Updated: Apr 21
Waste not, want not, right?! I have a thing for piecing scraps of batting together to use in small projects. It’s not the only time I piece batting, but there’s something satisfying about using what I have and making do.
Here I am preparing to piece four different bits together, (don’t laugh), to use in a table runner :)
There are many other reasons you may need to piece batting. If your quilt is odd-sized and the packaged batting needs to be made longer or wider, you may need to add a strip to the side or bottom. Each batting type (100% cotton, cotton blends, wool and polyester) will need to be treated differently in the piecing process, so I thought I would cover the basics for each one!
First, we’ll do 100% cotton. This batting is flat and dense making it the easiest to piece if needed. You will want to start by trimming the edges you plan to join, they need to be perfectly straight.
Now, butt the two edges up together and do not overlap them; that would cause a lump in the batting, and it is very noticeable once it’s been quilted.
You can use a fusible batting tape (available at many fabric stores), or I just cut myself ¾” strips of fusible interfacing to make my own tape. Lay this over the joint and press into place. You’ll want to pay close attention that the two sides don’t drift away from each other while pressing the tape in place.
I go ahead and stitch the joint at this point. You can use just the tape and it will hold for smaller projects. But if you have a bigger quilt and it’s going to get handled a lot during quilting, you may want to stitch the joint to be safe.
I stitch using a triple zigzag stitch. This stitch takes three small stitches to the left and then three small stitches back to the right to get the zigzag look, but adds more stability. This stitch also helps keep the joint very flat.
Cotton-blend batting can be pieced in a very similar way, but it is made with some polyester in it so it shouldn’t be ironed; this makes it hard to use the fusible tape to join two pieces. You can still stitch the joint together with the triple zigzag, but take your time because blend battings have more stretch in them and the seam/joint can become distorted easily (notice the slight bubbling around the stitch line here).
Now, let’s look at wool batting. Here I have some nice fluffy wool batting; it is considered a higher loft batting. This kind of batting should not be pieced together by machine because the stitches will “crush” the loft of the batting.
I hand-pieced this batting with big whip stitches that are almost on the loose side. You don’t want to pull your stitches too tight, or it will bind up the batting making a ridge or bump that is very obvious after quilting.
Okay, last but not least, is high-loft polyester batting. This has to be hand-pieced, like wool, although it is a little denser than wool (low loft polyester can be machine-pieced like cotton-blend batting).
I use big whip stitches again, but this time I go up angling the stitches one way and back down the other way making little X’s.
This helps secure the edges to keep them from separating or splitting, making a ridge or valley, if they were to be pulled apart. And again, don’t pull your stitches too tight or it will crush the loft and become noticeable after quilting.
I do love to use up every last scrap. Here is a series of scrap and orphan block quilts I did a while back. I pieced the batting for each one of these from leftover bits!
I hope that was helpful :)
Happy Sunday everyone,
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