organizing sewing space, quilting, Uncategorized

Save that fabric!

Not all that long ago quilt batting was pretty hard to get a hold of and I was nearly out. Luckily at the same time my trimmed quilt edges of excess fabric and batting was piling up in my sewing room. And I needed to make some quilts. 😉 The obvious thing to do was to take the strips apart and piece the batting after cutting away any overage quilting stitches.

If you take quilts to a longarmer, you know about the extra 4″ of backing needed all around for loading on the machine. I noticed sometimes my longarmer loaded it more to one side leaving some pretty wide strips when completed. Either way, those strips can add up to a lot of fabric!

Here I go again with the waste issue, but I never throw these materials away, I always take the time to separate them out.

My latest fabric/batting stack consisted of four quilts worth—one longarmed queen size and three throws I quilted myself. After removing the fabric, this is what I ended up with…

And after a bit more effort—pressing and cutting strips to the biggest size I could get—this was the end result…

I’m not going to deny this project took me a few hours, but now I have a lot of precut fabric on hand that would’ve been a shame to toss. It was definitely worth the effort and what a great way to use materials on hand.

Out of the batting, I was able to piece enough to make one throw quilt, one crib size quilt and two baby quilts. And, as of today, batting is once again on backorder.

If you’ve got a stack of edges piling up, consider their reuse. Save and cut that fabric, your future self will thank you. 🙂

how to, quilting, Quilting 101, sewing, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Piece Quilt Batting

If you’ve been quilting for a while I bet you’ve accumulated quite a bit of cutaway batting—I have a fair amount myself. For me, I needed to stash down and use what I had plus I’ve found it difficult to purchase any batting because it’s either sold out or on backorder.

Since I had a couple patterns in the works, it was a good time to do some quilt batting piecing so I could finish my projects. First up was a throw quilt that will finish 56″ x 72″.

To get started, I gathered cutaway strips from other quilts I’d made. I had three strips that were long enough and once sewn together, the whole piece would be wide enough. Because the strips were uneven in length, I cut them all to an even and approximate length of what I’d need. I then was ready to get sewing.

Here’s what I did, and if you decide to piece batting too, this is what you’ll need to know. I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you as you go along.

Before you start sewing:

  1. Set up good lighting.
  2. Match the thread to the batting as close as possible.
  3. Cut fresh, straight edges using a ruler and rotary cutter OR if the factory cut edges are straight, they are fine to use.
  4. Make sure the same sides of the batting are up.
  5. To insure seams stay secure, use a zigzag stitch. I sew on a Janome Skyline S7 and this is the setting I used. Whatever you can set close to this should work fine.
  6. Choose the proper foot for your machine.
  7. Try a sample first to ensure your stitch length is set appropriately.

Once you get started:

  1. Sew slowly making sure both sides of the batting pieces are caught by the zigzag stitch. Going fast will make batting bunch.
  2. Use quilting gloves for a better grip (batting can be slippery).
Finished pieced quilt batting

Once finished and before use:

  1. If necessary, you can press the seams to help them lie flat, but make sure the entire area of batting where you intend to iron is covered by fabric or you’ll get residue on your iron that’s difficult to remove, trust me. 😉
  2. I spritzed water over my stitching to help relax the seams which worked really well. If you do use water, check that everything is dry before sandwiching and quilting.

Here’s a photo of an area beneath the quilt top where there’s a pieced batting seam…you’d never know!