One of my readers, Pat, asked an excellent question regarding piecing batting scraps for quilting:
Hi Jacquelynne. I am new to your site and really like your designs. I have only been quilting for a year or so. My question is about batting. When using smaller, leftover pieces of batting for a quilt, are 1/4″ seams used? Thank you. Pat
So today, I will be talking about how to piece your leftover pieces of batting together. Because batting is expensive, and no one wants to throw it out, right?? And sometimes, you are in the middle of the project, and don’t have a piece of batting that is big enough, and you just don’t have time to run out to the store to buy more.
First you need to get your batting pieces ready. When piecing your scraps together, you don’t want a seam allowance at all- batting is bulky and you don’t want any extra bulk or bumps in the areas where you sew your pieces of batting together. What you want to do is have your batting edges line up and abut to each other, so you get one nice, continuous piece of batting with no lumps or ridges. You need your edges to line up fairly well before you sew them together.
You start by placing 2 pieces of batting together, with an overlap of 1/2 to 3″ (depending on the cutting method you use below.)
Once you have your batting edges lined up and overlapped, you need to cut them. I personally like to use a rotary cutter- it gives you a super-straight and smooth edge. (You may want to dedicate a special mat and rotary cutter for just cutting batting, if you don’t like having little bits of fuzz. I just clean my mat and blade really well after I cut batting.) Place a ruler over the overlapped area, and cut down the center. When you remove those little scraps, you will have 2 edges which will abut to each other perfectly.
If you have a large piece of batting which doesn’t fit on your cutting mat, or you don’t want to use your rotary cutter, you can use the same method, but cut with your scissors. The edges won’t be as perfect- but you will get 2 complementary edges which will fit together well enough for our purposes.
Finally, some people like to do a curvy cut with their rotary cutter (I suppose you could also use your scissors for this as well.) Personally, I find this more difficult and a little more “fussy,” I think the straight edge works just as well and is much easier. I piece my batting all the time with straight edges, and in not one of my quilts can you tell where the batting was pieced together!
Now that your batting edges are prepped, you have a few options for piecing your batting scraps together. You can either sew them together by machine or hand, or you can use a fusible product to hold them together.
When you sew the pieces of batting together, you don’t need it to be super-secure. Basically, you are just basting it together until the actual quilting gets done- your quilting is what will hold it all together. (If your quilting stitches will be very far apart, then you may need to make your batting seam more secure.)
Use a neutral/matching thread to sew your batting pieces together- I’m using dark thread just so you can see it better in the photos.
Here is how you can hand stitch the pieces together. Place the batting pieces on a hard surface such as a table or the floor. Notice that I gave it a nice secure “tacking” or “bar” stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Then I make big stitches down the seam- keep the stitches fairly loose, you don’t want to pull so tight that the batting puckers or bunches up. You can leave it like this, if you feel that it’s secure enough.
Or, when you get to the end of the seam, you can come back to make big “X” stitches.
I will admit that I find this method (hand stitching) to be pretty back breaking!
The next option is to machine zig zag stitch the layers together. Use a big stitch (like, the biggest stitch your machine will make!), and make sure that the batting isn’t puckering or bunching. If it is puckering a lot, try adjusting the tension or using a larger stitch. These are the pieces that I cut with scissors, and notice that there are no gaps once I’ve sewn them together. I usually piece my batting with a machine zig zag stitch.
Finally, I’ve seen some fusible tapes on the market, but I have not tried them. Here is another method I’ve seen- but I haven’t actually made a project with it. So, if you want to try it I suggest doing a test project first. Or, if you HAVE tried this- please let us know in the comments how it works! It involves ironing a thin strip of fusible web to the seam. (To be honest, my iron didn’t “like” ironing right on the batting, it kept sticking to the batting, so I suggest using a pressing cloth if you are going to do this.)
Place a strip of lightweight fusible web (I love Heat n Bond Lite) about 1/2″ wide, over the seam. Iron in place, using a pressing cloth if necessary.
Then peel off the paper backing, and fuse a piece of thin muslin (which you have cut slightly wider than the fusible web) over the fusible web area. No sewing required.
