Batting Tips

Batting is what goes in the middle of the quilt “sandwich.” Just as there are many different uses for batting so are there many different types of batting. You may choose from 100% cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend, wool, silk, etc. To help decide which to use, you may want to ask yourself a few questions first:
  • What will the finished product be used for? Quilt, wall hanging, bed-spread, etc.
  • Who will the end user be? Does it need to be flame retardant for children?
  • Does it need to be especially warm?
  • How do I want the finished quilting project to look - flat or fluffy? Contemporary or traditional?
  • Do I need a light or dark batting?
  • Will it be hand or machine quilted?
  • How much am I willing to spend?

Things to consider:

  • Fiber Content Pros and Cons

    • COTTON
      Pros Cons
      Machine Quilts Wonderfully. Some brands may require pre-washing to remove oils, etc.
      Gives the flatter look of traditional quilts. May require closer stitching.
      Launders without bearding or pilling Usually more expensive than polyester.
      Heavier once quilted, thus, may be warmer than polyester.

      Pros Cons
      Generally less expensive. Prone to bearding and pilling.
      May be quilted farther apart than some types of cotton or wool batting. May be harder to machine quilt on a domestic machine due to the extra puffiness.
      Makes a lighter weight quilt. May tend to compress or flatten over time.
      Comes in a wide variety of sizes or widths. May melt or flatten somewhat if ironed too hot.

    • WOOL
      Pros Cons
      Easily releases fold lines
      (therefore it is often used for show quilts).
      One of the more expensive battings.
      Retains warmth even when damp. As with all wool items, may be attractive to moths.
      Adds puffy texture.
      Handles nicely.  

    • BLENDS
      Blends will usually have most of the pros and cons associated with both types of fibers they are made of; however, they are generally less expensive than 100% natural fiber batting, and can often be quilted father apart.

  • Loft
    • Low:
      • It is easy to needle for hand quilting
      • May be easier to handle
      • Creates a product that is softer and more drape-able
      • Your quilt will resemble soft old traditional quilts
      • Easier to achieve small even hand quilting stitches
    • Medium:
      • Adds texture to the finished product
      • Gives a puffier look
      • Warmer than low-loft batting but not quite as drape-able if quilted too closely.
    • High:
      • Good for highlighting detailed quilting
      • Gives lots of texture to quilting
      • Mimics the look of down
      • Warmest
      • Most often used for comforters, bed-spreads or tied quilts
      • Stays soft and drape-able with very open or light quilting

  • Manufacturing processes
Some of the information below comes from the Quilter's Dream FAQ page:

These are (4) of the processes by which battings are manufactured and produced.
  1. Garnetted or Plain: Fibers are carded and layered but not bound together by any other mechanical or chemical aid. This yeilds a "plain" or garnetted batting which, while very easy to quilt, can migrate, shift and tend to bunch together (like what is often found in antique quilts) unless the lines oquilting are as close as ¼” –1/2” apart.

  2. Needle punched: Fibers are first carded, a mechanical process used to disentangle, clean and intermix the strands, and then put though a machine that will use thousands of needles to punch the fibers down, creating a stable, durable batting.

  3. Thermal Bonding: A low melt poly fiber bonding agent is blended with the main batting fibers to prevent bearding, shifting, and shrinking of the final product. After carding, the blended fibers are sent though an oven where the heat melts the poly fibers, bonding the main fibers in place, creating a stable batting.

  4. Scrim: Batting with scrim has had a very thin polypropylene sheeting needle punched into the batting. This provides extra stability or support for tugging/pulling the batting when being used on a longarm machine. Because of the scrim, it will not stretch or leave handprint marks as it is pulled or manipulated into place.

For more Info:
What batting should I use for my quilt? Check out Quilter's Dream Batting University

What are the Unique Features or specific requirements for each batting? See the Unique Features User Guide

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