Do You Need Batting in a Quilt? (Quilt Without Batting Guide)

Sewing is flexible. While certain techniques and fabric parts are always needed, not everyone is mandatory. Even when doing the same project. One sewer can add those optional aspects while another will replace them with some different material or leave those aspects out.

Do you need batting in a quilt? This will depend on the purpose of the quilt. If it is going to be a winter blanket then by all means you need to use batting. If it is for warmer weather then no you don’t. You may know batting as wading as both words describe the middle layer in a quilt.

To learn more about quilting and the use of batting, just continue to read our article. It provides the information you need in order to make a good quilting decision. Spend a few minutes over a cup of coffee and enjoy the article’s content.

Can You Make a Quilt Without Batting?


Yes, you can but it is not a good idea to leave the middle layer out of your project. When the quilt is being made for warmer you can either use less batting or find a thin summer like fabric to place in between the top and bottom layers.

Even summer nights can get cold so having a little wadding in your quilt is always a smart idea. The key is to make sure you do not put too little or too much in. Make sure you know the purpose of the quilt so you can add the right amount for the middle layer.

Also, if you do use batting, this material comes in different weights, so you can make a summer or winter quilt with ease. It takes a little time to master the art of filling a quilt interior. As it is a subjective task that is easy to put too little or too much inside.

This will be a trial and error part of the task as even the region of the country you live in will influence how thick your quilt middle will be.

Do You Need Batting In a Quilt?

If you are strictly talking about the material called batting or wadding, then the answer will be no. There are a lot of good fabrics you can use to create that perfect middle layer without using batting.

But, if you are talking generically about the middle layer, then the answer would be yes. You will need some type of middle layer to help create the great warmth well-made quilts are known to have.

Whether it is a summertime quilt or a cooler weather version, you will need some warming material to cover you when those temperature levels drop at night. Then some people get cold just by turning on a fan or the air conditioner so you will need that middle layer to warm them up.

The only exception may be is if you are using very thick materials as the outside layers. Then those materials may not need any help in keeping you or your family warm.

Play this by ear and look at the fabrics you want to use, the purpose of the quilt, and the weather patterns for the part of the country you reside in. Those are all influential factors.

A flannel Quilt Without Batting


This material is known for being warm, soft, and very cuddly. You may be tempted to not add batting when you are using this material for your exterior quilt layers. That is not wrong as the region you live in may dictate a thinner quilt than a thicker one.

Then, the quality of the flannel will influence your decision. Lesser quality versions may require batting just to help it last a long time. Also, the lower quality options will have lower thread counts so those quilts made from that material will not be as soft, warm, or as cuddly as the ones made from higher quality flannel fabric.

In addition to all of that, flannel is a thick fabric which may mean that to get that warmth and softness you want, you may not need to add any batting. As we said, the middle layer is very subjective and it will be up to you and how you want your quilt to be that will determine if you use batting or not.

Remember batting is optional even when you use a flannel. On that note, we can suggest that the middle layer could be another piece of flannel fabric if you want.

Can You Make a Rag Quilt Without Batting?

This will depend and we know you are tired of hearing that answer but remember how we started this article. Sewing is flexible which is why it is such a great hobby for many women. They get to use their sewing knowledge and experience in many legitimate, creative ways without breaking any sewing rules.

This applies to rag quilts as well. The determining factor in your decision to use batting or not will depend on the type of fabric you are using for your exterior layers. You can use quilt batting in your rage quilt but as one sewer said, you have to make your squares smaller.

This is done so that the batting does not show up in the seam allowances. Then if you are using a warm, thick fabric for those exterior layers, you may not need a middle layer at all. Flannel would be one such fabric and certain cotton materials would be another.

Adding batting to your quilt, including this version, is totally up to your preference. If you are a novice you should get some advice from experienced sewers to help you through the difficulties that come with making any quilt.

One difficulty is that the flannel will shrink on you and fray. Getting the right advice will spare you a lot of headaches. Then if you want to make a rag quilt without batting feel free to do so.