You can sew LOTS of batting scraps together to get a piece as large as you need it to be! It just depends on how much patience you have! You can also keep batting scraps on hand for smaller projects such as mug rugs, coasters, and place mats. Next week, I will be sharing a cute Christmas ornament that you can make from some of your smaller batting scraps!
thanks for a very informative tutorial, I will now have no excuse for not using the odd bits of batting I have I plan to do some table mats so will try this when they are done
Glad you found it helpful, Margaret!
Thank you for this info. I have been zigzgging mine, but sometimes have used the iron on tape, but this was great info from all participants.
I have tried these methods and I like iron on the best.
I have used leftover batting to make placemats and used a spray adhesive to bind
the pieces together. Works great and takes no time at all.
you can use baking parchment too to press on top of batting while fusing.
Great tip, Wilma! Thanks!
I use the commercial tricot tape to fuse my pieces together, big and small and it works just fine.
I piece mine together using the fusible tape with one sticky side. Works great! Largest item I ever used it on was for a tee shirt quilt for my grandson who is 6’8″ tall. It was huge (!!! ) with no problems..
I piece my leftovers together all the time. I prefer to use the edge join
That’s a good idea
Thanks for the great tip! I have a box of batting scraps, just couldn’t throw out.
I started piecing my batting together after seeing a video on it. I use a zigzag stitch to hold pieces together and use mostly on bowl cozies and mugrugs.
Grateful for reassurance that I have been doing this right! I love using all my batting pieces but I do try to do piecing only on wall hangings or purses rather than full size quilts. I like to use the zig zag with multiple stitches in each zag, set as wide as possible. I haven’t tried any fusible method yet but I thought it would be just a piece of one-sided iron-on sticky. Adding a strip of muslin on top would require more bulk, more fabric (we are saving money on batting but spending fabric), and more cutting time. Are there one-sided sticky products available?
Yes there are tapes available- but since I haven’t used them myself, I can’t say how they work. They probably work just fine.
I’ve used iron on tape for years & love it. Never had any problems w/it.
I cut my own strips from light-weight fusible interfacing (adhesive on only one side). It works well, and I do use a pressing cloth.
There is an iron on product made especially for joining pieces of batting. It comes in a roll and is about an inch + in width. It’s a one step process. I buy it at Fabricland here in Ottawa, Canada
Thanks for that information, Tamara!
What is the name of the product?
Tamara, that is expensive. I go to fabric land and buy the iron on interfacing made for stretch materials and cut it into strips with my rotary cutter. It works just as well and is MUCH less expensive. Sue in Ontario
Great idea. The tape is expensive!
I’ve done this as well and it works great,!
Awesome ideas. Thanks
I use iron on interfacing, cut into strips about 1 1/2″ – 2″ wide to fuse batting pieces together. I get the thinnest I can find, look for it in packages at the chain fabric stores, you can oftern find it 3 yds for $2. Cut it in strips using your rotary cutter, it works fine and much less costly than the special iron on roll. We make a lot of comfort quilts in our church quilt group, and this helps us be frugal and save on batting.
Great idea, Jan! Thanks!
I have a dear friend who is in the business of making quilts. She buys the widest batting by the rol and most of her quilts are twin or double size. She gives me all the trimmings. I haven’t bought batting for years! I hand stitch all my seams. I’m very fast, don’t mind hand work, and find it more accurate and less annoying than machine piecing it. The only way I differ from your method is I don’t make two runs on the seam, only one. I’ve never had it come apart and you cannot tell where it is joined when the quilt is finished.m
Where would quilters be without good friends and scraps!
Hi Marlene! Yes, I think as long as your quilting is secures, piecing your batting like that is fine! It’s the quilting that holds everything together, after all.
Thank you for a great way to create larger pieces of batting from left over pieces. This could not have come at a better time!
I enjoyed this post. I have zig-zagged batting scraps, but have never tried the fusible web method. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for this fantastic idea. I might try the 3 different options to see which one I prefer, I think hand sewing smaller pieces may be easier.
