Choosing the Right Batting - Threads

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Choosing the Right Batting

Choose the right batting for your quilt

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 characteristics
Brand Fiber content Prewash
Quilting interval*
Comments
Fairfield Classic 80% 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.
apart
Bonded to reduce bearding**

Fairfield Soft Touch

100% cotton
No
2 in. apart Non-allergenic; very thin; drapes well; good for clothing
Hobbs Heirloom Cotton 80% cotton/
20% polyester
Yes
3 in. apart

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

Hobbs Heirloom Wool Batt 100% 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-allergenic
Without Scrim Hobbs Thermore 100% polyester
No
3 in. to 4 in.
apart
Very thin, lightweight; drapes well; good for clothing; does not beard**
Kelsul Quilters Cotton 100% cotton
No
Up to 8 in.
apart

Comes in four different weights; needles easily; wears well

Morning Glory 100% cotton
Yes

4 in. to 6 in.
apart

Unbleached cotton; shrinks less than 1%
Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon Cotton 100% cotton
No
1-1/2 in. to
2 in. apart
Does not beard**; antique appearance
Mountain Mist Quilt Light 100% polyester
No
3 in. to 4 in.
apart
Bonded to reduce bearding**
Silk Batt 100% silk
No
1-1/2 in.
apart
Lightweight, "adheres" to fabric, so little basting is required; wash only in cold water
Warm & Natural 100% cotton
Yes
Up to 10 in. apart Does 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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Comments (3)

BoobooRooster BoobooRooster writes: 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?
Posted: 5:33 pm on January 27th

doodle78 doodle78 writes: 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.
Posted: 9:58 am on November 13th

Grandparent Grandparent writes: This article was the most informative I've found during my search of "Choosing the Right Batting".
Posted: 1:57 pm on February 17th

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