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How-to

Choosing the Right Batting

Oct 29, 2008
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Choose the right batting for your quilt

by Mary Stori
An Online Extra to Threads #93, pp. 49-51

There are many different types of batting from cotton, polyester and wool to silk, and various blends. The batting’s loft (how thick it is), fiber content, shrinkage, and manufacturing process all affect the quality of your stitches. Ask what type of batting other quilters use, and as you experiment with various kinds, keep track of which type works best for you.

The thinnest batting allows for the smallest stitches. Thicker batting can be so dense it’s hard to get a needle through it. Some are so spongy and full of holes they offer no substance to hold the stitch in place. The ease of stitching will differ between a 100% cotton batting and one made from silk or wool.

In the batting chart below, “quilting interval” refers to the distance between lines of quilting stitches, and “bearding” to the migration of batting fibers through the surface of the quilt.

Batting chart: readily available batting and its characteristicsBrandFiber contentPrewash

Quilting interval*

CommentsFairfield Classic80% cotton/
20% polyester

Presoak; dry in dryer

3 in. to 4 in.
apart 1-1/8 in. thick, bonded to reduce bearding**Fairfield Low-Loft 100% polyester

No

3 in. to 4 in.
apartBonded to reduce bearding**

Fairfield Soft Touch

100% cotton

No

2 in. apartNon-allergenic; very thin; drapes well; good for clothingHobbs Heirloom Cotton 80% cotton/
20% polyester

Yes

3 in. apart

For an antique look, don’t prewash; 5% shrinkage

Hobbs Heirloom Wool Batt100% wool

No

3 in. apart

Good insulator, breathes, stain and mildew-resistant, long wearing Hobbs Organic Cotton 100% cotton

Yes

2 in. apart

Chemical-free, non-allergenicWithout Scrim Hobbs Thermore100% polyester

No

3 in. to 4 in.
apartVery thin, lightweight; drapes well; good for clothing; does not beard**Kelsul Quilters Cotton100% cotton

No

Up to 8 in.
apart

Comes in four different weights; needles easily; wears well

Morning Glory100% cotton

Yes

4 in. to 6 in.
apart

Unbleached cotton; shrinks less than 1%Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon Cotton100% cotton

No

1-1/2 in. to
2 in. apartDoes not beard**; antique appearanceMountain Mist Quilt Light100% polyester

No

3 in. to 4 in.
apartBonded to reduce bearding**Silk Batt100% silk

No

1-1/2 in.
apartLightweight, “adheres” to fabric, so little basting is required; wash only in cold waterWarm & Natural100% cotton

Yes

Up to 10 in. apartDoes not separate, bunch, or beard**; 1% shrinkage

* Quilting interval refers to the distance between lines of quilting stitches
** Bearding refers to the migration of batting fibers through the surface of the quilt.

Main Article: Perfect Your Hand-Quilting Stitch

 

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  2. BoobooRooster January 27th

    Just wondering what specific batting is easiest to hand quilt. I don't like the warm & natural as I find it very difficult, so far I've only been able to quilt with the low loft 100% polyester...is there anything better that's easy to hand quilt?

  3. doodle78 November 13th

    I love any and all quilting instructions I can find. I never thought about differneces in the batting. Enjoyed that bit of info very much.

  4. Grandparent February 17th

    This article was the most informative I've found during my search of "Choosing the Right Batting".

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