How to Attach Batting to a Quilt Top

Patchwork as a background 2 image by Lucy Cherniak from

Things You'll Need

  • Low-loft batting
  • Backing fabric
  • Tape measure or quilting ruler
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Long pins or safety pins
  • Thread
  • String or yarn (optional)
  • Fabric scissors

There is nothing quite so lovely as a homemade quilt. It adds charm and character to any room and can be used as a traditional bed covering or as a decoration, thrown over a railing, the edge of a table, or hung on a wall. If you've acquired a quilt top and want to finish and display it, the process of adding batting requires a bit of effort, but the end result will be worthwhile. A quilt is essentially a "sandwich" comprised of three pieces: the top, the backing and the batting in the middle, which are fused together by tying the three pieces in place, by machine quilting or by traditional hand quilting.

Remove batting from its packaging and allow it to relax and plump up for a couple of hours.

Wash cotton backing fabric to remove sizing and to pre-shrink the fabric.

Remove selvages from either side of the fabric and cut to the desired length with a rotary cutter, allowing 3 to 4 inches excess on all sides.

Sew backing fabric together, positioning it so the widest piece is in the center, with a piece sewn on either side so the seam does not run down the center of the back. Iron seams open, not to one side.

Lay the backing fabric onto a large table or a clean floor, right side down. Smooth out any wrinkles.

Lay the batting over top of the backing fabric, centering the batting and smoothing it flat.

Lay the quilt top, right side up, on top of the batting. Smooth out any wrinkles.

Starting in the center, pin or baste the three layers together. Place pins every 2 to 3 inches. If basting, work a long piece of thread through the three layers, working out from the center.

Fuse the three layers together, either by tying them with string or yarn every 5 to 6 inches, by machine quilting, or by traditional hand quilting through the three layers of material.

Finish off the raw edges by adding binding. Cut material into 2 1/2-inch-wide strips and attach the 2 1/2-inch seams together until you have enough material in a long strip to go around all four edges of the quilt with a bit extra. Fold the material in half, wrong sides together, and iron. Stitch the raw edge of the binding to the edge of the quilt, using a 1/4-inch seam. Leave a 3-inch overhang of binding where you started. Blind stitch the binding to the back of the quilt by hand.


About the Author

Becky Lower began writing professionally in 2004. Her work has appeared in "elan" magazine, a northern Virginia publication, "Good Old Days" magazine, the "BGSU Alumni" magazine and on the website Lower has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Bowling Green State University.

Photo Credits

  • Patchwork as a background 2 image by Lucy Cherniak from