choosing batting
choosing batting

Choosing Quilt Batting explained for the beginner

And a refresher for everyone else.

Do you have a favorite batting that you use all the time in every quilt you make? Or do you just use what you find on sale? If so, you might miss out on some great batting you haven’t tried yet.

At one time I only used 100% cotton because I loved the crinkled old look I got when washed, but now I use many types of batting depending on what I will use the quilt for.
 
Here you will find a list of questions that should help you pick batting appropriate for your next quilt and hopefully, you will try some different batting next time.
 
I mention Quilters Dream Batting because I sell it, you do not have to purchase batting from me when I quilt for you. You are welcome to bring or send me batting with your quilt top but I will not go shopping for you for another brand.

Some key questions to think about before deciding on your batting.

What is the quilt to be used for?

Before you decide what batting you are going to need think about what it will be used for.

If it is a show quilt you want it to shine. The quilting can enhance the quilt top, but the batting will make or break it. If the batting is too flat, the quilting won’t show and it will be flat so if you are quilting it or paying for someone to quilt it custom you want that fancy stitching to pop. 

I recommend a wool batting such as Quilters Dream Wool or Hobbs Heirloom Wool or consider Quilters Dream Puff.

This quilt below was for our guild in California, look at the beautiful dimension the wool batting gives it.

heirloom custom quilting

This quilt is one that I designed and quilted with cotton batting. I regret not using wool to give it more dimension and have considered taking all the quilting out and re quilting it with wool. See how flat it looks, it would be much better with wool batting.

If it is a wall hanging, then you want something that will hold its shape and not be too flimsy. It also depends on what type of quilting you will have on it. As the show quilting topic mentions, if you are having custom quilting on it, you will want it to shine. 

I recommend a wool batting such as Quilters Dream Wool or Hobbs Heirloom Wool or consider Quilters Dream Puff. You can also quilt with a double layer of batting such as Quilters Dream Wool or Quilters Dream Puff on top of Quilters Dream Cotton, this will make it stiff. 

It depends on the look you want; I have used cotton, wool and 80/20 blends before with fair results. I have also regretted using cotton with custom quilting and realized it is flat and doesn’t show the quilting to its full potential.

I consider anything you use daily or that will be washed often as a utilitarian quilt. Some examples would be a quilt you keep on the sofa in the family room that gets snuggled under during moving night, the picnic quilt you take with you to the lake, beach or park or the quilt you take to football games to watch the kids play. 

If this is the type of quilt you are making the batting will need to be washable, I believe all of them now days are washable but some stand up to frequent washing better than others. If it is to be washed often you will need to keep that in consideration and maybe choose a cotton/poly blend or 100% cotton and not wool, silk or a blend of them.

If it is a bed quilt then it will depend on the look you want and if custom quilted (as mentioned before you want that custom quilting to show or you wouldn’t be putting it on the quilt) you will want the batting to enhance the quilting. 

This is the quilt on my bed year round that has Quilters Dream Wool batting in it, I custom quilted it.

Debra's quilt Butterfly Kisses with wool batting
Debra’s quilt Butterfly Kisses with wool batting

It looks great, but so do the quilts I have that I used 100% cotton that crinkled up when I washed them so they look like vintage quilts, I love that look. I also love the quilts I used 80/20 cotton/poly blends in. 

They all have different looks and all have a place; you just need to figure out what look you like. I use Quilters Dream Cotton or Quilters Dream 80/20 cotton/poly blend in quilts that have pantographs or free-motion edge-to-edge quilting and Quilters Dream Wool in my custom quilted bed quilts.

If you are quilting for a baby, then you want the quilt to be soft and cuddly and you also want it to be safe. Most baby quilts are quilted knowing they will be used and washed often. 

Quilters Dream Angel Flame Retardant Quilt Batting is made of fibers that are specially engineered to be inherently flame retardant. The fibers are designed not to melt or flow when in contact with the flame. It can be machine washed and dried and will not lose the flame retardant quality. This is the best choice for safety, but any cotton or cotton/poly blend has always been acceptable. 

I would never recommend using wool, silk, bamboo or any green batting such as Quilters Dream Green made from recycled plastic bottles. 

More questions you might need to consider.

My bed quilt has Quilters Dream Wool in it and I sleep under it year round, I add extra quilts when it gets really cold and still enjoy snuggling under it in the summer air conditioning. 

Many quilts that are custom quilted fall short of their potential when you use a flat batting, it just can’t show off the amazing detail that a fuller batting such as Quilters Dream Wool or Quilters Dream Puff can give.

If yes the batting will need to be washable (I believe all of them are washable) but if washed often you will need to keep that in consideration and maybe choose a cotton/poly blend or 100% cotton and not wool.

Dream Angel Flame Retardant Quilt Batting is made of fibers that are specially engineered to be inherently flame retardant. The fibers are designed not to melt or flow when in contact with flame. It can be machine washed and dried and will not loose the flame retardant quality.

Quilters Dream Wool gives great loft and dimension for custom quilting.
Quilters Dream Orient is a blend of Bamboo, silk, cotton and Botanic Tencel and is soft and silky.

Quilters Dream Green is batting made 100% from recycled plastic bottles and it is nice and soft. 1 pound of batting keeps 10 plastic bottles out of the landfill.

Choose quilt batting for different type of quilts doesn't have to be confusing.

What I hope you got from this article is that you can use different batting and might happy with the results if you do. 
 
I hope this has helped you step out of your comfort zone and try some different batting in your next quilt. 

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