Tip: Pieced Batting

Today I bought a new roll of batting. Lots of you have your favorites for various reasons, and so do I. I like the loft and weight of a flat polyester batting, like The Warm Company’s Soft & Bright. It’s easy to work with, washes well with no shrinkage, and it’s inexpensive, to boot. That’s especially true during a half-off sale, like today!

I’ve used other battings, too, including Warm’s Warm & Natural and Warm & White cottons, Hobb’s 80/20, and Hobbs Washable Wool, among others. The evidence is in my studio closet, in the chunks and pieces left over after quilting numerous projects.

Occasionally I join batting pieces together to create one large enough for a given project. But when my last roll ran out at the end of the year, I decided it was time to get serious and use up some of the remnants. Today I have a few simple tips for piecing them together.

First, make sure you are using two (or more) pieces of the same kind. Mixing fibers could cause issues in washing. Cotton batting typically shrinks some, while polyester batting does not. A quilt with a mixture will experience uneven shrinkage.

Second, make sure your pieces are both “right side up” when you join them. Did you know there is an “up” and a “down” in most battings? The direction has an impact on how much bearding occurs when you quilt through the layers. This post from APQS explains.

Once you’ve found pieces of the same type you wish to join, you have choices. There is fusible joint tape you can buy, which is probably useful sometimes. Since I am frugal and avoid buying products I don’t need, I haven’t used it so can’t provide any feedback on it.

Depending on your project and the batting, you may be able to simply overlap pieces of batting a little. Once basted through and quilted, you might not be able to find the join. I did that for the quilt here. If I feel for it, I can find the strip where they overlap, but it isn’t visible and didn’t leave a ridge. The batting here was a cheap, mid-loft polyester, which is part of why it worked. The layers are thin but spongy, so they melded against each other easily.

For flat battings like the Warm cotton products, Warm Soft & Bright, and Hobbs 80/20, zigzag along two butted edges. Here is a great video from the Gourmet Quilter to show how.

Wool batting is a special treat to work with, but it requires some different strategies than cotton or polyester. It is lofty, spongy, and elastic. For my current quilting project, I needed to join two remnants of wool. Butt-joining them by machine would crush the loft at the joint. Overlapping wouldn’t work, in my opinion, because of the spongy loft. Lori in South Dakota, a fellow Stashbuster, suggested whip-stitching it.

Before loading the quilt on my long-arm frame, I made sure the edges to join were evenly cut. I waited until I advanced the quilt far enough to “run out” of the first piece of batting. Then I laid down the second piece, butting the edges, and whip-stitched the length of it.

The scissors are hiding to show you where the two batting pieces are butted next to each other. The quilt top is pushed out of the way.

Here you can see my big stitches. They don’t have to be neat or fancy. They just have to hold the pieces next to each other AND not go through the backing fabric underneath. I used a curved needle to make it easier.

If the thread will show through, of course be sure you use white thread. I used tan thread for contrast so you can see it.

Do you have other tips or tricks for piecing batting? Are there other ways you use batting remnants? I’d love to hear about them.

8 thoughts on “Tip: Pieced Batting

  1. JaN

    I do have what might be a different method. When I have to add to a batting, I do a sort of layered splice. Along the edge I try to pull out about half the thickness, leaving one side of the batting intact. I also try to feather out the hard edge a bit. I do the same thing to the added piece. Then I lay them together and check for lumps or hard edges and a fairly uniform thickness. I suppose a glue would help hold them together but I sometimes use a loose whip stitch to secure. However, for tight quilting, if it is layered immediately and pinned or basted, the splice is most likely undetectable. My two cents!

  2. Elizabeth E.

    The Soft and Bright is my favorite batting, and I, too, buy it by the roll when I have a coupon at JoAnn’s. The only time I had trouble with the bearding was when I used an early version of it (think: 10 years ago) with black and dark fabrics. I talked to the company and they said over time it would ease up, and I could try throwing the quilt in the dryer to see if that would help. It did.


    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      I’m not sure the Soft & Bright is “fashionable,” but it works well for me, too.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Good to “meet” you! And WOW! I took a look at your blog. The lollipop tree is spectacular!

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Ah yes, the swiffer cloths! It might have been your tip in Stashbusters that led me to cut a bunch of cotton for that. I’d forgotten, or I would have said that in the post, too. Thanks for linking your post!

  3. farmquilter

    I have zigzagged pieces of batting together to use in a quilt – I even mixed cotton with Dream
    Green and when I washed it there was no problem with shrinkage – could be because I quilted the dickens out of it! Thanks for the tip on the wool – I haven’t tried piecing that one yet! I would probably spray some 505 on the quilt backing and just lay the next strip of batting on it, nicely butted up to the previous piece of batting.

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      I’ve sprayed a few in place, too. But since I quilt on the long-arm, I don’t like to do that — hate the idea of the overspray getting on the equipment! But in a pinch it works!

      Thanks for the tip.


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