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Can I use felt for quilt batting?

by Judy G.

Is it possible to use felt as quilt batting?


Reply

Simply put—yes...and no.

Personally, I wouldn't use felt for batting. Most felts are man-made, whereas a cotton batting, or wool for that matter, will have an inherent 'stick-to-it-ness' that helps keep the quilt sandwich together while you are quilting. A polyester batting is more slippery than it's natural fiber counterparts and I think this would extend to felt. If you're after a very thin batting there are several available-- Quilter's Dream Request comes to mind.

CAN you use it? Absolutely. It's your quilt. But again, if it's made from polyester, it won't shrink, while your 100% cotton quilting fabrics will. So if you're going to wash the quilt, you'll need to take that into consideration.

Because the fibers are so stable...they're felted together...you'd want to keep an even density to the quilting you do, you won't be able to block out distortions.

Now if you're working on an art quilt, because felt doesn't ravel, you may end up choosing to leave the 'felt batting' exposed at the edges and do some creative cutting to enhance and augment the look of your quilt. That would definitely be an advantage.

Another nice use for felt in the quilting process is using it to practice your machine quilting. I learned this trick from Robbi Joy Eklow, the 'Goddess of the Last Minute'. Use felt to practice machine quilting motifs on. This is a viable alternative when you don't want to stop to make a practice quilt sandwich, you just want to practice--NOW!!. (Just remember you will need to test your threads and sewing machine tension adjustments for a specific quilt on a practice sandwich made from leftovers from that quilt.)

I hope this helps you with your decision. Again, I'm so sorry it took so long for me to reply.

Piecefully,

Julie Baird
Editor

Comments for Can I use felt for quilt batting?

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What do you mean by...
by: Anonymous

Hello, I'm learning! What do you mean by:
"...you'd want to keep an even density to the quilting you do, you won't be able to block out distortions."

Thank you.

From the Editor: Felt is a very dense and non-woven fabric. If you put a lot of stitches into it in one area it's going to push out the fibers. If there's not a lot of stitching in another area, there's way less 'pushing'.

When you block a quilt, you get it wet and then gently pull it into square using rulers or laser guides. Pins are then applied to hold the quilt in shape until it dries...either naturally or with the assistance of a fan(s).

Wool, in my humble opinion, is the hands-down best batting for blocking because it holds its shape after it dries. Cotton doesn't have that same kind of 'memory' and felt even less.

I've been racking my brains to come up with something that you can touch.

The simplest example, I think, it a piece of thick yarn, the one that's like a quarter inch in diameter, used as hair ties when I was a kid—about the time dinosaurs roamed the Earth! :). It's twisted, not woven.

When you pull on both ends, kinda hard, you pull the fibers apart. The strand thins in the middle, but does not regain its shape after you stop pulling.

Felt is like that. Once it's stretched, you can't push it or smush it back into shape. With wool batting you can.

Since you can't block it, the easiest way to avoid a problem is to keep you stitching even across the top of the quilt.

Does that make sense?

~ Julie


bat vs felt
by: Deb

Thank you,

I just asked the question and then found the answers in a post to a previous question from somebody.
The answers more complete than I had hoped for! Very good idea on the decorative edges.
For the decorative edges you could use bat and secure that to felt and still do decorative edges. Of course, there is the problem of shrink.
I've been wondering if to wash cloth first or not. Certainly would get some of the shrink out of it wouldn't it?

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