Even if you buy the perfect-sized batting for your quilt sandwich, there will always be some batting you need to trim off your quilt before binding. In my quilt patterns, I like to leave a 2″ batting boundary around the quilt to compensate for any shifting during my quilting adventures. This leads to a lot of scraps. When I first started quilting, I would throw all this excess away. But as I become more experienced and experimented more, I’ve learned these scraps are still really useful. Here are some of my uses for quilt batting scraps.
Large quilt batting scraps ideas
Quilt tops come in every shape and size, but batting only comes in a handful of sizes or widths (if you’re lucky enough to be able to buy the rolls). When you have to trim off a large length of batting, keep these pieces to for another quilt’s batting. You don’t need to make tiny oblong quilts. You just need to piece them together.
‘Piecing batting?’ you ask? It’s super simple. Align two edges, without overlapping the batting, and zigzag stitch them together. Boom! It’s a bigger piece of batting. I’ve used this technique on a few quilts now and you can’t even tell its been pieced. I highly recommend buying the same batting all the time to get an even finish. But, as long as they’re made with the same mix of materials and have a similar loft (and color if you have a light colored quilt top), you should be good!
I’ve already done the math. I found that the king-sized batting is the cheapest per square inch. Buy a large bundle and cut it apart for different quilts. You can read more about that here here.
Medium quilt batting scraps ideas
So, we’ve used up our large scraps on making more quilt batting, but not every scrap is that big. Instead of Frankenstein-ing four or five pieces of batting together for you quilt, there are some other fun, quick, and easy quilted projects you can make.
Starting easy, you can make a quilted jean jacket. This doesn’t require any extra skills, because you’re just sewing a quilt on to the back of a pre-made jean jacket (which you can get for only a couple bucks at Goodwill!). You can see the one I made for my niece here. For those of you a bit more ambitious, you can try making other clothes of quilts like jackets and bathrobes.
If you’re not quite ready for making your own clothes yet, a good intermediate step is to make bags. There are tons of designs across all skill levels. You can start with tote bags. I have free patterns here and here. These patterns use simple quilted panels sewn together with binding. They’re an easy design that will let you get comfortable sewing in three dimensions and around curves. And they’re super useful for storing all your quilting supplies.
For the others a bit more Slytherin (ambitious), you can stand out with a quilted duffel bag or backpack. They’re a bit more complicated to put together and take some more problem solving when things go wrong, but you’ll learn lots of new skills. Zippers elevate everything and piping is my new obsession. Making these pieces can also get you into strapping, hardware, and maybe even leather work.
Small quilt batting scraps ideas
These usually go straight in the trash, so you might not believe me. But don’t you dare throw out those baby scraps the size of your hand. They are useful. I promise! You’re just not going to be making anything out of them.
These scraps are the perfect size to trouble shoot your machine. is something clicking that shouldn’t be clicking? Threads getting tangled up? Make a little quilt sandwich with your scraps and give your machine a test run. It’s important to use a quilt sandwich instead of a scrap of cotton because the extra loft could affect your needle or your sewing foot. Having a spare stack of batting can help you keep your cool when your machine makes you want to pull out your hair. You can see more ways to help fix your broken sewing machine here.
These little batting scraps are also perfect for testing out new threads. To save money, I don’t always buy the best threads. My machine is also like a 2-year-old with how picky it is out free motion quilting thread. Testing out your new thread on a spare quilt sandwich will help you make sure it’s not apt to break on you or that you machine doesn’t have funky tension problems.
Lastly, and probably one of the most important for beginners, is little scraps are great for practicing free motion quilt designs. If you’re anything like me, you get a little nervous when you go to quilt your quilt. The quilting is very visible from the outside of the quilt and is hard to fix. Taking a few minutes to practice your quilt design, will help ease some of that stress and make quilting more fun.
What will you do?
Get creative! There are tons of things to make with quilt batting scraps and none but the smallest silvers should be thrown away. Let me know what you do with your batting scraps.