How to Quilt Without Batting


Not to be condescending but quilting without batting is no different than quilting with batting. The lone exception would be that you are using very thick fabrics and omitting the middle layer.

Your squares may be a little larger than they would be if you did use batting and you can experiment on their size to make sure the quilt looks great. The choice to eliminate batting will lead you to thicker fabrics which will require a better sewing machine.

Some have used home decorating fabrics for their quilts because that material is very thick and warm. There will be differences in the sewing technique but you should be saving on sewing time as you will have less material to be concerned about.

You can use home decorating weight fabrics for the squares as well as the backing along with some quilting cotton. Chenille was mentioned as one of the fabrics you can use here.

The good news is that these fabrics are usually sold in 55 to 60-inch widths. So you will have lots of fabric to work with and not have a lot of prep work to do before you start.

How to Finish a Quilt Without Batting


There may be several different methods you can use but one thing is for sure, finishing the quilt without batting is not going to be that time consuming or difficult. One option even leaves the binding off.

This technique goes as follows: Have the top and back layers right sides facing each other. Then attach the two sides using the proper stitch pattern. This is pretty much the same way you would make a baby’s blanket.

Next, you sew the two sides together all the way around until you come to the last 7 to 10 inches. Leave that open so you can pull the quilt right sides out. After you do that, whip stitch that opening closed.

Sewing those stitches should be about 1/4 of an inch in from the edge and is your seam allowance. You do not have to use your machine to do the finishing touch. One sewer used yarn but how you sew the stitches and close the opening is again up to you and your sewing skill.

Use your experience to guide your work and as we said, you may know of different methods that should work just as well.

Tips for Making a Quilt Without Batting

Getting a few tips is always helpful as those help save you time and sometimes money. Finding new techniques make sewing more enjoyable and you can still be proud of the results even though you used less material in your quilt.

Here are some tips to help guide you:

  • 1. Sewing is flexible - that means that you are not limited to just one technique or style. Learn to be creative and innovative so you can make a variety of quilts.
  • 2. Batting is optional - it is not mandatory to even create a middle layer in your quilt.
  • 3. Know your region - this is one of the more influential factors in making a quilt. If you live in a warm climate you won’t need the middle layer. You will need batting or wadding if you live in a cooler region of the country.
  • 4. Know the purpose of the quilt - if you are making this quilt for someone else, know the weather patterns of their region. That knowledge will guide you in your use of batting.
  • 5. Batting material is flexible - you have a wide range of fabrics to choose from and like the weather, the exterior layers may guide you to using the right middle layer material. What is meant by that is the thinness or thickness of the layers will help you decide on how much batting you use for the middle layer.
  • 6. The process is the same - whether you use batting or not, the main parts of the quilting process are the same. There is no new technique to learn. All you are doing is eliminating one step when you leave the batting out.
  • 7. The color of batting doesn't matter - just use the color you want and be content with your decision.
  • 8. Batting comes in different weights - this is good because you get lots of options in how thick to make your quilt.

What Can I Use Instead of Quilt Batting?


Like everything else in sewing, what you use in place of quilt batting is also very flexible. If you are environmentally conscious then you may want to use some organic fabrics like organic cotton.

Then you can use polyester, silk, wool, cotton, blended fabric, and even bamboo. Wool will be the heaviest of the alternate materials while bamboo is said to be the lightest. Also, you can use old quilts, blankets, bedsheets, and other materials as a replacement for quilt batting.

In other words, this area of quilting is so flexible you have more options to use for batting than you do for the quilt’s exterior fabrics. That flexibility lets you reuse old worn-out fabrics that you do not want anyone to know you own.

Recycle old clothing, old bedding, even old curtains as a middle layer in your quilt. The sewing techniques will be the same except you will have to cut those old materials to the right size but it is better than throwing them away and ruining the landfills.

One fabric we left off that list was polyester or other synthetic fabrics. they will work as an alternative to quilt batting as well.

Some Final Words

Use the flexibility of sewing to help you create excellent quilts and save money at the same time. Use whatever leftover fabrics you have or buy new. Just keep in mind the purpose of the quilt and the weather patterns it will be used in.

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