Who else has a container full of quilt batting scraps tucked away in your sewing room but you have no idea how to use them?
When working on quilt projects, we often trim off pieces of batting.
I don’t think there’s a quilter that can escape this given that the best advice is to always cut your batting larger than your quilt top to avoid coming up short at the end of your quilting.
However, the good thing is you don’t have to toss the leftover pieces of batting.
If you’re wondering how to join leftover quilt batting – sometimes affectionately known as “frankenbatting” – then I’ve got you covered with this very quick and easy to follow tutorial.
P.S. if you are in the UK and you aren’t sure quilt batting is the same thing as quilt wadding!
Type of Batting to Use
In my video tutorial below, I use 100% cotton batting, but the same technique will work for any type of batting. However, you won’t want to mix different types of batting as the shrinkage rates will be different.
So whether you’re using natural fibers like wool batting or polyester fibers like high-loft polyester batting, just make sure all your batting scraps are the same material and the thickness of the batting is the same.
Why Join Leftover Quilt Batting
There are many good reasons why you should join small scraps of batting into bigger pieces.
- Save money. Batting is expensive so make sure you use all of it.
- Reduce clutter. Creating something is such a good way to clean up your sewing room.
- Reduce waste. The less that goes in trash cans, the less that lands in the landfill, the better. Even those small strips of batting.
There are also different ways to combine batting such as heat press batting or by using fusible batting tape, but sewing them together is my favorite way.
How to Join Leftover Quilt Batting
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial and a fairly quick method of combining leftover batting that is practically “seamless.”
Materials Needed to Join Leftover Quilt Batting
- Batting scraps
- Sewing machine and presser foot
- Long Quilting ruler
- Rotary cutter
- Cutting mat
Below is a video tutorial but if you prefer to read and look at photos just scroll past the video for the written instructions!
Video Tutorial: How to Join Pieces of Batting
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Step 1: Pull out your leftover batting pieces
First things first, figure out which pieces you need to join together to be large enough for your quilt top.
As mentioned above smaller pieces may want to be saved for small projects, but those larger pieces of are just waiting for you to join them together and put them to good use. And this doesn’t have to be just for your next quilt; there’s a lot of different ways to use batting.
What size of batting pieces should you use?
I mentioned above a number of projects you can sew to use up smaller pieces of leftover batting.
Here is my general rule of thumb for what size of batting to use to join and be used in a quilt versus batting to be used in other projects:
When you look at the piece of batting would you need to cut it down significantly to make a smaller project like a table runner, placemat or panel for a bag?
If the answer is yes then it is probably big enough to join to another piece or pieces to make it large enough to be used on a quilt.
However, I don’t like to join too many pieces of batting per quilt unless I am using it for a quilt as you go project (similar but very different!).
Ideally, I keep it to no more than 4 or 5 joins per quilt – less if possible!
I end up with lots of large pieces of leftover batting as I often buy my batting before I know what quilt I will make so I buy it big so I’m not caught out. So I have lots of long and square shapes that are left when I have for example cut out the batting for a throw sized quilt from queen sized batting!
Here are some other suggestions for the pieces of batting that don’t make into your frankenbatting project!
Somewhat larger projects to use your pieces of leftover batting for:
- Table runner
- Wall hangings
- Baby Quilt or other small quilts (you might be able to join a couple of smaller pieces for this)
- Dog beds
Some small crafts to use the small pieces of batting:
- Mini quilts
- Mug rugs
- Microwave cozies
- Hot pads
- Pot holders
- Table toppers
- Quilt sandwich (practice your quilting and use tiny batting scraps to make small sandwiches)
Step 2: Place your batting so it overlaps
To start – spread out two pieces of quilt batting on your cutting mat and slightly overlap the batting edges – roughly overlap ½ inch to 1 inch.
Step 3: Get straight edges to join by cutting both pieces at once
Using your quilting ruler and rotary cutter (or other cutting tool), place the ruler on the edges of the batting (middle of the overlap).
Next, cut along a straight line through both layers of batting so they will line up nicely and give you a nice straight edge that butts up against each other when you go to sew it together at the machine.
You’ll be left with tiny skinny strips of batting which you can save for even smaller projects if you wish. These pieces are also great for stuffing (pillows, toys, etc).
Step 4: Time to Sew
Set your sewing machine to a wide zig-zag stitch (I used a stitch length of 2).
Take your two pieces of batting and hold them against each other as you sew – this is where those straight edges come in handy!
Guide the strips through your machine slowly with the edges of batting butted up against each other.
Take your time so you don’t end up with little gaps where the zig-zag stitch didn’t catch – your finished quilt project will thank you!
You can go back over any little gaps you find later but I find it is easier to go slowly and pause to pinch the two sides together every 10 inches or sew to make sure little gaps don’t appear!
So below is a bad photo of my finished batting. I joined to long and large strips and two square pieces to make this large batting that I used for a throw quilt that was 50″ x 60″.
Ironically I still had a large chunk of batting leftover after this project but the two strips on their own weren’t quite big enough so I had no choice but to go bigger!
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Use thread that is similar in color to your batting.
- Don’t limit yourself or creativity. There are so many different types of projects you can make with leftover batting scraps. I pieced these big pieces to make a bigger quilt but you could also piece small pieces to make something less large!
I hope this tutorial was useful for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Here are some other posts you might enjoy too!
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Easy Print Instructions
- Large Batting Scraps
- Sewing Machine
- Rotary Cutter
- Quilting Ruler
- Lay two pieces of quilt batting side by side and overlap the edges slightly.
- Cut through both layers so that the two pieces share a straight edge that fits together.
- Take your two pieces to the sewing machine and use a wide zig zag stitch to join the two pieces together. Go slow and pinch the sides together as you go to stop gaps from forming.
- Repeat for as many pieces as needed to make a piece of quilt batting big enough for your next quilt project!