We’re Going Batty For Batting!

We’re Going Batty For Batting!

My new Vigorelli Sewing Machine
My new Vigorelli Sewing Machine

This post is about quilt batting but I just had to share my new pride and joy. I found this antique sewing machine at a local thrift store for $19.99 with a cabinet. I don’t really need a new machine but it was too beautiful to leave behind. Evidently these machines were made during 1950’s in Italy. The more well known Italian machine is Necchi and Mr Vigorelli worked for him and then left to produce his own sewing machine. I just love the color and the cabinet is in great shape.

Now on to batting…..
Batting  is the fluff between the quilt top and the backing. You can buy it two ways;  pre-cut bags or on big rolls in fabric stores. The pre-cut packaging has the quilt size on the cover; twin, double, queen, king. **When you are picking out the batting size be sure and include 6″ on each side of the quilt top.** Your choice of batting depends on several factors; use of the project, the weight you want for the project and the method of quilting you plan to use.

Polyester Batting
Polyester Batting

When I am making a baby quilt or a quilt  that is probably going to get washed a lot, I use polyester batting. It is durable and lightweight. It comes in different loft so you can make the quilt extra puffy if you like. Thinner if that appeals to you.  The lower quality polyester has a rough feel so try and touch it  before you buy it. It is not recommended for hand quilting.

Cotton Batting
Cotton Batting

Cotton is my next go to for batting. It comes in all kinds of specialty types. You can find organic, unbleached, even a poly/cotton blend.  I like the feel of it when I’m sewing and I like the way it makes the finished quilt lay when it is done.  This brand comes in 4 different lofts: Request, Select, Deluxe and Supreme. This is good for handquilting.

Wool Batting
Wool Batting

I myself have never used wool batting but I understand it is beautiful to work with especially for hand quilting. It is also warm and breathable. One website I read said that it shows off quilt stitches really well and resists creases so it is very popular with people who show their quilts professionally.

Black batting is a nice idea if you have a quilt project this is mainly black fabric. That way you are putting a black color behind the black fabric.

It’s also a good idea to keep the extra bits of batting that might be left over from your project. You might want to make potholders or a table runner or another type of small project in the future.  Another tip is that often times, if you are getting your quilt top professionally quilted, the quilter will have their own batting and you can include it in the price of the quilting.  Be sure to ask.

And that brings us to our next topic, quilting.

*Photos of the batting types were taken at my local quilt shop, The Quilted Angel.  Thanks for letting me take photos in the store.

Quilt Sandwich?? Can You Eat It?

Quilt Sandwich?? Can You Eat It?

backgroundfabric

Once the quilt top is finished , the backing fabric has to be chosen. Since this project is going to be a baby quilt I want it to be nice and cozy so I wanted it to be flannel.  I had this fun underwater fabric in my stash so I used it on the back.  The backing fabric needs to be bigger than the quilt top.  On a bed sized quilt, the usual advice is add 6″ to each side.  Since this is much smaller and I’m quilting it on my home machine, I only added an additional 3″ on each side.

batting
Batting is the next consideration.  Once again, the idea is to consider the use.  I chose a polyester batting because a baby quilt is usually going to be washed repeatedly and needs to be able to stand up to a lot of use.  Polyester gives the finished quilt a bit of poof or loft which I like in a baby quilt too. Batting can either be purchased in a package as I did or on a roll in a fabric store.

sprayadhesive
Now you have a quilt  sandwich. Basting it all together can be a problem.  Some people pin it with safety pins.  Other people baste it with needle and thread or on their sewing machine. For this small project, I used a spray adhesive.  The trick is to lay out the batting, spray it and then roll out the backing fabric over it.  You can smooth out the wrinkles as you go.  After that, you flip it over, spray the other side of the batting and roll the quilt top over it.  Be sure to spray the batting and not the fabric. After the quilting, I will wash the quilt to get the adhesive out of the quilt.

walkingfoot
Once the quilt sandwich is assembled it is time to quilt it on the machine. The best way to do this is to use a walking foot as shown in the photo.  I know it looks strange but the bottom of the foot has a tread on it and this reduces drag on your project as you sew it.  If you don’t have one of these (and they don’t always come standard with a sewing machine) you can use a regular foot but watch out for the fabric bunching up under the foot.

You also want to set your stitch length to a bigger stitch.  I set my machine to 3.5 or 4 length.  For this quilt, I just stitched in the ditch or along the seam lines. It makes the blocks ‘pop’ out and secures the quilt top and batting and backing together. ** The standard rule is to quilt no more than a handswidth apart.** This prevents the batting from separating and bunching up after repeated washings.

quiltwBinding

 

So here is the finished project.  This photo shows the binding on but not sewn down to the back.  I will do a future post on binding quilts.

Next week, however, will be a video that I filmed about how to put a more complicated quilt block together.