Best way to piece quilt batting: 5 quick-and-easy ideas from us!

Raise your hand if you keep the bits of batting left over from your finished (or almost-finished) quilt projects.

Hey, that’s a lot of hands! ✋🏿✋🏼✋🏽✋🏻✋🏾

You’d see the same ratio of hands raised here in the Martingale office. Like scrap-saving quilters of the past, many of us subscribe to this familiar adage:

After all, it’s in quilters’ blood to save all the bits and pieces!

But how can you use leftover batting to make a quilt—particularly if that batting is smaller than your new quilt? You make a patchwork batting, of course!

We asked Martingale staffers about the best way to piece quilt batting, and here’s what they shared.

Jennifer, publisher and chief visionary officer, says, “(1) Layer two pieces of batting with the edges you want to join overlapped. (2) Cut a gently curving, wavy line across the overlap, cutting through both layers of batting. (3) Remove the excess at each end and abut the cut edges. You may wish to join the cut edges with a wide zigzag stitch—or just abut and baste your quilt sandwich. Cutting a wavy edge avoids producing a hard line where the batting pieces abut, which would be more likely to create a crease or fold line in your quilt over time.”

Karen, content director, says, “I often piece batting because invariably you have leftover pieces from the side(s) of a quilt, especially when you purchase packaged batting that doesn’t necessarily match the quilt size you’re making. I especially use up leftover pieces of batting when making small quilts, because joining smaller pieces is very manageable. The quick method I use is great for small quilts that you can store flat, or for utility quilts, where straight-edge abutting (vs. wavy-edge abutting) of the batting pieces is less of a concern. Here’s what I was taught to do many years ago:

    1. Because batting edges are rarely cut straight, lay the 2 pieces you want to join on your cutting mat so that their edges overlap completely. It can be by just a little bit, but they should overlap the entire length.
    1. Use your rotary cutter to cut along the overlap. It doesn’t matter if the newly cut edge wobbles. (See Jennifer’s wavy line!)
    1. Remove the skinny piece cut off of each larger batting piece and butt the freshly cut edges together. They now fit perfectly with no overlapping.
    1. By hand, whipstitch the edges together. These can be large stitches, a couple of inches apart. When you reach the end, whipstitch back up the seam, creating big Xs of stitches.
    1. Carefully pick up the joined batting and place it on your backing fabric, smoothing it out as you go. Make sure the join is smooth and flat with no overlap lumps!

You can machine stitch the batting pieces together, but for me, it’s harder to keep the freshly cut edges even. Plus, the machine stitching makes more of an indentation in the batting, which may be noticeable in the finished quilt.”

Virginia in purchasing/accounting says, “I’m old school when it comes to piecing batting. I line two pieces of batting up end to end and use a hand-sewn hem stitch to reduce seam bulk, which creates a smoother seam.”

Cornelia, senior customer-service representative, says: “I’m a big fan of fusible-batting tape. There are quite a few brands out there nowadays. Just layer two pieces of batting and rotary-cut through both layers to create a straight edge (this way your cuts match up). Place the cut edges side by side; then lay the fusible-batting tape on top of the seam and hit it with your iron!”

Regina, marketing graphic designer, says, “I butt the two pieces of batting with long edges together and stitch the seam with a large zigzag stitch and light-colored thread.”

How’s that for a wealth of pieced-batting tips, from right here in our office? Raise your hand again if you found our tips helpful!

Your turn: do you piece your batting, and if so, how do you do it? Share your approach in the comments!

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