to new clothes in case you lose a button? Most of them are black or other neutral colours, and there are definitely no matching sets.
I find shopping for buttons challenging as the selection at my local fabric store is limited beyond neutrals and metallic buttons. If you want something colourful, it ends up being pretty basic. Plus, they’re pricey, so I don’t tend to purchase buttons unless it’s for a specific project. But that means I use them up.
So I started googling yellow buttons, which was the colour I thought I might want to use, and it quickly led me to an Etsy seller, Josefin, and their shop MyOldButtons. Josefin inherited a whole bunch of 1950s buttons from their grandmother who was a seamstress.
There were vintage buttons available in my favourite colours and so pretty! The prices were very reasonable compared to new buttons, and it was easy to order enough to get free shipping. I was so excited when they arrived from Sweden, and I can’t wait to use them in all sorts of projects!
You don’t need to use vintage buttons for this project, but if you find yourself bored by the selection at your local stores, don’t be afraid to look for vintage buttons on Etsy, or elsewhere!
Selecting the Buttons
I set about choosing which buttons I wanted to use for hanging my mini quilt. I knew I wanted to incorporate the colours of the quilt as best I could within the paint the dowel, the fabric for the loops, and the buttons.
So I just kept playing around until I found a combination I liked. I didn’t want the fabric loops to be too distracting, but I wanted them to bring interest. Many of the buttons were too small, or the colour wasn’t quite right.
I ended up liking how a set of blue buttons fit inside the rim of the back side of some red buttons perfectly. I liked the visual interest it provided. And luckily, the holes lined up correctly that I could sew them on in a stack.
Therefore, I settled on a red and white fabric I had used in a few small squares of the quilt, and painting the dowel yellow.
Materials for Hanging a Mini Quilt with a Dowel
To hang a mini quilt with an exposed dowel using fabric loops and buttons, you will need:
- A small or mini quilt – or even up to a full size quilt – see Step 2 to adapt
- A dowel – I used one 3/8″ in diameter
- Saw to cut it to length
- Paint sample or craft paint and a small brush
- Quilting cotton scraps at least 15″ x 8″ – more if you’re making more than 3 loops
- Matching (or contrasting if you like) thread
- Buttons – not too tiny – one for each loop. Mine are about 7/8″ in diameter.
- Sewing machine with the ability to make button holes
- Scissors for fabric and paper
- Something long and pointy like a knitting needle
- Sewing needle
- Water-soluble pen
- Free fabric loop template, printed, found at the bottom of this post
Steps for Hanging a Mini Quilt on a Dowel
Step 1 – Prepare Your Dowel
I used a 3/8″ diameter dowel that I had on hand. It was 6 feet long, but I decided that I wanted the dowel to be more or less the same width as the quilt. I marked the same width, 24″, around the dowel with a pencil.
Then I used a coping saw to very quickly and easily cut through the dowel. You can use just about any type of saw to cut this. If you cut it with something like a mitre saw, I recommend wrapping painter’s tape around the spot where you will cut (redraw the pencil line on the tape) so it doesn’t splinter.
Then tidy up the cut end with a bit of sandpaper as needed. Mine was wonky so I levelled it out and softened the edge a little.
Finally, give it a couple coats of paint using any paint sample or bottle of craft paint and a small brush. Let it dry. I used Behr Dandelion Wish MQ4-12.
Step 2 – Determine how many fabric loops are needed for the size of your quilt
My wall hanging version of the Diagonal Dazzle quilt is 24″ wide. I found it was perfect with 3 fabric loops across the width. I would use 3 loops up to about 36″ wide.
But you can also adapt the number of loops for different size quilts. For a smaller 12-20″ mini quilt, I would probably only use 2 fabric loops. And I would use 5 loops for hanging a larger quilt on the wall, say 48″ wide like the crib size of the Diagonal Dazzle.
You could also use fabric loops for hanging a full size quilt – say across a curtain rod. In that case, I would probably put a loop every 12-16″ across the top.
If you’re uncertain how many loops to use and want to visualize it, fold some fabric scraps into similar widths to the template and lay them at the top of the quilt. How many loops looks balanced? Again, you probably want them every 12-16″ so the quilt doesn’t sag between loops.
Note: I would not hang a full size quilt from a dowel, unless it is a very wide diameter dowel. Use a curtain rod or something that will bend less. If you’re hanging a medium size quilt, perhaps increase the diameter of the dowel slightly. Then support it across multiple nails, rather than hanging it with a string so that the middle is supported too.
Step 3 – Cut out the fabric loops
Print your template (found at the bottom of the post) at 100% scale. Then cut out the template shape with scissors.
Next, iron your quilting cotton scrap and fold it into a double layer, so it’s at least 7.5″ x 8″. I tried to make sure that the fabric print would run straight down the pieces. Pin the template onto the double layer of fabric, and cut it out with fabric scissors. (You could also use pattern weights and a rotary cutter, but my pattern weights were too wide for this).
Remove the pins and set the pair of pieces aside. Repeat twice more (or cutting one double-layer pair for each fabric loop depending on how many you need).
