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Choosing the Right Batting

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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  1. Grandparent | | #1

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

  2. doodle78 | | #2

    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.

  3. BoobooRooster | | #3

    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?

  4. hsipdasex | | #4

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