The Official Guide to 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.
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 Heirloom Batting is availble in-store. To order by phone, please contact our Special Orders Department at 503-252-6267.