Step 4 – Pin and sew the pieces, right sides together
Take each pair of pieces and place them right sides together. Pin around the outside edges of each.
Then using matching thread, sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance, starting at the top right corner, down around the point, and back to the top left corner. Leave the top open. Backstitch at the beginning and the end. Put the needle down to pivot at the corners around the point.
Step 5 – Turn them right side out and topstitch
Note: Before turning the loops right side out, you can trim a little excess away from the seam allowance around the points to reduce bulk. I got so excited that I forgot and missed this step. Don’t cut through the stitch lines though!
Next, turn the fabric loops right side out and poke out the corners. I usually like to use the end of a plastic knitting needle to help poke out the corners because it’s pointy, but not too sharp and won’t poke through the fabric. At this point, they will be kind of puffy and rounded at the sides.
Next, iron them nice and flat. If your corners have been poked out, start by pressing the point. I like to run the knitting needle along the inside of each side seam, one at a time, to press the seams outward and make sure they aren’t disappearing inside. Then press the sides too.
Then turn the open ends inside with a small seam allowance and pin them in place. They don’t have to be perfect as they will be hidden on the back of the quilt.
Finally, topstitch close to the edge, all the way around the fabric loop, again pivoting at the corners, and stitching the top closed.
Step 6 – Sew the buttonholes
The next step is to sew the buttonholes on the fabric loops. It’s easier to do this before the loops are attached to the mini quilt. Plan the placement by placing the buttons you will use over the point of the loop. I wanted my buttons kind of centred on the area of the point, so I marked lines with a water soluble pen.
Then, use a buttonhole foot and buttonhole settings on your sewing machine to sew a buttonhole that fits your chosen buttons. Definitely sew a couple test buttonholes on a double layer of scrap fabric before diving in on your nice loops. I hadn’t sewn buttonholes in a long time and it took me several attempts to get good results, though all three ended up slightly different.
Use a seam ripper or small scissors to open the button holes and test the fit around the buttons. Be careful not to cut through the stitches at each end of the buttonhole.
Step 7 – Attach the fabric loops to the mini quilt
Next, plan the placement of your fabric loops. Note that you will want to place the fabric loops with the best side face down when looking at the front of your mini quilt. That way, when the point of the loops flip over, you will see the nicest part at the front.
I decided to place one loop in the middle of the quilt, and the other two lined up with the edges of the yellow triangles. Pin the loops in place, with enough overlapping behind the quilt to extend just beyond the binding onto the backing. Measure the exposed length of the loops from the edge of the binding to the point and adjust until they are all the same.
Then place a pinned loop under your sewing machine. Use matching thread to your quilt binding fabric, and sew in a neat square, the width of the fabric loop by the height of the binding, as shown below. Pivot at the corners and backstitch at the end. Repeat with the other loops.
Step 8 – Sew on the buttons
Next, plan your button placement. You may not wish the points of the loops to overlap at all with the binding of the quilt, or you might wish them to overlap like mine do. Fold the flaps over and figure out where you would like them to sit. Mark a dot through the button hole with a water-soluble fabric pen and measure to make sure they will be the same on all the loops.
I wanted my points to overlap slightly with the quilt. But I didn’t want to have to sew the buttons through the binding of the quilt. Therefore, I sewed them just above the binding.
Use a needle and thread and sew on the buttons. I used contrasting yellow thread.
Step 9 – Hang the mini quilt
Lastly, simply button the buttons and thread the painted dowel through the loops (or button the loops around the dowel). Hang the dowel across a couple of nails or hooks spread between the loops. I already had two nails in place from my Sewology quilt and I didn’t want to put different holes in the wall.
You could also tie a string to either end of the dowel. Then hang the string on a single nail or hook, such as on a door.
No Harm Done
If you ever change your mind and want to hang the mini quilt in a different way or remove the loops, it’s simple! You could just bend the loops down behind the quilt where they would be hidden. Or carefully unpick the stitches in the square that holds the loops to the binding.
A Perfectly Charming Wall Hanging
Once I got my mini quilt hung on the wall on its fancy painted dowel and cute fabric loops with vintage buttons, I was so excited! Even though it’s over my sewing table, I couldn’t resist styling it with other vintage items. I went and pulled some books and items from other rooms.
The resulting look made me so happy, and everything about it is “me”. It has all my favourite colours and feels sunshine-y. There are handmade items, and vintage items. In fact, every single item is vintage except the plant and the mini quilt.
Unfortunately, I had to put those objects back where I got them so I can sew on my table. But I’m so pleased to have this colourful, happy and adorable quilt hanging above my desk where I hope to design many more quilt patterns.
The Diagonal Dazzle quilt pattern is available in my shop!
Free Template for Fabric Loops
You can get your own copy of the free template for the fabric loops right here!
Hanging a Mini Quilt With a Dowel
I think this method of hanging a mini quilt with a dowel is such a fun way to add more colour, texture, and pattern to a special quilt. Plus, you can customize it to fit any quilt from 12″ to full size.
I want to hear from you. What methods do you love for hanging small or mini quilts? Would you try hanging a mini quilt with a dowel and fabric loops? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best,