I use a fusible product called Heat Press Batting Together. I buy it at my local sewing store and it comes in two different widths. It is very thin and works great! They have a website if you want to look it up.
I use this, too and love it! It comes in various widths as well.
I use pieces that are too small to clean my sewing machine. They are great for cleaning the bobbin are. I also use a small scrap beside my machine while sewing to place thread snips.
Great tips, DJ!
Thanks for the great tutorial on piecing batting together! I had no idea how to piece batting and generally ended up throwing it away.
This is perfectly timed. I had pieced some batting and made lumpy seams. So I just ripped it apart and here is your tips on how to do it right! Thank you so much. I really enjoy your newsletters and patterns.
Glad you found it helpful, Stefanie!
I use Parchment Paper any time I need to cover anything sticky on my ironing board. Love it. I love your tutorial as well. Just last night I was going through my scraps of batting and wondering at what point they needed to be “gone.” Do you always match types of batting or can you mix 100% cotton and 80/20 on small projects? And what if you aren’t sure which ones have scrim or not?
HI Beverly- I always match my batting- I really only buy one or 2 kinds, so that’s not hard for me. I would only mix batting if you know it is a project which will not be washed, such as a wall hanging. You never know how a batting is going to shrink when you wash it, and I wouldn’t risk mixing them.
I piece mine together on the machine. I use the longest and widest zig zag stitch and but my pieces together. I follow the center of the foot right where the pieces are butted together. Works beautifully and fast!!
I use the faggoting stitch on my machine
Hi Ann- I will have to admit that I had to look that stitch up as I’m not familiar with it! Do you think it has an advantage over a zig zag?
the easiest method is to use a lightweight fusible interfacing. Just cut a thin strip where the two pieces meet….press…Voila! Works like a charm…no sewing needed!
I’ve done this as well and it works great,!
I have used the fusible interfacing and hemming tape in a pinch to join batting pieces…maybe I don’t have good sense, or ironing skills, but it always slips, doesn’t join together well, and I have a tiny gap in my quilt or overlap from having to add more. Given that it’s usually at the edges so isn’t so noticeable, it can work but I’ll be machine zigzagging from now on. I never thought about that, thought I was the only one who won’t throw batting scraps away :) And I hate QAYG which is what bigger scraps are good for–so much trouble to join, might as well learn to whole machine quilt. Thanks for the info!
Well, I think that no matter what you are doing, there is almost always more than one way to do it, and the key is to keep trying until you find what works for you! Hope the zig zag works well for you!
I have lots of bits & pieces from various places, and they are not all the same batting. I have trouble seeing if various pieces are the same. Is there a clue to matching different types? Very informative tutorial. I think I’ve seen most of these, but they are scattered all over the net. Nice to have one tut with all in one place. THANKS!
HI Linda- that is a good question. Generally, I just stick to one or two kinds of batting, so it’s not too hard for me to figure out which ones go together. I think it would be important to look first at the thickness, then the color, and finally feel the textures and see if they match up. And also, going forward, you could mark all of your batting with the brand and type. Or keep all of the same kinds in a separate shopping bag.
Hope this helps :)
Thank you for your tutorial. I have always wondered how you do this. Someone I know used the bonding tape and said that she uses it all the time and it works fine. Thank you.
Thanks so much, this will help me alot! Your always very helpful.
I am a brand new quilter and had no idea I could do this! Thank you so much for the great tutorial.
I use the tape and it works great. Don’t be afraid to try it.
I use my walking foot when joining batting and a zigzag as you say. I piece my favorite Hobbs Polydown as well and follow the same method for getting a straight line. I will piece my batting together for lap if I have lots of long strips leftover from other projects. I never throw away batting :)
Thank you for your tutorial. I’ve tried zigzagging batting pieces together on 2 different machines (Kenmore and Janome), and it always puckers. I tried it with the walking foot and that puckers too, I’ve tried several tension settings. Today I cut some thin fusible interfacing into 1 1/2” pieces to fuse strips together and the polyester batting is getting too hot and it’s flattening out. If I turn the heat down, it won’t attach the fusible interfacing. I tried sewing them together by hand before and that does work, but it’s so time consuming.
