The range of types of quilt batting is very wide including polyester, cotton, silk, cotton/polyester blend, bamboo, wool, etc. Fortunately, with many types come many options. Therefore, it is easy for you to find the perfect batting type for your project among all these choices.
Quilt batting, which is also known as quilt wadding or quilt padding, is the middle layer of the three layers of a quilt. Batting provides the thickness of the quilt. Most importantly, this is the part that produces the warmth. As there are several types of batting, you should choose the one that is appropriate for your purpose.
Types of Quilt Batting
Among the many different types of batting available in the markets, some are cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend, alpaca, wool, silk, bamboo, etc. However, cotton and polyester batting are the most popular quilt batting for their affordability.
One of the most common types of batting is polyester batting. Because it is used for various purposes and needs. Starting from an art quilt, craft size project, to even a bed quilt. It comes with thicknesses of – 1″ (10 oz), 1/2″ (6 oz), 3/4″ (8 oz), and 3/8″ (4 oz). It is available in white and black.
Polyester batting is thicker but lighter than many other battings. So, it will provide warmth without the weight which is comfortable to many of us. It also maintains its thickness and shape compared to other fibers. Furthermore, it can resist molds and other fungi. Most importantly, it is affordable, easy to quilt, and quite durable.
Polyester batting is not breathable. Thus, it does not allow much air to breathe through. As a result, it can get overheated sometimes.
Cotton batting is made from natural fibers. It is heavier than polyester and comes in different thickness levels from low loft to high loft. This batting is readily available almost anywhere. 100% cotton batting is usually 1/8” thick. You can find cotton available in natural, black, and bleached.
Unlike polyester, cotton has good breathability. Cotton batting is very good for quilters and quite inexpensive as well. Additionally, they are soft and comfortable and drape very well too. It is ideal for traditional and heirloom quilting, and it gets softer over time.
Sometimes cotton battings may have seeds and plant residue which can release oil and stain the quilt. Like many other battings, this batting shrinks 3-5% when washed.
In general, polyester is used around 10% in silk battings to stabilize the silk and decrease shrinkage. Silk is usually thicker than cotton batting. Nevertheless, it is breathable and washable. Usually, it does not shrink so much. You can effortlessly use it in alternate of wool and down. It comes in natural and black.
Silk batting is one of the most breathable battings on the market and also more breathable than cotton. Consequently, silk batting is a good choice for quilted garments. It drapes quite nicely as well. Most importantly, it has an excellent body, is lightweight, and is good for hand quilting as well as machine quilting.
However, silk is expensive and is not widely available in fabric stores. Moreover, exposure to direct sunlight can cause some damage to it.
The most common cotton/polyester blends are 80% cotton and 20% polyester. 50/50 cotton/polyester also can be seen in fabric stores. It can be found from low to medium loft. And these blends are available in white and black batting.
As it has some natural fibers, it has good breathability. It also resists fiber migration. In addition to these, it is also good for both hand quilting and machine quilting.
Cotton/polyester blend quilts often show shrinkage.
Wool batting is made of fibers from different animal breeds. As it is largely used for its warmth, as a consequence, it is great for cool and damp climates. It is very stiff so it can hold its shape. In fact, wool batting is ½” thick. Hand quilters use more wool battings than machine quilters. It is available in black and natural.
It is made naturally and is also resistant to creases. It can be easily tied as well. Most importantly, wool batting quilt can comfortably be used a year around. It is lightweight and absorbs moisture. Finally, its resiliency enhances quilting stitches.
As some people are allergic to wool, wool batting quilts can be uncomfortable to them. Sometimes it may have an inconsistent loft. It is also more expensive than cotton and polyester.
Bamboo batting is made from 50% bamboo and 50% organic cotton. It is processed into luxurious fiber for batting using pollution-free methods with little waste. This bamboo/cotton blend feels better than any other battings. Indeed it is excellent for machine quilters. It is available in natural and white.
This fiber is non-allergenic compared to cotton, polyester, and other fibers. Bamboo batting breathes well also. It is also soft and drapes well. What makes this more attractive is that bamboo batting is eco-friendly.
It is more expensive than the others.
Choosing Your Quilt Batting Type
Firstly, choose according to your budget. Polyester is the most inexpensive followed by cotton. On the other hand, wool falls on the expensive side. However, if you are looking for warmth, then wool is the best option for you. Polyester comes in second for warmth followed by cotton.
Secondly, you should notice the loft which is used to measure the thickness and weight. When you are creating a project of flatter appearances like placemats or wall hangings, you should go for low or thin loft-like bamboo. But in the case of fluffier projects like a comforter, high loft-like wool is the appropriate choice for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can polyester batting be washed?
Yes, you can wash polyester batting. However, it is preferable to use a mild detergent. Because bleach is most likely to damage the fabric and the finish as well.
2. How do you tell right from the wrong side of batting?
There is a correct and wrong side to needle-punched batting. Examine your batting closely to see whether it has been needle-punched. The surface has been needle-punched if it appears to have tiny dimples in it. The one with all the small dimples is the right side.
3. Should you wash cotton batting before making a quilt?
Although most batting can be prewashed, it is not required. Modern quilt batting is made to resist shrinking or shrink as little as possible.
4. How do you get wrinkles out of quilt batting?
Toss the batting in the dryer with a moist towel for a quick and easy solution or spray the creases with water. Allow it to tumble for 5–10 minutes on low, then spread out the batting, smooth it flat, and set aside for a few hours. There may be some minor creases, but they are normally unnoticeable.
However, these are not the only types of quilt batting as there are many more. For instance, fusible, alpaca, blend, flannel, etc. Also, use batting that is larger than the top of the quilt but smaller than the back. Therefore, you will still have batting around the quilt’s edge and in the binding even if anything shifts.