The Fabric Depot Official Guide to Batting

Fabric Depot Guide to Batting

Welcome back everyone! We are kicking off our blog re-launch with a repost and update of our most popular blog post: The Official Guide to Batting. High-Loft Poly Bonded, what? Low-Loft 100% Cotton Needled, who? Let our amazing quilters breakdown everything you need to know about the complex world of batting. We had three of our most experienced quilters share their expertice and advice on when and why certain batting is best for all your different quilting projects. By the time you read this post, you too will be a batting expert! 

Before we start, let's have a little Batting 101: 

Fabric Depot Guide to Batting

Now that you know the batting basics, we can start getting into the nitty gritty of choosing the right batting. We compiled insights and expert advice from three of our best Fabric Depot quilters. Each one specializes in a different kind of technique: Hand quilting, standard machine quilting, and long-arm quilting.

With over 25 years of hand quilting experience, Paula has several personal preferences when it comes to batting.

For hand quilting I like wool batting. It needles easily (the needle goes through with little resistance) and the finished product has dimension, which helps show off my work. Wool batting is lighter weight and holds the heat in better than cotton or cotton blends. When wool batting is washed and dried properly, shrinkage is minimal and again, it shows off the quilting.

If I am doing a "rescue" of an old quilt, I use 100% Cotton batting. The loft and shrinkage of this batting is closest to the type of batting or "wadding" that most vintage quilters used (circa 1930).

I have never pre-washed a batting. I like the look that the slight shrinkage of the batting gives the quilt. Most modern quilt batting is pretty stable, so shrinkage is minimal.

100% Polyester batting needles very easily, so I usually encourage beginners to start out on it with a practice piece like a pillow top, or small baby quilt. 

My second choice for batting is Hobbs Heirloom Batting – it is 80% Cotton 20% Polyester. The polyester helps give the batting more loft than 100% cotton batting, gives the quilt a softer drape and is easier to needle. When washed, the heirloom batting shrinks just enough to give the quilt the look of an heirloom quilt. I also use this batting for my machine quilting projects.

We also talked to Charlane and Ardis, two of our other batting experts. Ardis uses her standard sewing machine at home to finish her quilts while Charlane uses a long-arm quilting machine. Like Paula, Charlane likes to use a wool and polyester blend (80/20). Ardis prefers the Warm and Natural batting from Warm Company. Depending on the quilt they both love wool batting because of the light weight and warm quality it has.

Charlane prefers to use the Dream Cotton batting by Quilters Dream Batting for wall hangings because it creates the perfect stiff texture while remaining light weight.

Finding the perfect batting for you takes time, it often comes down to preference – what do you want from batting? Light weight, heavy weight, thick, thin -- the list goes on? Ask your friends and teachers what their favorite types of batting are. Also, test some different batting out for yourself. Soon enough you will know the right batting for each project!

Shop our large selection of batting in-store and online:

Warm & Natural

Hobbs Heirloom

Quilter's Dream


Ann Roadarmel

March 31, 2018 at 8:58 AM

I like to keep the new look after laundering quilted items. I started out with Hobbs 100 percent cotton batting when I took my first quilt lesson as recommended by the teacher. I have bound most of my quilts with it and it has held up very well and I have achieved my desired look after laundering. I do not like the old fashioned wrinkled look. Lately for small items I have been using Pellon's iron on batting in the heavier weight--don't know number right at present time. It is especially nice for purses. Any of the heavier weights is nice. I also use Warm and Natural on various smaller items from wall hanging quilts down. They have worked for me. I did launder batting one time before using it. Disaster disaster disaster. Don't do it no matter what. I explicitely followed di ections and had a bunch of pieces everywhere..A REAL MESS!!!! i AM 85 YEARS OF AGE NOW AND i WAS QUILTING WHEN FLANNEL SHEETS WERE USED FOR BATTING. More seriously since 1993 when I retired. I know a little--but not much.


Sylvianne Revet

March 31, 2018 at 9:32 AM

My favorite is Hobbs Heirloom for all my projects. I did use a 100% polyester on my latest project as I wanted white as my quilt had a lot of white fabric. I had a lot of trouble basting it with the temporary basting glue 505. I was told to iron the sandwich so the glue would baste better. The batting just absorbed the spray and the the fabric didn't adhere! live and learn'


dorothy bronson

March 31, 2018 at 10:01 AM

Is there a right and wrong side to batting? I have been told this by experts but cant figure out which side to put up or down.



April 3, 2018 at 4:02 AM

Thanks for this! As a new quilter, I'm over here wishing I had paid more attention when I spent my childhood watching Grandma make quilts. This is a great explanation of batting types and cool new terms (like scrim)!