Happy New Year! If one of your resolutions is to thriftily use your quilting supplies to best advantage this year, you will appreciate the following tip.
This blog post is about batting – the fluffy stuff that goes inside my quilts. My favorite batting is manufactured by Hobbs. It is bonded (meaning it will not clump up inside the quilt when laundered) and is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. The splicing tip explained below works well for predominantly cotton battings.
Since I’ve yet to make a quilt that measures the exact size of packaged batting, I have a laundry basket full of batting scraps. Some of the scraps I use for potholders and placemats, bags and totes and other small projects. But I like to splice the large pieces together for lap and baby quilts.
I realize there are fusing products on the market for pressing and adhering pieces of batting together. This is an alternative method.
First I lay out the quilt top on the floor. I look through my laundry basket and select the pieces that are the width of the quilt plus 8.” I proceed to cover the quilt top with strips of batting, trimming to obtain the correct width if necessary. Before sewing the batting pieces together, I rotary cut the long, horizontal edges straight.
Laying straight edges of batting strips together, I use a water soluble (blue) or humidity soluble (purple) marker to mark both pieces of batting every 3 or 4 inches. These are similar to registration markings on quilt pieces or sewing patterns.
I set my Pfaff sewing machine for a zigzag stitch: stitch length on 3, stitch width on 7. Experiment with your machine to achieve a wide, loose zigzag. In other words, it is not necessary to satin stitch the batting pieces together; a zigzag will do.
When I zigzag the long batting strips together, I make sure the wider piece is on my left and the narrower piece is on my right because is easier to fit the narrow piece under the arm of the sewing machine. As I sew, my left hand is on the left piece of batting, and my right hand is on the right piece of batting. I manipulate the stretchy batting so that the registration marks align.
After zigzagging all the strips together, lay the piece of batting on the floor. If it does not lie flat to your satisfaction, simply cut apart the zigzags and re-sew. Take care not to stretch the batting as you sew. Also check to see that the batting is 8″ longer than the quilt top. If it isn’t, add another strip of batting!
Once the splicing is complete, I spray the blue registration marks with water to make them disappear. This step is necessary especially for quilt tops that contain white or very light fabrics because the blue marks may show through on very light fabrics.
Do you have some tips for using batting scraps or for joining batting?