quilt batting- what's in your roll? | Patchwork Posse #quilt #diy #sewing
quilting Quilting 101 Becky  

Quilt Batting- What’s on Your Roll?

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Quilt Batting can be intimidating.  I find myself in the aisle of all the pre packaged and rolled quilt batting in a daze.  I usually stand there, mouth gaping, wondering what do I like? What is my favorite?  What size do I need?


quilt batting- what's in your roll? | Patchwork Posse #quilt #diy #sewing

Before we get into the types of batting lets talk about thickness.  Batts are available in differing weights and thicknesses called “loft.” Low loft means thin. High loft means thick.  Pretty cut and dry.

Choose low loft if you want your quilt to have a flatter appearance. This batting works well for wallhangings, placemats, or lap quilts. 

For a fluffier quilt, choose a high-loft batt. There are a few different degrees of high-loft.  Make sure you check it out and know what you are getting. I would also suggest asking your machine quilter for their opinion.  Some super high-loft batts are not easy to quilt and can cause a lot of problems with the machine and the stitches.

Types of Quilt Batting-

  • Polyester – Polyester battings are thicker but lighter than cotton batts. But don’t let that fool you. Polyester keeps you warm without the extra weight. Be careful, though. Polyester fibers don’t breathe, so you can overheat in a hurry. Polyester fibers are stronger and more stable than cotton fibers. Polyester also holds it shape better, even with repeated washings. Best of all, it resists mold and mildew.  There is no shrinkage with poly batting.  
  • Cotton – Low Loft, but appearances can be deceiving. Although cotton batting is thin, it’s also heavier than polyester batting.  You’ll have to do a little more quilting on cotton than polyester. That’s because cotton fibers shift and beard while you’re quilting. Bearding happens when the cotton fibers in the batting separate and push up through your fabric. To avoid this, keep your quilting stitches 1/4″ to 1/2″ apart.  Cotton also is a shrinker!  It can shrink up to 5%.  I personally like the puckered look after the first wash, but beaware that it will come when you go with this content.
  • Cotton/Polyester Blend – The Best of Both Worlds.  Minimal shrinking, not too heavy or light, warm, resistant to nature…. it’s pretty darn nice
  • Wool batting is used for its warmth.  Wool batting is a natural and lofty option. It holds its shape and it springs back.  It’s excellent for hand and machine quilting, and can also be tied.  I have used this for my boys quilts {actually it was an old wool blanket, and they love it! Super heavy though, but keeps them toasty}.
  • Bamboo batting is made from 50% bamboo and 50% organic cotton blend batting. Bamboo batting is very breathable and ideal for machine quilting. It’s machine washable with 2-3% shrinkage. Bamboo is processed into luxurious fiber using pollution-free methods with little waste.  I do find that it likes to sneak out.  You will find your quilt a little ‘hairy’ at times because the fibers can sneak past the cotton fabric.
  • Bonded batting has a light adhesive on both sides to hold fibers together. This helps so the batting won’t shift or beard. Bearding is when batting fibers push through the fabric.
  • Fusible batting contains a fusible web so you can baste layers together. When using fusible batting layer quilt backing, batting and quilt top together. Follow the instructions when using this.  I used this a lot when I started quilting and used my standard sewing machine.  It worked great and allowed me to skip the pinning all together.

You will find that quilt batting comes in different forms too- you can purchase them on the roll {watch the width size and contents when you buy it} or you can buy it pre cut and packaged for you.  The pre packaged will have creases in it from the folds.  I have heard of putting them in the dryer to release the creases, but have never tried it.

Also- when you buy your batting, make sure it is larger than your quilt top.  It has a tendancy to shift and stretch or shrink when machine quilting and you don’t want to end up with one corner without batting! {I am for sure not speaking from experience here. wink, wink}.


Did you know that there is dark quilt batting? Yes, there is!  If you have a quilt that is all dark colors {think civil war} you can use a dark batting.  It will help deepen the colors and make the quilt richer/darker looking.  I would stay away from this though if you have light background fabric in it. The batting will show through!

Need help putting those little bits of batting together to make it big enough for your project?  Here is a tutorial all about it.

Q & A- Have you found your true love batting? What kind? Have any hints, tips for the rest of us?  Share it in the comments-

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4 thoughts on “Quilt Batting- What’s on Your Roll?

  1. Angela

    Super informative, will be pinning for later! thank you! http://www.handmadeintheheartland.com

  2. Deby at So Sew Easy

    This was really useful Becky, thanks for taking the time to do all this to explain the differences to us newbies.

  3. Becky

    you are so welcome Deby– 🙂

  4. Liz Barno

    Can the polyester or poly/cotton batting be used in potholders?

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