In a previous article about quilting fabric I briefly mentioned batting, but in this article, I’m going to talk about how to choose the right batting.
It’s important to choose the right kind of batting, many new quilters don’t realize the importance, or know there are many different kinds of batting.
Now, as I said previously, batting is the “sandwich filling” of a quilt, the bit that goes in the middle between your pieced quit top and the back. It’s also the part that creates the warmth, insulation and weight of your quilt.
The quilt sandwich is usually pinned round the edges, or special clips can be used to secure the sandwich temporarily, Wonder Clips are very popular. Once the sandwich is secured it is then sewn together, this can be done by hand or with a sewing machine designed for quilting. There are many different ways of doing this, free motion, stitch in the ditch, tieing etc which I won’t go into here. Just make sure you do a good job whatever method you use. After all your hard work you don’t want your “sandwich” to fall apart after a few uses!
Choosing the right batting can also affect the finished look of your quilt and also mean the difference between a successful or unsuccessful project.
Why spend days or weeks on your design, piecing etc. and then use any old batting in the sandwich, that makes no sense to me! Take some time to research and learn about the best batting for you project.
Types of Batting
In brief, these are the different kinds of batting available:
As you can see, batting is available in several different types of fiber. Polyester tends to stand up to repeated washing while retaining the high loft. It tends to be better for people with allergies being mostly hypo-allergenic. It’s also suitable for machine or hand quilting.
Cotton has a lower loft, but is generally more popular because it’s made of natural fibers. This means it’s a “breathing” fabric which lets you stay cooler in the summer, but also keeping you warm in winter. Because cotton batting tends to clump it’s better for machine quilting, not hand tying.
Wool batting is like cotton in that it “breathes”, but is more suited to hand tying. It’s manufactured in 2 different ways, needle punched and bonded. If you need your quilt to stand up to hard use then needle punched batting is best. Thousands of needles are used in piercing and interlocking the fabric, this results in a much firmer and heavier batting than a bonded one. Bonded wool batting is where the layers are glued together with a special bonding agent. It’s cheaper and fine for light use, but I wouldn’t use it on anything that’s going to get a lot of use.
My preferred quilt batting is cotton (like many other quilters!) with it’s softness and warmth.
Buying Your Batting
You can buy your batting in any quantity, obviously, as is usually the case, bulk buying is more cost effective.
You can buy it precut to a size of you choosing, or rolled on a tube for larger quantities which you cut to size yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to buy your batting pre-cut, specifying single, queen, full etc.
Shop around for the best prices and look for special offers on bulk buys. Because Amazon now stocks products from other companies you’ll find lots of bargains there. I quite often find bulk bargains on Ebay too. If you’re lucky enough to have a local quilting store then its always a good idea to support a local business. Unfortunately, I don’t have a quilt store near to me so most of my quilting notions and tools are purchased on-line.
Finally, take a bit of time learning about batting, it’s just as important to the finished result of your quilt as all the work that goes into it.