It seems as if whenever I am needing some advice on something, inevitably I either get an email, watch a video, read a blog, etc., and find the answer. Someone else sells a tape for putting together pieces of batting but it is too expensive. I have plenty of Heat and Bond and also plenty of thread. haha. Thanks much for info. and for saving me money!
Thank you for this information. I recently asked if I could piece together the batting at a local quilt shop and I was told that it should never be done! So happy to hear differently:)
Of course they’d say “no.” It means they’ll sell less batting/wadding!!
This is great Jacquelynne. I frequently use up pieces of wading in this way but seeing your article was excellent.
Love seeing your blog and tips.
Thank you Jacquelynne, it’s a great tutorial, and tells me that what I did on my recent quilt was okay. I ran out of wadding before the end of the project, which was baby crib sized, but the largest I’d made. Not wanting to buy more at that late date, I hand stitched some of the pieces, and zig-zagged others. Both ways worked just fine, and my friends are delighted with their quilted purple log-cabin wall hanging, and have no idea that it’s filled with patchwork wadding, too!
I piece my batt pieces with a zig zag for many years, and have never had a problem. I got “Swiffer” size, about 12 x 9 for my daughter, she said it works great. The really small pieces of 100% cotton I use to remove make-up instead of poly cotton balls that aren’t really all that useful. Thank you for all your ideas. Linda Pewaukee, WI
I am so happy to have run across this cite. I have been trying to piece together batting or wondered if it was even a smart thing to do. Oh my I have lots of odds and ends and never big enough to use. Well thanks to you I see the lite at the end of the tunnel.
I see what I have been doing wrong
Thanks Jacquelyn for all the great ideas from you and the others who added more information. I see why I could never put them together right.
I am fairly new to quilting. Thank you for this helpful info!
I bought a Babylock Embellisher with 10 needles. This $300 machine has already paid for itself in meshing leftover pieces of batting.
I have used the iron on tape, it works great………
Thank you for these two tutorials. They are great.
I use the fusible. My longarmer suggested that if I were to piece my batting, depending on the type of batting, I should be careful to keep the same side up on all the pieces. That is if it is needle-punched and there is a bumpy side and a smoother side, then I should keep all the pieces with the same side up.
I have used the thinnest non-woven fusible interfacing I can find. It is much cheaper to cut your own strips from yardage that purchasing the special tape that is sold for this purpose.
Thanks for a great tutorial. I also zigzag some of mine together, but the best thing that I do with small scraps of leftover batting – Friends save there scraps for me and I zigzag those together that are 2″-5″ wide till I have a large sheet, then I fold to fit in a pillowcase or another case that I have made and then quilt. These are donated to a Second Chance Sanctuary for all the furbabies that are looking for new homes. This year was lean with only 23 made, but usuall make about 75 – 90 every year.
I sew my batting together using a wide spaces zig zag. I found the tape is ok if you Machine quilt but I don’t like it for hand quilting. If you Machine quilt, keep it close because after washing, I felt a difference.
I use all the little batting scraps to stuff dolls and animals that I make.
I cut a strip of scrap fabric about an inch wide and line up the batting edges, touching sides, on top of the fabeic strip and just sew down each side onto the fabric strip, without overlapping the batting. These mended pieces of batting are used for place mats, mug rugs, table runners and other small sewing projects.
I prefer iron on batting tape. I find I don’t stretch my batting pieces to fit when I use the tape. Great tutorials!
I don’t know if your site is set up to keep from printing your pages for future use. My b/f uses the same computer & I sometimes am not able to keep it open each time I want to use it, my sewing is also in my craft room. Did I happen to not do this right or will I have to write everything down by hand, in order to have this info whenever I find I need it? Thank you for your help. I got a lot out of your tutorial & look forward to many more in the future.
Hi, I join my off cut with a zigzag too, but I use my walking foot to even out the tension. A friend told me this method years ago and it has never failed me.
Enjoyed that info..I had wondered
The lady who does my long arm work says that if you piece batting together to be sure that you have the Same side facing up. There is a scrim and it can be difficult to navigate unless the same sides of both pieces being put together are going the same way.
