Thursday, March 30, 2017

Batting Cage

What do you do with your batting scraps? I know a lot of people toss them, and if they are really skinny I  do too. I have heard of people using them for Swiffer cloths, or only piecing them for small projects but not large ones. 

My batting scraps? Well first of all, I store all the scraps in a pop up hamper, thus caging it. You can stuff a LOT of batting scraps in a pop up hamper, trust me on this! When it's full, it's time to deal with the mess. I divide the batting by type, cotton, polyester, or wool. 

Once it's divided, I cut each length into even strips. My personal limit is 2" wide strips for cotton batting, and 3" wide strips for polyester or wool batting. If it's any smaller than that, it should have been tossed in the trash instead of the batting hamper. I do cut the strips as wide as I can get from the scrap, but since most have been cut with scissors when I trimmed a quilt, it's usually uneven. 

Here are my polyester batting scraps cut into strips. At this point, any uneven bits get tossed. I'm not into making dog beds or stuffed animals, so out it goes. 

This week, I started with my cotton batting scraps, and I ended up with two throw sized battings. I love Warm and Natural batting precisely because it's so easy to piece the scraps together. I feel like I get to use every bit of it. 

I haven't started piecing my polyester batting scraps yet, I just got them all trimmed today. The narrower pieces I will piece into batting for some placemats I'm making, and the larger pieces will get pieced into larger battings. 

I've seen lots of different ways to piece batting together. There are fusibles you can use, but I'm cheap and don't want to spend money on fusibles to piece batting. I've seen people cut wavy lines so you can't find the edges in the finished project. Let me tell you a little secret. I've pieced dozens of battings, all with straight edges, and I have never, ever been able to feel the stitching in the finished project! I wouldn't use a pieced batting for a tied project, but if it will be quilted, nothing should shift, and the zig zag I piece it with should have no strain on it after quilting. 

I've tried overlapping edges, which I know some people like, but I don't prefer that, I prefer just butting the edges together, and using a zig zag stitch to sew the strips together. I use cheap thread to do this, no need to be wasting high quality thread on this project. 

This is my presser foot of choice for joining batting scraps. It's the Bernina #5 foot, but if you don't have a Bernina, just check to see if you can get a Blind Hem Foot, since that's what this is. I'm not doing a blind hem, but if you notice that "blade" of sorts running down the center of the foot, that's what I butt the batting up to, one piece on each side, and then it zig zags over each side equally. 

With the presser foot flipped around, you can see the "blade" goes back a little bit, and the stitches are actually formed over that section. This is perfect for joining batting because you'll likely want to use a wide zigzag, and because the stitches are formed over that bar, they are a little looser and you'll get no puckers or pulling!

Tomorrow I'll be starting to piece all these polyester batting scraps. I'm going to have the tackle the wool scraps at another time, because I need to get these placemats done, but I'll have time to deal with all the polyester scraps first. It doesn't really take that long to piece up some battings from scraps, and how cool is it to end up with what feels like free batting???

Here is Mr LJ, snuggling with a bear my mom made for him. He had been fussing, and DD#2 said he calmed right down when she gave him the bear. He must have known it was made with love by his great-grandmother! 


Panto Pam said...

I also piece my batting scraps together with a wide zig zag. I'll have to try the blind hemmer foot. Thanks for the tip!

Quilter Kathy said...

That is a perfect foot to piece the batting chunks together!
I do like to use up all the pieces and feel virtuous about making a free batting :)
I have used the fusible tape, but it's expensive and sewing pieces together works just as well.