How to Use Scrap Batting and Prepare Quilt Tops for Quilting

I hope you enjoyed reading about my January Scrap Challenge quilts. Now it’s time to prepare for quilting! I have three steps to follow to get your quilt top ready for quilting: backing, washing, and batting.

How to Use Scrap Fabric for Quilt Backs

After getting three queen size quilts out of my shoe boxes, I still had quilt pieces left over! (I think my fabric stash multiplies at night while I sleep quilt.😉) I decided not to make a fourth quilt, but instead sewed the leftovers together. I used the scrap pieces for the backing. Here’s how they look:

How to Prepare Quilt Tops for Quilting

Next, I decided to wash both the quilt tops and backs. When you’re making scrappy quilts, it’s a good idea to rinse the quilt tops before quilting—especially if the fabrics are older and have been sitting around for several years.

The “rule of thumb thimble” is that if you wash any of the fabrics for a quilt, you wash them all. So I washed both my quilt tops and quilt backs (either plain fabric or scrappy quilt backs). Here’s a quick way to wash your quilt tops and quilt backs before quilting:

  1. Rinse: You can hand wash or use a washing machine on gentle wash using cold water. Do not use any soap. I usually do not use any dye catcher as sometimes I do when washing a quilt.
  2. Dry: Put the quilt in the dryer for a little while, but don’t let it dry completely. Iron the quilt top to finish drying and make the top nice and smooth for quilting.

How to Use Scrap Batting for Quilts

So now our scrappy quilt tops and quilt backs are ready for quilting. We need just one more ingredient for our “quilt sandwich”—the quilt batting. Since these quilts were part of our Scrap Challenge, did you know that you can use scrap batting for quilts, too? Yes! You can use scrap batting for quilts, if you follow a few easy steps. Here is the process I use to prepare scrap batting for quilts.

Throughout the year, save your scrap quilt batting in a large tub or bag. (Beware of using garbage bags, since your helpful and efficient family members may decide to “accidentally” throw them away.)

Here are two different methods to join quilt batting scraps:

Sewing machine: Cut two straight edges and butt them up against each other and join with a zig zag stitch. I usually set my machine at stitch width 3.5 and length 3.5.


Fusible interfacing: Sometimes your sewing machine does not want to feed your fabric one to one, so if that happens to you, here is a helpful trick. Use knit fusible interfacing! Butt the two edges together and then iron the fusible interfacing to join the two pieces.


Size: Keep joining batting until the whole piece measures 3 inches larger on each side than your quilt top. For a queen size quilt (which measures 90 x 100), combine enough batting to measure 96 x 106.

Now that we have prepared the quilt top, quilt back, and batting, it’s time for my favorite part: quilting! Next week I will share my favorite quilting tips and reveal the finished scrappy quilts.

In the meantime, stay warm, keep sewing, and keep in touch! I love seeing the projects you are all making this winter.


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