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Which quilt batting should I use for a tablecloth?

by Theresa
(Frankenmuth, MI)

Theresa writes...

I don't want batting under my table cloth.

I think it would make it too thick.

Do you have any suggestions?

Julie replies...

Good question, Theresa!

I'd definitely want a backing for these reasons:
  1. Protect the unfinished edges of the seam allowances from fraying through use and from abrasion during washing, and...

  2. Give some body to the quilt.
A suitable alternative to batting is to use a layer of flannel. It's much thinner than any batting would be.

If your quilt top is wider than the standard 44"-45" widths, don't worry. Flannel does come in wider widths. Click here to see some of the options available through

If you prewash the fabrics in your quilt top, then I'd prewash the flannel, too.

Actually as I think about it, I'd prewash the flannel regardless, as it will probably shrink more than the regular quilting cottons in the top. Fabric manufacturers recommend cool to cold water these days for washing most quilt fabrics.

Another alternative is to layer the top, right sides together, with a backing fabric ONLY—completely skipping the third layer. Leave a good 6" to 8" opening at the edge, big enough to get your hand through, to turn the quilt.

Once you've turned this two-layer 'quilt' right side out, whip stitch the opening closed. I'd add some simple machine quilting to hold the layers together. That way the layers won't shift when you wash and dry it.

Since your patchwork will be displayed on a table, you might consider adding rick rack or piping to the edge before joining the two layers. It'd be easier because there's no batting to deal with.

I hope this has helped.

To our readers, what have you used in place of batting for a tablecloth-quilt? Thanks for sharing!


Julie Baird

Comments for Which quilt batting should I use for a tablecloth?

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Tablecloth batting
by: Anonymous

Try using a layer of white pre washed flannel as a batting for a tablecloth. Machine stitch through all three layers with a design that compliments your piecing and is not more than 3-4" apart.

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