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Cotton batting is bunched up after washing

by Emily

I made the mistake of washing my new quilt and the cotton batting inside of it is bunched up and bulky in some places and there is no cotton at all in other places.

Is there a way I can fix this?


I wish I had an easy answer for you, Emily, but I don't.

It may be possible to wet your quilt again, lay it out as flat as possible and then use a long needle to try to redistribute the fibers.

I'm afraid this will be a tedious job at best.

If you are successful, you'll then need to go back and add more quilting to hold these loose fibers in place so they don't bunch up the next time the quilt is washed.

The best words of advice I can offer are for the next quilt you make.

The batting makes a difference...

Double check that the batting is for the type of quilting you will be adding...either by hand or machine or tying. The label should state the type of quilting to use.

Then make sure that you've added at least the recommended amount of quilting.

Needle punched battings like Warm and Natural can be quilted or tied up to ten inches apart. I think there's a few out there that require even less quilting. Needlepunching twists the fibers together creating a very strong and stable product that requires less quilting.

There's a problem with putting so few stitches in a quilt of any real size regardless of how stable the batt is.

When the quilt is washed, it becomes heavy with water weight. When you lift the quilt that weight puts a lot of strain on your quilting stitches. Possibly too much to hold the quilt and batting together. If it's too heavy, you'll end up with popped or broken stitches. The easy remedy is to add more quilting than recommended.

Now a quilt batting like Mountain Mist™ Natural Cotton Batting is intended for hand or machine quilting (no tying). It's made of cotton fibers held together by a scrim. It's more 'delicate' than a needlepunched batt. This particular batting requires quilting stitches just a quarter to half an inch apart. Wash a batting like this without enough quilting and the fibers will bunch up together when washed. (Much like you've described your problem.) The way the batting is held together necessitates the close quilting to help keep the fibers in place.

Again, Emily, I wish there was more I could offer you.

Readers, it's your turn. If you have any suggestions for her please use the 'comment' link below to help. I'd be grateful!

Thank you.


Julie Baird

Comments for Cotton batting is bunched up after washing

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Cotton batting all bunched up after washing
by: Lise

This happened to me after I spent several days making a throw quilt that I was so proud of.
I washed it in a delicate cycle. Used Woolite, and when the quilt was done washing, the batting was all bunched up, no longer there in some parts of the quilt. I’d even tacked in numerous places. I was heartbroken. I’m gonna have to take it apart to put in new batting. I’ll never use batting with cotton content ever again.

Lesson learned.

From the Editor: Before completely banishing cotton batting from your quilting arsenal, double-check which batting you used.

Mountain Mist has a batting that I got by mistake one time.

It has a skrim on one side to fold the fibers in place. No skrim on the other side so the cotton fibers are loose. It is meant only for hand quilting because the recommended quilting distance is tiny.

If you machine quilted with this batting and then washed the quilt, the batt would absolutely fall apart in the wash until the quilt was full of evenly shaped micro-quilting.

It's possible you ended up with a package of cotton hand quilting batt by mistake.

I'd hate to see you miss out on using this terrific fiber in your projects.


Julie Baird

Learning mistake
by: Linda

I made a beautiful 4X4 patch shaggy quilt for my granddaughter....turned out wonderful until I washed it!

I had secured the batting at the center of each square and thought that would hold the batting in place...NO. Have tried pulling back with a needle and thread, no luck.

Considering taking apart and resewing. ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOUR BATTING IS SECURED IN YOUR QUILTING PROJECTS to save heartache work later.

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