Once the quilt top is finished, it’s time to consider batting. Here are five things every quilt needs to know when deciding what batting to use in a quilt.
What Fiber to use?
Fiber is what makes up the batting. Different fibers offer different advantages.
Polyester batting has multiple uses. Because polyester is durable, it stands up to regular laundering making it a good candidate for household items and utility quilts.
Polyester fiber benefits:
- Maintains loft
- Requires less quilting
Cotton batting gives a quilt that traditional quilted look due to shrinkage. It is a breathable fiber, creating a more comfortable quilt.
Cotton fiber benefits:
- Traditional look
A cotton-poly blend offers the best of both worlds, the comfort of cotton with more of the durability of polyester. An 80/20 blend is made up of 80% cotton and 20% polyester. Combine the benefit lists for polyester and cotton to understand why this batting is so popular.
For those who aren’t allergic, wool is a magical batting fiber. It delivers warm beautiful quilts with just the right amount of loft to showcase the quilting. When giving a quilt away or making a quilt for a baby, select another natural fiber in case of wool allergies.
Benefits of wool fiber:
- Quilts beautifully
- Nice loft
What Loft of batting?
Loft refers to a batting’s puffiness. Throughout time, different lofts of batting have been popular. Quilting has certainly seen the days of puffy quilts and thin quilts. When considering loft, keep in mind the end use of the quilt. If you need a warmer quilt, consider a wool batting, whereas a cotton batting makes a nice summer quilt.
Low loft –
Cotton is famous for its traditional low loft look. Polyester battings also come in a low loft offering no migration – t stays where you put it when you quilt.
Mid loft –
Wool offers a great middle-range loft in a natural fiber. The added loft not only makes a quilt extra cozy, it also adds depth to the quilting designs.
High loft –
Polyester battings often come in a high loft version giving extra puff to a quilt or comforter.
To gain loft using natural fibers, often batts are combined, layering one on top of the other, then quilted. A double wool batt offers a beautiful natural high loft and a very warm quilt.
What Color of batting?
It isn’t often that color needs to be considered when picking a batting. If you are making a white or light colored quilt or a dark quilt, there are two great options.
Bleached white cotton is a great batting that keeps light and white fabrics bright. If you want more loft, layer the bleached cotton batting on top of another batting.
When making a dark quilt, it is important that a light colored batting fibers not show through the stitching or any woven fabrics. If this is a concern, use a black batting. This guarantees that any bearding will be less noticeable and keeps a dark quilt looking better longer.
What type of Binder does my batting need?
Binders hold the fibers of a batting together and help prevent the fibers from working their way through the fabric (bearding). Hobbs uses a resin bonding process on most of their battings.
A scrim is a stabilizer added to one side of a batting by needle punching it into the batting. This helps bond short fibers like cotton.
What type of care does the batting require?
If the quilt will be heavily used and needs to be laundered regularly, a polyester batting is up to the task. It will go through wash after wash and come out looking great, same size, same loft.
Quilts with cotton and wool batts need less heat and are subject to shrinkage if not air dried.
Be sure to check a batting’s packaging for care instructions as they can be dependent on the manufacturer.