Quilt batting is the norm when making a quilt. Typically, you would use a batting/wadding for the middle layer. However you can make a quilt by quilting the top and back together without a middle layer. You may also choose an unconventional batting like a flannel sheet or quilting cotton. These can be more cost-effective options if you're wanting to save money on batting.
Quilt batting is not needed when making a quilt. You can make a quilt by quilting the top and back together without a middle layer. You may also choose other fabrics like a flannel sheet or quilting cotton. These can be more cost-effective options if you're wanting to save money on batting.
A flannel sheet is a good alternative. Use a flannel sheet for the middle layer of a traditional quilt, but check first to make sure the pattern doesn't show through the top or the backing. For an even lighter weight, you can use a regular sheet. Regular sheets will give the quilt less body than flannel. Cheap sheets (i.e. 180 thread count) can be used for the middle layer, but NOT for the backing. Cheap sheets have a tendency to 'pill' and don't wear well.
I remember several 'Summer Quilts' that my great-grandmother made. None of them had any batting (filler) or quilting stitches.
Prior to the 1950s, most batting was made of cotton, wool, flannel, or even from old quilts and sheets. Although 100% cotton batting is still available today and used for traditional hand quilted quilts, most, but not all, mass produced quilts have a polyester batting or a combination of cotton and poly.
Other UTILITY quilts had 'everything' in the middle. The top was pretty 'rough' as in not heirloom quality, but the middle layer had everything from old blankets, old clothing and whatever else they had on hand to make it useable and warm.
Star of Hope (charity in Houston for Homeless folks) used anything and everything from upholstery fabrics, corduroys, polyesters, and anything else to make warm quilts for the homeless.
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