Robin Stroot

Craft supplies used for making a filling between layers of fabric, knit or crochet craft items are called batting, fiberfill and pellets.The filling is used to give a three-dimensional shape or add a layer of warmth or weight to the finished craft item. We are going to focus on the fiberfill.

Many crafters use a material that looks like clouds or a bag of white-colored cotton candy called fiberfill. You can pull apart smaller pieces of the fiberfill to insert into small openings of the finished craft project. It is most suited for filling out three-dimensional shapes like a stuffed toy, a ball or doll. Some people may try to use leftover or cut-up pieces of fabric instead of fiberfill. However, the fiberfill is light and airy, which means the laundered item will dry quicker and is less likely to mold or mildew. Some other filling materials may not hold up under the wear and tear of use of the finished craft item.

Check the fiberfill label for things like washability, whether the fiberfill is non-allergenic, fire-resistance and the possibility of the fiberfill shifting or wadding up inside the craft item.

Most fiberfill is made of 100% polyester. The most common method of making fiberfill is when fibers are fed through a combing machine, then chopped up for fiberfill. (Batting is when the combed fiber is not chopped into smaller bits but left in a whole piece.) The fiberfill has loft (air between the fibers) and is soft to the touch.

You will need a couple tools to get the stuffing inside the finished craft item. The items need to fit into the small opening left for stuffing purposes. You can use a wood spoon handle, eraser end of a pencil, or my usual tool, the stop-end of a straight knitting needle. Remove loose threads, trim excess fabric along the seams and clip any inside curves before turning the item right side out.

Choose the amount of fiberfill in relation to the area being stuffed. For example, smaller amounts of fiberfill for arm or legs and larger amounts for the head or body of a doll or stuffed animal.

A lot of crafters will often compress the fiberfill into a small ball before inserting into the opening. Keeping the fiberfill fluffy will result in a smooth, rather than lumpy, appearance of the finished item.

Initially, push the fiberfill into the opening with your fingers, and work it into place. Then, gently push the fiberfill firmly into the final position with your stuffing aid. For tight corners, use a T-pin or point of a knitting needle to push it firmly into place.

Work the fiberfill loosely to the edge of the opening and begin stitching the seam closed. Continue to work additional fiberfill under the stitched opening to create a smooth edge finish (no dips at the opening area) to the project. Finish by stitching the seam securely in place.

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