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Sewing on naked batting

I'm making a quilt that calls for me to sew top and bottom; right sides together and with the batting on top (to be turned right side out after sewing). I know the batting will get caught in my presser foot.

Is there a different foot I should use or do I just muddle through it?


This method of putting a quilt together is also known as 'birthing a quilt' or 'envelope' or 'pillowcase' style.

Many quilters that use this method have terrific results on smaller quilts, lap quilts, twin size. As the quilt gets much larger it is harder to keep the layers even.

Use a walking foot

I'm assuming that you'll be using your walking foot because you'll be sewing through three layers. And yes, I agree, there's a chance that the quilt batting will catch on the bottom of the foot.

I would still choose to use the walking foot, even if that meant wrestling with the batting catching or snagging on the foot.

My reasoning is, that the snags won't show on the finished quilt. However, if the layers shift as you stitch them together, that WILL show because the finished quilt won't lay flat.

To minimize snagging...

...there are a couple of simple things you can do.

  • Use a stable batting

    I suggest a Quilter's Dream or Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting. Needlepunched and with a scrim. A stretchy batting will make it hard to keep the layers evenly together.

  • Starch your quilt top and backing before layering

    This will also add stability, but you'll need to take the extra step at the end to wash the quilt to remove the starch.

  • Sew at a slower speed

    You'll have more control and be able to avoid batting fiber getting caught in the feed dogs.

  • Use a tearaway stabilizer.

    If the above tips don't minimize snagging, try using strips of cheap white tissue paper (that you can see through). Place these on top of the quilt sandwich between the feed dogs and the batting. Your walking foot shouldn't have any trouble stitching over the paper. Carefully tear it away before turning your quilt to the right side.

Once you've turned the quilt to the right side, try topstitching a quarter to a half inch in from the edge to give the look of binding without the work.

Thank you for your question.

Readers, if you've birthed a quilt, please do share your tips and experiences by using the 'Comments' link below.


Julie Baird

Comments for Sewing on naked batting

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How to sew on top of batting
by: Kathy

I recently was told never to sew directly onto batting, using a sewing machine. Is this true of all kinds of batting?

From the Editor: There is always the chance that you'll end up with more fibers and lint to clean out. Just clean your bobbin area more often (do not use canned air, it blows the fibers into your machine).

It can snag on your presser foot. Try a teflon foot which will slide more easily. Sew slower so you can stop faster if the problem presents itself.

Yes, there are things to watch out for, but 'never' IMHO is just someone else's opinion.

I hope this helps.

~ Julie

Use dryer sheets
by: Mary Mcmudpies

I am making a baby quilt "birthing method". I liked the suggestion to use tissue paper or masking tape to sew over the naked batting. I didn’t have either one. I tried dryer sheets. It worked. And they can still be used in the dryer.

From the Editor: Great tip! Thank you for sharing from your experience.

~ Julie

by: Jasmine

I just started using masking tape. Put the tape along your seam line in top of the batting and see right through! Super easy!

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