Quilt Gallery

Quilt Batting
General Information

     After spending days, months and even years making our quilt top, many quilters don’t stop and consider which batting they should use.  Most quilters find one that has worked in the past, and continue to use that one for everything, or shop for the cheapest.  What you put in the middle of your quilt is important to the look and feel of your finished project.

Before deciding on your batting, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
- What is the quilt to be used for (bed, couch, wall)?
- Is if for a baby to use (or washed often)?
- Will it EVER be washed?

How much quilting will the quilt have? (density)
    The answers will help you in deciding the correct batting to use.  There are pros and cons to the different fibers available as well as the loft.  The following are general rules of thumb and can vary, but is a good place to start.

     If the quilt is for a bed or couch, and is planned to be used, choose a batting with some loft that will add some softness and fullness to the quilt, such as a blend.  Also plan to presoak the batting according to the manufacturer’s directions to avoid shrinking and distortion later (unless you didn’t wash any of the fabric either). 

    If the quilt is for the wall, many quilters prefer a thinner batt, like 100% cotton, so it is flatter. But be aware – if you loosely quilt, or quilt designs like feathers, there may not be enough loft in the batting to fill the spaces well, giving a wrinkled look to the design.

   If the quilt is for a baby, it is probably going to be washed a lot.  For these quilts some of the polyester batts work well, but select one that is soft. You don’t want a stiff quilt for a baby.  But just because it is soft on the bolt when you purchase it, does not mean that it is soft as in drape.  I have felt wonderfully soft polyesters, that after they are quilted in the quilt, it is like cardboard.  Battings like 80/20 also work well, just remember to wash, or presoak them first according to the directions.

    Will you ever wash your quilt?  I always wash mine when done, and block them.  Washing removes starch, sizing, glue, marks and any other clever tip I’ve ever heard of from the quilt.  Always read the package for washing instructions, and presoak if recommended.  I prewash the fabric, and some battings every time to avoid distortion and surprises later.

    The amount of quilting, as well as the designs  used are very important.  If you have large spaces (a couple of inches) between  your ditch work or designs, then you need a batting with a little more loft to fill in the areas.  If you don’t, the space will appear wrinkled because there is not enough batting to fill in the space (give it the poof).  Years ago, before we had the variety of products available today, quilters used cotton only.  To solve this problem, trapunto was used to stuff these areas.  We now can achieve a trapunto look without having to stuff the area. 

     If you plan dense quilting (like I do), and want feathers or other designs to pop off the quilt, then use a batt with some loft.  The areas that you don’t quilt (like a feather will then have enough to fill the space and the background will be flattened to enhance that look.  Wool and 80/20 blends work well for this.  Wool is loftier and what I used in the “Circles of Life” quilt. Most people think I did trapunto in the motifs. (A nice bonus, without the work)

I will be testing (over time) different battings.  Two (and in some cases three) samples will be quilted, then one will be washed to determine how much change occurs in the washing machine.  I am mostly concerned with the appearance, bearding, drape, and any distortion (like in shrinking) that occurs.  I will provide the results and observations that I have found, as well as manufacturers information so you can look it up when you need it.  Any other pertinent information I have learned from other quilters during my research  will also be shared.

There is no one perfect batting for every project, but hopefully this will help us determine which products to consider, and which to avoid. There are a lot of products that I have never used, so I hope to learn a lot as well. 
Linda  French

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