Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quilt Class 101 - Week 7 - Batting

When I went to the quilt shop to buy the batting/wadding for my very first quilt, the lady behind the counter got the roll and laid it out.. and i thought..."What is that?? That's not what i want.. its too thin!!"
Then, the next question?? What type do I want?  "I don't know.. they all look the same!"
So for those of you new to Quilting, Let me tell you a little about the different types of batting, their characteristics and what each one is best suited for.

Firstly, Thickness or Loft. Batting comes is different thicknesses.
 Low loft, is thin, (most popular for quilting) and 
High Loft is thick.
Most batting's have a Scrim. The scrim is fine non-woven fabric that the fibres are needle punched into. The scrim locks in fibers to prevent bearding/piling. The Scrim also gives the batting strength and firmness. Excellent for quilting.

100% Polyester is the high wadding you may be used to.. This is the wadding that i thought i initially wanted. Its breaks down in the quilt very quickly and is really difficult to quilt. Your best not to use it for Quilting.

100% Cotton is my favourite choice and i use it 95% of the time. It is a low loft, it drapes beautifully, soft, cuddly, warm and natural. Cotton batting tends to stick to the backing and top fabrics well so it doesn't shift around as much and easy to make your quilt sandwich. It is available in bleached white, great for your white quilts, natural in colouring or grey for your darker quilts. 95% of the time I use this batting in the natural colour. I love it.
70%Cotton / 30% Polyester - This Batting has the same characteristics as 100% cotton but is lighter in weight. You may prefer it if your making a large quilt.

60% Cotton / 40% Silky Wool. All natural, very soft and luxurious. Med Loft.

100% Wool is a great wadding if you want the extra warmth. It has a scrim on both sides to prevent the fibers piling out of the top. I used it for a Quilt for our bed. It is heavier in weight than 100% cotton. Can be heavy to Quilt and hand quilt.

60% Wool/40% Polyester. It has the warmth of wool batting but a lighter option. Quick to dry after washing and lighter on the bed. Its great for wall hangings and also available in grey. High loft.

60%Wool / 40% Cotton. This batting is soft to touch and drapes better than the wool/poly batting. It has the warmth of wool with the softness of cotton. Low - Medium loft.

Bamboo Batting is amazingly soft, drapes beautifully, low loft so its easier for hand quilting. Bamboo batting dries 3 times faster than cotton batting and will not allow mold or mildew to grow. This is my next favourite choice.

Fusible batting. There are a few different ones I have tried recently. You can use it doubled over for a high loft, or pull it apart into a thin low loft batting. Its popular with the quilt as you go techniques and I have only ever used it for small projects.
Insul-Bright.  This batting has a thin foil insulating layer in the batting. It is needle punched polyester fibers that reflect the hot/cold back to its source. I use this batting for making projects such as ironing board cover, insulating bags, hot pads etc. It is a bit noisy/crinkly. Don't use it for your Quilt.
Now the next most important Question... How to buy???

Most of the time Batting is sold on the roll. You will find that they vary in their widths.. The cotton Batting I use is 240cm wide. If your quilt wont fit into that size... you may need to order a piece bigger.

How much to buy??? Measure the width of your quilt top. Add 4-6 inches to the measurement to give you the amount you need. For eg, The width of the QC Quilt is 50". So buy a piece of batting 56" x the width of the Roll.

I hope this helps you...

If your QC top isn't fully complete (like mine) keep sewing and we are close to putting our quilt sandwich together...


  1. What an excellent resource for batting types. I'm mostly up to speed on piecing techniques but I'm still all confused about battings! You've put great information together in one handy spot ;)

  2. Thanks for this! I always stick to the batting I was told to use years ago....but you've now given me options!!

  3. Thanks for such a wonderful post on batting types. I have done very little with batting. I am very interested in quilting and this is a good resource for me. Thanks.

  4. Partners options are not available in Argentina

  5. You forgot silk batting. Quilter's Dream makes a wonderful silk batting. It is a little lighter than cotton and has the most amazing drape! They also make one from recycled bottles called Dream Green. I use this in a lot of my charity quilts or kids quilts (when not using a lot of white fabric, cuz the batting is actually light green.) It is cheaper and uses recycled materials. Here is a link

  6. Thanks for this! I've pretty much always used the prepackaged low loft because the package said it would work. This helps me understand a little more about the differences.

  7. Thank you for this post Bec, I have always been slightly confused about which batting to use. Now that I know the characteristics of each...I can stop making my choice based on price!

  8. It's so helpful to see all of these descriptions in one place.

  9. Great information. Thank you. I remember, back in the dark ages 35 years ago, the batting I found was that high loft polyester type. I used it on a few quilts, but it was a mess to work with. I am so glad that there is a much wider variety, now that I am quilting again. I use a cotton/poly blend that works very well for me, and keeps me warm on cool evenings. I really like the bamboo/cotton blend for smaller pieces. It just has a wonderful feel to it.

  10. Thanks for these great batting tips Rebecca - I tend to use either bamboo or natural cotton batting as they are both readily available here in Australia..

  11. I never new there were so many options! Wow! I just grabbed a packaged one. I hope it's one that will work with my quilt LOL. Thanks for such detail :)

  12. Oh, thank you. It all makes so much more sense now!

    So far, I have made two 'play' quilts for my grandson; I used all cotton - fabric, thread and batting - in both.

    The quilt I am working on now is a "cocktail" - cotton fabric, fusible webbing, polyester thread (how did I let them talk me into that?) and now my new teacher wants me to use wool/polyester batting. The project is "quilt as you go", an applique block at a time and will eventually be a king single bed quilt. I don't know what I will do yet. Perhaps I should try the wool/polyester just to see what I prefer?

    Thank you again Rebecca.

  13. This is so helpful. Thanks! xo

  14. Wonderful post, queston though.. have you ever quilted without a batting? i want a super thin blanket for hot summer months...

  15. I teach all that in my hand quilting classes and have done for many years.


  16. I love all of the information we're getting in your class!!!! Thank you!!!!

  17. Batting is always confusing to me but this has helped! thank you.

  18. What about black batting?


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