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Batting showing under quilting stitches

by Priscilla
(Uptown, MA)

When quilting my piece with transparent thread the batting is being pulled through on the back side of the quilt (dark batik fabric) and so there are white bits under some of the stitches - not very attractive.

The thread tension seems to be OK and I'm using a 75 quilting needle.

What can I do to eliminate this problem?


The fact that the batting is coming through your backing fabric, says to me that:
  • Either the needle hole is too big, or...

  • The needle is damaged. Instead of piercing through the spaces between the threads of your fabric, it's actually 'grabbing' a bit of the batting and carrying it through the fabric as the needle goes through.
So the first thing to do is change to a new, out of the package needle...same extra needle as is currently installed on your machine. This will either rule out or confirm that your current needle is damaged.

If that doesn't solve your problem, next I recommend that you switch to a smaller needle, like a 70/10 or even a 60/8 and move to a Microtex Sharp needle. It will make a smaller, more precise, needle hole.

Monofilament thread is very fine thread. Add to the equation that it is an extruded fiber. That means there's no thread twist that will relax a bit after the stitch is made and help fill up the hole left by the needle.

If you are using monofilament in both the needle and bobbin, then switch to a nice 50 wt 100% cotton thread (like Aurifil or Masterpiece). The cotton will play nicely with the clear thread and help block any needle holes.

A Microtex Sharp needle is meant for stitching through higher thread count fabrics. Your batik is a higher thread count fabric when compared to your traditional quilting cottons.

If you're quilting with a Universal needle, the point may be just blunt enough with your batting, thread and fabric combinations to be pushing the bat through the needle holes.

Priscilla, I hope that these suggestions help solve your're so close to finishing your quilt!

Readers, what do you think? Suggestions or ideas that may help? Please use the 'Comments' link below to share your thoughts and solutions with our fellow quilter!

Thank you.


Julie Baird

Comments for Batting showing under quilting stitches

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Decrease tension
by: Anonymous

I found decreasing tension takes care of the this problem. Also use a smaller sewing machine needle.

Batting showing under quilting stitches
by: Michael Verret

I had the same problems on a current quilt that I am quilting on my long arm. Changed needles, adjusted tensions.. All to no avail.

Then I reduced the stretch on my backing rollers, that is placed less tension on my backing fabric and voila problem solved.

I realize we tend to stretch our fabric a little too much to take out wrinkles, to adjust the quilt to the panto pattern.... And it is very easy to apply too much stress to the fabric and that can cause all sorts of problems.

This was nothing new but as with many actions in long arming little things can cause big problems.

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