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!

47 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I use fusible tape it is easy to do and fast and I’ve never had a problem with it

    Karen on August 26, 2019
  • I use that same method. My small scraps I use in padded embroidery. Sometimes your quilt is just too long and you have to piece.

    —Kay of Cincinnati on August 26, 2019
  • I do it the same way😊

    —Judy Thompson on August 26, 2019
  • I use the batting fusible tape! So easy!

    —Judy Magnus on August 26, 2019
  • I also overlap two pieces of batting, cutting a curvy line and zigzag the two pieces together. Since I make a lot of donation baby quilts, this method works well. I also use this for miniature quilts I make.

    —Ann West on August 26, 2019
  • You bet I piece my batting. Use it up!

    —Wendy Hansen on August 26, 2019
  • I never like stitching batting together since I could feel and see it. I prefer cutting 1.5″ of lightweight fusible, over cut the edges so they will butt up perfectly then iron on fusible on both side. Can’t see or feel it.

    —Joey on August 26, 2019
  • Hi, there, I have used the overlap, butt and zig zag method for mine.

    What to do with those left-over tiny slices, though? Other than filling toys and pincushions, I cut the pieces into 1/2 – 2″ squares and use them for taking off makeup and nail polish, or dabbing alcohol on a cut.

    What a great tip, Gail, thanks for sharing it! –Jenny

    —Gail Mackay on August 26, 2019
  • I use my blind hammer foot to loosely zig zag seam any reasonable sized leftover trimmings of batting to truly crazy quilt patch batting. Those that have “too many” seams will end up in small scrap quilts which already have lots of seams and I don’t think the batting seams will be noticed.

    —TJLeung on August 26, 2019
  • I cut strips of fusible interfacing, the lightest I can find, and make my own fusible tape. I don’t want to take chances of the batting separating so i fuse both front ant back sides of the join.

    —chris smith on August 26, 2019
  • I’ve used a zigzag stitch only once and used the fusible tape many times. Works great!

    —Winks Krislen Horlings on August 26, 2019
  • I buy a bolt of lightweight fusible, cut it into 2 1/2″ strips and fuse the batting pieces. Used to buy the tape roll, that quickly became way too expensive. Whip stitching takes too much time. I quilt for clients and for three charity groups. The small charity quilts get a lot of fused batting. Never had a problem.

    —Sue Esparza on August 26, 2019
  • I sometimes zig zag the seam and also make my own fusible tape from light weight fusible interfacing. Also have been using narrow strips for jelly roll rugs.

    —Peggy on August 26, 2019
  • I use the overlapping method if the piece of leftover is large enough to warrant use in another quilt (maybe a baby quilt). If the pieces are a foot wide or so, I cut them into 2″ wide strips to be used in making my jelly roll rugs!!

    —Kathy Kranenburg on August 26, 2019
  • fusible batting tape

    —Linda Lee Ahn on August 26, 2019
  • I like the fusible tape best.

    —Cyndy on August 26, 2019
  • I zig zag the straight edges together and a walking helps to keep things even and also lower the tension.

    Sharon Schmidt on August 26, 2019
  • Most of my batting joining is done with charity baby quilts and I use iron on batting tape. Have not had any trouble with bulk or actual machine quilting on them. Most of my full size quilts are full battings.

    —Kathy O. on August 26, 2019
  • I use the fusible tape.

    —Linda Pickenpaugh on August 26, 2019
  • Make sure edges are straight, then but edges and sew with a large zig-zag.

    —Jan T on August 26, 2019
  • I use the batting tape, especially for donation quilts, but it certainly does get expensive. Thanks for all the suggestions!

    —Carol on August 26, 2019
  • I use fusible batting tape and I have never had a problem

    —Sharon Lowy on August 26, 2019
  • I used a multi-step zig zag stitch

    —Nancy Climie on August 26, 2019
  • Used to zig zag wavy pieces together, but now I also make use of the fusible batting tape. It mostly depends on the size and number of batting pieces I am trying to join.

    —SandyMay on August 26, 2019
  • I save all pieces even those really narrow pieces. When I get started with a strip quilt top, those pieces will fill in those wider strips and help to make some strips a little puffier.

    —Althea Klosterman on August 26, 2019
  • I use Regina’s method!

    —Tammy L. Ahrens on August 27, 2019
  • I make enough quilts that I can use up small pieces of batting in baby quilts etc.

