Choosing the Best Batting for Your Quilt
You’ve decided what fabrics and pattern to use. You’ve finalized the placement of all the colors and blocks and completed the quilt top. You’ve even decided how you are going to quilt it (or who is going to quilt it) and you have binding ready to go. You’re all done making decisions for your quilt, right? Nope, there is one more decision you have to make and it can play into the final quilt more than you realize.
We spend lots of time on the outside of the quilt, but how often do we stop to consider what we are going to put on the inside? Do you even realize you have multiple choices for the batting in your quilt? Many quilters have always used or thought that cotton batting was really the only choice for quilts, but that isn’t the case! There are lots of different options and each one is going to be perfect for different situations, depending on the use of the quilt and your preferences. This week, we share an assortment of different battings and some of the pros and situations in which you might want to use each one.
We have all Hobbs Batting samples today, but there are many other manufacturers as well. We do recommend Hobbs, but the most important thing is finding a brand that you like and is readily available to you. We’v also used both Quilter’s Dream and Warm and Natural battings and like both those brands as well. Each company will also have slightly different specialty types of batting, but all should carry similar variations of the basic styles.
The basic battings that most everyone has heard of are 100% cotton, 100% polyester, an a cotton/poly blend. I’ve seen the cotton/poly blend in both an 80/20 mix and a 70/30 mix (the cotton is the higher number). These are always good choices and can provide slightly different results. Any batting that has cotton in it will shrink a little, giving you that crinkly quilt look. You can also get different weights in the 100% cotton, from a very light thin batting, to a thicker and heavier batting. These will provide different lofts and different levels of warmth in the final quilt. The 100% polyester batting is going to have very minimal, if any shrinking, preventing a crinkly quilt afterwards. The Poly batting is also going to have more loft. More loft means more definition in the quilting. Anytime you want to really see the quilting, you’ll want to use a batting type with a higher loft.
Along with the basic battings, you are going to have premium battings. Some of these are going to be a cotton/wool blend (my personal favorite), 100% wool, and a silk batting. While more expensive, the benefits of these battings outweigh the added cost and can often be worth the extra expense.
I recommend taking the time to actually feel the difference in the battings and experiment with them to discover your favorite types. I like to make mini samplers with each type. That way I can see what it will be like after it’s quilted and washed, giving me a truer sample of how the finished quilt will look.
Whatever type of batting you choose, it’s useful to understand the differences so you are able to make a decision that will best suit the intended use and recipient of the quilt. I know that by spending a little time considering what batting you should use will help you create a quilt you love.