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Which batting do I need for my quilt? - A Beginners Guide


So, quilt batting or wadding as its also known.  What do you need it for and why are there so many different types? What is the difference?  All valid questions my friend.  Read on to get some answers.

Firstly, quilt batting is used in-between the quilt top and quilt back.  Like a sandwich.  It is the squishy soft bit in the middle that gives your quilt it’s weight and makes it all warm and cuddly.  Batting comes in white, natural and black.  Depending on the colour of the fabric you are using in the quilt you may want to choose a corresponding tone.  It also impacts on how you will quilt your quilt so its worth having a think about that while you choose which is right for you.

 Poly Blend

Polyester blend batting is usually the most cost effective option.  It comes in different ratios of cotton to poly which impact on the feel of the batting.  80/20 keeps the nice drape you get with cotton while giving you the added bonus of being easier to look after and nice and warm.  60/40 is stiffer and gives a more flumpy feel after being quilted.  It’s also light in weight.  And Poly blends don’t tend to shrink as much as other battings. 

 100% Cotton Batting

Cotton is a great option for pretty much all your quilting projects.  You do however have to quilt cotton batting closer than other types of batting as cotton can bunch up during washing.  In order to keep it smooth there will be a maximum space between quilting lines that should be adhered to.  It will tell you this information on the batting packaging. 100% Cotton batting can take a while to soften up and also shrinks which will produce the wrinkled quilt effect which is desired by many. 

Wool

Is an expensive option but it has it’s benefits.  It’s warm, obviously.  And it doesn’t crease!  So if you are going to be storing you quilt tops folded this is a good option.

Wool does tend to beard however.  Because it is fluffy the ‘fluff’ can travel through your quilt while quilting or in the wash create a layer of tiny wool clouds all over your quilt top.  If you choose to use wool batting a tighter woven fabric would be advisable rather than say, linen.  Also use a brand dew needle to quilt your quilt with which will reduce the chance of bearding as well. 

 Bamboo Batting

This is lush!  It’s soft and silky and feels amazing and is easy to work with and I love it.  It can also be a more costly option.  But if you re going to spend hundreds of hours making a quilt that will be an heirloom you might just want to invest. 

Out of all these options I use an 80/20 or if I’m feeling fancy I will use a bamboo batting.

Loft is another thing to think about when choosing batting.  The higher the loft the puffier your quilt will be. If you are hand quilting you will always want to choose a lower loft batting as it is easier to manage.

Quilter’s Dream has been my go to brand for batting for many years.  They do a great variety of battings so whatever your preference or choice they will be able to deliver.  If you are hand quilting or you will want to choose their request.  Their Deluxe batting is a higher loft, heavier and more suited to regular machine or longarm quilting.  

Hobbs is another brand that I use from time to time.  Usually for an 80/20.  I like the weight of this and it drapes and quilts well.   Hobbs also do a variety of options including wool which is a popular option. 

One last thing,  you may notice when you are looking at all the different batting options is that some of them contain skrim (stabiliser).  I have never used batting with skrim so can’t comment on how that effects your quilt. But it is good to be aware and to check if the batting has or doesn’t have skrim.

And that’s it.  Batting (or wadding) demystified.  Experiment with different types and find out which you prefer.

 Read more in the Quilting - A Beginners Guide

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