    —Stephanie Woodward on August 27, 2019
  • I use the tape or strips of light weight fusible interfacing or hand stitching the pieces together.

    —Barbara Hosford on August 27, 2019
  • I piece my batting with fusible batting tape – it works on all types of batting and is so easy to quilt through. The smallest pieces of batting I use for my tension sandwiches – making sure my threads work well with each project. Test, test, test. And if I get really goofy – dusting the floor with scrap batting is so much cheaper than buying all those dusting products.

    Another great tip, Joy, thanks for sharing it! –Jenny

    —Joy B on August 27, 2019
  • Haven’t pieced batting together I still just save pieces maybe someday I put all of those pieces together.

    —Linda A Foust on August 27, 2019
  • I lay out the 2 pieces of batting overlapped and do the curvy cut. I buy about 2 yards of fusible tricot interfacing and cut it into 2″ wide strips to use as the batting tape. Works great for me!

    —Lynn Franklin on August 27, 2019
  • I use the same method as Regina. It lays flat and you can’t feel the seam line.

    —Joyce Carter on August 27, 2019
  • Sue’s photos of her work are so motivating and inspiring. I would have to add her pics, notes, tips and everything else from her.

    —Connie German on August 28, 2019
  • Absolutely, a "Frankenstein" batting is a good way to use up all those batting scraps too big to be pillow stuffing! Those leftover pieces come in handy when you don’t have a package of batting on hand for a "ready to be layered" project or those times when your finished quilt is just a bit bigger than the standard sizes of batting available and you don’t want to have to go to the next size up. I’ve used all the techniques your staff cited at one time or another and have found they all work equally well. Just depends on the supplies you have on hand and the time and effort you are willing to put into the process.

    Vivian B. on August 29, 2019
  • I have used and tried the staff techniques, but usually used for pillow stuffing and animal bed / crate pads that I usually donate to local animal shelter

    —Elizabeth Lizotte on August 30, 2019
  • I use the "old school" method, I abut the edges and stitch a loose zigzag. The left over scraps are perfect for clearing off trimmings on the cutting mat and tidying up.

    —Cheri Bergeron on August 30, 2019
  • I keep the smaller pieces and zigzag them together. Use them for pot holders or microwave bowl holders. Since there are 2 layers of batting I just make sure none of the seam line up so no one notices.

    —Christine L Schultz on August 30, 2019
  • I trim and stitch with a zigzag stitch. I also have a stitch on my machine made for piecing batting.

    —Maclary on August 30, 2019
  • I use my felting machine to felt two pieces together…. overlap one piece of batting about a half inch over the other and felt together. It doesn’t show where I felt it and I can use many pieces to make one larger batting.
    ( My husband idea! )

    —Sue Utech on August 30, 2019
  • I make my own fusible basting tape by cutting 2.5 inch strips from lightweight fusible interfacing. Much cheaper than buying the basting tape. Have been doing it for years. When I first started I would put the tape on both sides of the batting but now I just fuse it to the top side. Haven’t had any problems loading the fused batting line either vertically or horizontally.

    —Wendy on August 30, 2019
  • I use Regina’s method.

    —Andrew Kosmowski on August 30, 2019
  • I have tried many different ways. The batting makes a difference to the method. Batting does have cross grain, so make sure it all going the same. Otherwise you will see problems, even with a curve. Poly /cotton should not be mix with all cotton. one brand to the next. But who cares if we mix it all to give to charity? You may spent more time piecing it together to save a few dollars and quilt a mess of problems. I should know I have been given batting for charity that has been one big headache.

    —Linda Christianson on August 30, 2019
  • I combine my scraps into a bag and donate them to charity. 🙂 🙂

    —Donna F on August 30, 2019
  • I use lightweight fusible interfacing have for years I cut about an 1 1/2 and iron it to the batting..long time practice thanks

    —bobbie rumler on August 31, 2019
  • I butt the batting edges together with no overlap and then layer it between the top and the backing. I pin well and then quilt.

    —Linda Towers on August 31, 2019
  • I cut it much the same way, but a friend added before you move it draw some lines across the cut with an air marker so you have registration lines to match up. That way you are more likely to end up with a flat seam.

    —Deanna Plotts on September 2, 2019
  • I don’t have enough experience to have done this yet!

    —bookboxer on September 2, 2019

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