The Official Guide to Batting

Guide to Getting To Know Batting

Our expert quilters are here to give you some inside advice on when and why certain batting is best for different quilting projects.

First, let's get some facts.


Batting Basics by Fabric Depot

We asked three of our expert quilters here at Fabric Depot. Each quilter 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.

Charlane and Ardis are both talented quilters here at Fabric Depot. 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? 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:

Hobbs Batting Selection Quilter's Dream Selection Warm Company Selection


*Hobbs Heirloom Batting is availble in-store. To order by phone, please contact our Special Orders Department at 503-252-6267.

Tags:  batting , tips



April 20, 2015 at 10:02 PM

Do you know what primaloft is like for quilting



June 3, 2015 at 6:10 PM

I'm looking for a heavy weight batting for my grandson; what is the heaviest weight per yard?


Fabric Depot

June 3, 2015 at 8:17 PM

@bj Thanks for the question! We would suggest polyester. Polyester batting is thick but light, so you will get a high loft and warmth, without a lot of weight . (when you ask about 'heaviest weight' we assume you are looking for warmth). Please email us at info @ with questions!


Mary L Jones

June 5, 2015 at 2:44 PM

I would like to thank you for the recycle pop bottle batting.. i hand quilt and it is so easy to quilt through
talk about warm.....It is wonderful i love it and the price is right too.....Also it is light when quilted.



June 18, 2015 at 7:34 PM

Thanks for the in depth explanation about batting types, uses etc. I have been quilting for 10 years and I still get confused with some battings as there are so many out there now. Generally however, I use a poly for babies & toddlers, and cotton battings for all other things I make. I find if you use a cotton batting in a baby quilt, by the time you have it quilted or have minkie or flannel on the back, it weights too much too put on a baby - it would be like putting a baby under a slab of concrete. So it has confused me as to why many designer quilts by quilt designers use this type of batting. There is always something to learn.



June 20, 2015 at 12:37 AM

Thank you for putting this useful guide together! I was completely lost when I purchased quilt batting for the first time, and I'm not sure I bought the right thing. This will help for future projects.


Colette Larimer

July 14, 2015 at 10:09 AM

I am interested in making very light weight quilts for summer use. any suggestions for batting ,and alternative backing would be welcome.


Kari S

July 16, 2015 at 5:40 AM

I am moving to eastern Europe, where I will experience very cold winds, snow and temperatures that can be below zero. I am making a liner for my long wool coat that will have some kind of batting sandwiched between fabric. What type of batting would you use for the liner?


Vera Burns

July 22, 2015 at 9:42 PM

I would like a batting that is very thin, easy to hand quilt and is soft and drapeable like old, well used quilts.


Teresa Coates

July 23, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Personally, I prefer the Quilters Dream Cotton: Request for my hand-quilting work. It has a much better hand and the needle slides through easily. I’ve used it several times and was recommended to me by another hand-quilter.

You can find it online and is available in several sizes:



July 26, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Can you use bamboo batting for heat insulating projects?



September 2, 2015 at 5:13 AM

My grandmother had a relatively simple quilt, nothing fancy, but when you pulled it over yourself in bed it felt heavy enough to almost restrict my 7-year-old breathing/movement. Not a bean-filled compression quilt, or anything, just some seriously dense batting. Any idea what might have been in there?


Teresa Coates

September 2, 2015 at 6:11 PM

It very well could have been an old woolen blanket. They were often used as batting in quilts and can be very heavy indeed!


Theresa Butts

January 25, 2016 at 3:01 PM

Whats the best batting to use for potholders and coasters?


Teresa @ Fabric Depot

January 25, 2016 at 3:28 PM

We like using Insulbright ( for potholders and other projects that need a bit of a heat barrier.



February 26, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Living in Southern California, the first quilt I made had cotton batting, but was too warm to sleep under! In the last 30 years of quilting I've drifted into the poly batting world to keep the quilts comfortable and not too heavy. I even made a quilt with a batting of just flannel, very light but provides an extra layer of warmth, preshrunk before assembly. I think for most quilters it becomes a matter of personal preference. Since I don't hand quilt preferring machine quilting, needle slide isn't much of an issue for me.