Let’s make some Frankenbatting!
I’ve been doing this for years, but only recently heard it called “Frankenbatting”. Which totally made me laugh. But the name makes sense, given all the stitching together of scrap parts!
Why bother with sewing batting scraps together? Because batting isn’t cheap for one. Why waste it? But also, this is a perfect way to keep textiles out of our landfills as well. This is a quick and easy process so I’d call it a win-win!
Use the same type of batting scraps
If you’re like me, you have a pile of scrap batting looking something like the photo above! It’s amazing how quickly the pile expands. I most often use 100% cotton batting, so it’s easy to grab any two pieces and start sewing them together. But if you use a variety of batting types, such as a poly/cotton blend or wool, then store and label them all separately. It’s best to use the same kind of batting scraps in your Frankenbatting. Since they all have different shrink rates, different requirements for how densely they must be quilted, and even drape differently, stick to the same fiber content for best results.
Let’s get started:
First, trim the sides of the scrap to get a clean straight edge.
Second, butt two pieces of batting together without overlapping. This is important to keep the Frankenbatting smooth and lump-free. Try to have the pieces facing the same way. By this I mean both pieces right side up.
A short digression: right vs wrong side of batting
The right side of batting has little needle holes visible from the manufacturing process – you want your needle to go into the batting from the same side as the manufacturer’s needles went in. The right side faces up towards the quilt top. The wrong side sometimes has little balls of batting that were pushed out by the needles during manufacturing. The wrong side goes down against the backing fabric. What you want to avoid is having the batting wrong side up, and your needle to go into one of those little balls and pulling it up onto your quilt top! This is called “bearding.” But, having said all that, honestly, if you can’t easily tell which side is which, don’t worry about it. That means your needle probably can’t tell either!
Back to Sewing!
Third, set your sewing machine to a wide zigzag stitch. I usually use 5.0 mm wide and 2.0 mm long. Begin sewing on one end, keeping the two edges centered under the needle, and just touching, not on top of each other. The zigzag needs to go back and forth across the two edges, without puckering. Sew to the end. I used black thread in these photos so the stitching would be easy to see, but in real life, use a light thread color so that it won’t show through the quilt top!
Last, trim the excess so that the Frankenbatting is even.
Grab another scrap piece and trim a straight edge. Add that third piece to the growing Frankenbatting, again butting the new piece with the other two, but not overlapping. Keep going in this fashion until you have a big enough Frankenbatting for your project. It doesn’t matter which direction your seam lines are going, they can look like a jig saw puzzle and it still works just fine! The main thing is to keep the two pieces from overlapping at all, otherwise you may get a big ol’ bump. If necessary, press the seam lines.
And tada! You’re done!
I’ve done this for both small and large quilt projects with no problems. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it! I don’t usually do this for queen size quilts, but only because it would be pretty cumbersome to sew it all together, not because I think it wouldn’t work well for a quilt that size.
Give it a try! Let me know what you think.