How to Make Quilted Fabric

At Twig + Tale, we are often asked about warm fabric alternatives to wool blankets, which are very difficult to come by in some parts of the world.  One solution for adding extra insulation to your garments is making quilted fabric by sewing a layer of batting in between layers of fabric.  Quilted fabric makes a lovely, warm lining for Pathfinder Vests or Pixie Pea Coats. 


  • Outer fabric
  • Lining fabric (optional)
  • Quilt batting
  • Fabric marker or chalk
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Walking foot (optional)

Sewing your own quilted fabric means that you can customize your project by choosing whatever lovely fabric you would like to use.  You can quilt fabric to one or both sides of the batting, depending on whether you would like the back side of the fabric to be visible.  Quilt batting is available in a variety of weights and fibre contents, including cotton, polyester, wool, and bamboo.  Here I am using a mid-weight cotton batting that has been pre-washed.

I have chosen two different fabrics (an upcycled chambray from a men's shirt and a quilting-weight floral cotton) and one layer of cotton batting because I would like both sides of my quilted fabric to be finished.

I don't recommend quilting large pieces of yardage because any shifting and puckering of fabric will be exaggerated over a large area of fabric.  Instead, block out the amount of fabric that you will need to cut out each of your pattern pieces so that you can work with smaller amounts, which will be much easier to quilt. 

1.  Use a fabric marker and ruler to mark sewing lines onto the right side of one of the layers of fabric.  Here, lines are marked on the bias (at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric), every 2 inches.  Adjust the space between the lines to suit your preference and the scale of the project you are sewing. 

2.  Make a sandwich of the fabric and batting, with the right sides of the fabric facing out.  Ensure that all of the layers of the fabric are flat and wrinkle-free. 

3.  Pin your fabric sandwich together at regular intervals so that the fabric will not shift when you are sewing the quilting lines.

4.  If you have one, install the walking foot on your sewing machine.  Begin sewing a line down the centre of the fabric, working outward towards the shorter lines.  Sew all the lines in one direction first.  Then sew the lines in the other direction, again starting at the centre and working outward. 

Here are some of the stitching lines in progress, starting in the centre:

5.  Continue until all of the marked lines have been stitched.

6.  Pin your pattern pieces to the quilted fabric and cut as instructed in the pattern you would like to sew. 

You are now ready to make cosy quilted garments!

Would you like to try making a Quilted Pathfinder Vest with bias-bound edges like this one?  Have a look at this blog post: How to Finish a Pathfinder Vest with Binding.

Please join us in the Twig + Tale Facebook group to ask questions, look for inspiration, and of course to share photos of your lovely projects.