Sunday, March 6, 2011

Have you ever needed to put two pieces of batting together to get the size you needed?

I attended a quilt show this past Friday and found a product I decided to test and include in my batting lectures. The name of the product is "Heat Press Batting together" by Jeanne Harwood Designs ( I paid $8.00 for a 10 yard roll of 1 1/2 " wide tape. There was no fiber content information on the packaging or on the web site so I have written and requested this information and I will post it as soon as I hear back from them.
 I tested the fusible cloth tape on a soy/cotton blend (50%/50%) using a straight cut, butting the edges together and fusing using the recommended iron settings. I was less than pleased with the gap that was visible where the two pieces of batting don't quite meet up. I tried this fusing process again this time I pre-ironed the batting giving it three good bursts of steam with my steam generator. My thinking here was maybe the fibers were drawing up from the heat during the fusing process and causing the gap. I did not have any more success than the first effort. I went ahead and  sandwiched this between two layers of 100% cotton muslin and quilted it using a 3/4" diagonal grid on the machine using a walking foot and 100% cotton Aurafil thread. I then serged around the edge and washed the sample and threw it in the dryer, hoping maybe the gap would somehow pull together and go away in the washing/drying process, it did not. Here is a photo of the finished sample. I have it taped to the window so you can see the light through the gap.
  Now maybe I am being too much of a perfectionist here. If you were making a quilt with darker fabrics you probably wouldn't even notice this.

I decided to do the test again this time I pre steamed the batting and then I over lapped the edges of the batting and used my rotary cutter to cut through both layers making a wavy cut. This is the method I have always used to join batting, a curved seam join, but with hand stitching. Harriet Hargrave recommends this method in her book "From Fiber to Fabric" see page 120
(I am using Pellon Flame Retardant Rayon Batting scraps in this test.) I found it much easier to get the curved edges to fit against the other with no gaps. I have them slightly apart in this picture so you can see the cut. Then I butted them together and fused the join. I sandwiched this sample the same as the first
and quilted and serged the edges and washed and dried the sample same as the first. This photo shows the results. I have my finger on the Heat Press tape so you will be able to find it as I had a hard time locating it. As you can see there are no gaps I was able to achieve a nice clean join. The laundering process did not affect the join or shift the edges apart. I have not tried to hand stitch through this product yet. It is so thin and light weight I can't imagine it would offer resistance to needling unless the bonding agent (fusible) does. Here is a close up of the tape, fusible side up.

As you can see it is very sheer almost tricot like. So I found this product to be quite a time saver when you need to quickly and effortlessly join two batting pieces and in today's economy we might find that to be a real money saver allowing us to use up every piece of batting and not waste any scraps. I would however recommend pre-steaming the area to be joined and using a curved seam.
Would I use it in a heirloom Baltimore Album quilt? Personally, no but I wouldn't piece my batting in that instance either, nor would I use any fusible product such as fusible batting. They haven't been around long enough to stand the test of time. Who know how these "glue/binding" agents will break down in time or what effect they will have on our cotton fabrics. Please note these binding agents are also present in some thermal bonded battings if you have concerns about these agents you may want to avoid them too. I know the quilters in the past were probably thrilled to have colorfast fabrics in their day but would be horrified if they saw the affects some of the mordants used to make them colorfast had on the fabrics, eating away at the fibers until there was nothing left.
For using up batting scraps in everyday utilitarian quilts I say thumbs up! Thanks Jeanne for bringing us this time saver! 
A video demo of this available on Utube at

1 comment:

Linda said...

Debra, Thanks for giving us the scoop on this product. I will be on the look-out for it.