Thank you for this tutorial on putting together batting pieces. I have a whole bag full and will be putting them together for a few baby gifts.
I find it helpful to make marks every foot or so on both edges of cut batting to align a longer measure of joined pieces. That way you know one is not stretching. I mostly use strips of thin fusible interfacing and a mini iron with a small tip to avoid melting batting.
I wonder how Pellon SF 101 would work. I use it all the time on my wool applique foundation pieces. I also use it on tee shirt quilts. I would suggest a pressing cloth too. I think I will try and see how it works.
I always have cutoff pieces of batting saved, for making practice sandwiches for FMQ practice, piecing together for a quilt, or lately I took some narrower edge pieces and made 2.5″ strips to use in making a rug (instead of paying a huge markup to buy a roll of 2.5″ batting). My go-to method of joining is butting edges and sewing with a wide multi-stitch zig zag. Multistitch seems to reduce the likelihood of puckering.
I also use zigzag – the multiple stitch one – I don’t like fusible batting
Tape – melted on me – also we use smaller scraps for cleaning sewing machine and dusting furniture and floors – really grabs stuff
I have been doing this for a long time with quilt fillers. Last summer I made a patch work quilt for my grandson and found I had a lot of left over pieces of fleece cozy pants (pj bottoms/lounge pants) projects. I used them in the same hand sewn mannerto make a much warmer quilt for his bed. Worked like a charm and made use of otherwise unusable pieces. Course the inside was multi colored from multi designs, but they didn’t show through the quilt top nor bottom which was flannel anyway. Just thought I’d pass on that it can be done with other things too.
I’ve known how to PIECE the pieces, but my problem is I have scraps from different brands and TYPES of batting. Is there an easy way to know which pieces go with other pieces? Am I left with starting over with a particular brand/type, and labeling leftovers, and using what I have for small projects? I have 2 trash bags full of scraps. There MUST be a way. I’m trying to go by feel and looks, but I’m not sure that’s really dependable. Thanks for a clear and precise explanation of piecing and your thoughts.
Jacquelynne, may I suggest a charitable use for those small batting remnants? Our Creative Quilters’ Guild (in Dayton OH), works with the local Hospice Center to provide small sachets for the patients.
Take 2–2 1/2 piece of batting and sew cheery or soothing same size scraps of fabric to each side to make little sachet pillows. They don’t need to have finished edges.
Then the Hospice volunteer puts a drop of peppermint oil, or another soothing fragrant oil on the sachet for the patient to keep with them. They help relax the patients, many of whom are physically and/or mentally stressed by their medications or closing stage of life.
I usually take a long leftover of batting,, cover both front and back with a soft leftover piece of fabric, mark a grid, 2–3 inches square with a fabric pencil, then do a decorative stitch around each little square, then cut them out with my rotary cutter. Package them by the hundred in a plastic bag, seal, and turn them over to our Outreach Coordinator.
Having known several people who are in the last stages of cancer, the fragrance usually helps alleviate the nausea from which they suffer.
Thank you. Making quilts for the homeless with scraps I’ve accumulated & asked if batting could be pieced. Your info is much appreciated. Thank you for this site.
I just yesterday tried Heat Press Binding Together and it worked really well. It comes on a roll and is about 2″ wide.
Thanks for the tutorial. I did a small baby quilt and only had pieces of batting to work with at the time. So I laid it out on a large work area, and used washable school glue to run a bead of glue along the edges of the batting pieces. Then I placed the quilt top on top of this and gave it a good ironing to dry the glue, pinned the quilt all over and then quilted it on my machine. It was a lot of work, but it saved me a trip to the fabric store and also used up all my scraps of batting.
I piece my leftovers together all the time. I prefer to use the edge joining stitch. Butt the two pieces together and it stitches on both sides of center. No wasting batting, what is too small or misshapen goes in a pet bed rather than the trash.
I use my leftover batting to make extreme primitive snowmen. I just spray it with coffee & vanilla solution. They sell wonderfully for me every year! But thank you for the other ideas also.