Whether you are an experienced quilter or if you’re new to quilting, you’ve probably heard the term “quilt batting” or just “batting.”
But what exactly is “batting”? What exactly is it for? And what type of material do you need for batting? Well, look no further. Here is a little guide to help you find out all you need to know about batting.
What is Quilt Batting?
To put it simply, batting is the layer of insulation between the top and bottom layer of the quilt. It adds a layer of thickness and extra warmth to your quilt.
As early as the 1800s, quilts have included used blankets or even older quilts as a batting layer. The top and bottom layers would typically be made from newer fabric.
Luckily today, there are plenty of options for adding batting to your newly made quilt.
What is the Best Material for Batting?
Some experts have said that wool is the best material to use for adding a batting to your quilt.
Wool has been described as warm and soft. It’s also great for Winter quilts because it doesn’t have memory, so it doesn’t keep any creases or fold lines.
This also makes it an excellent material for show quilts.
Common Materials to Use for Batting
Luckily today, we don’t have to rely only on old blankets and older quilts for batting.
There are plenty of options for adding batting to your newly made quilt. There are a variety of materials that can be used for different purposes and different types of quilts.
This is a popular material for quilters to use for batting.
The reason it’s so popular for quilts is that it’s natural and breathable while being soft and light. When you use 100% natural cotton, it will be roughly ⅛” thick.
This is an artificial material that keeps its figure and thickness.
Just be careful when using polyester because there is a downside. Polyester is known for its thickness and for being stifling.
Despite being thick, it is lighter and warmer. It’s also mould and mildew resistant.
Many quilters use polyester for batting for cribs and bedding.
If you’re planning on using polyester for your batting, you should keep in mind that the thickness will depend on the weight of the material.
Cotton/poly blends combine the best of using both cotton and polyester.
The blend is normally 20% polyester and 80% cotton. This means because there is more cotton than polyester, you’ll have a breathable batting.
Bamboo is one of the most preferred material by quilters because it’s a natural fiber that’s eco-friendly.
Normally, bamboo batting is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% bamboo. It’s great because bamboo creates breathable batting.
Just be careful when you wash it. It will shrink slightly.
Different Ways To Bond Fibres For Batting
Having bonded batting in your quilt is an excellent way to prevent your batting from shifting and bearding.
You can use different ways to bond or bind your fibres together, making batting. There are different ways of bonding fibres:
With this method, the fibres are bound together with resin or a thermal method.
For resin bonded batting, you can use different fibers such as polyester, cotton and wool.The resin is spread on both sides of the batting, and then it’s left to dry and cure.
Resin has been considered one of the better methods to prevent fibers from peeking up through the fabric.
This method uses tiny needles to interweave the batting together automatically. The needle punch method will create a batting that is stronger and denser than most batting.
Fusible batting is a useful method for when you’re trying to sew and keep all your layers aligned.
With this method, you add batting with an adhesive integrated into the material. In a normal situation, quilters would use loose pins, spray-on adhesive or even glue to keep everything aligned.
Because fusible batting doesn’t use any of these methods, it’s a perfect alternative to using loose pins. This means no more pricking your finger on a pin.
This is another method to bind batting material together.
With the Scrim Batting method, you use a thin mesh stabiliser that can be needle-punched into the batting to make it extra strong and stable. This method also used to prevent the batting and warping.
Most quilters use this method for quilting projects that will have big gaps.
Do You Need To Use Batting In A Quilt?
A batting layer isn’t a must for every quilt that you’re making.
If you live in a place that has a colder climate, batting might be good if you’re making a traditional quilt because of the extra warmth it provides.
But if you live in a country where you might have warmer days and nights, you’ll want a cooler alternative to a traditional quilt.
There is where no quilt without batting will come in handy.
Without the extra layer, the quilt will be cooler and more suitable for warmer conditions.
How To Choose Quilt Batting
There is no one type of batting that will fit all types of quilting.
Just like anything that needs to be done right, you need to think about the unique details of your quilting project.
When thinking about batting for your quilt, here are a few things you need to think about:
What Are You Using The Quilt For?
This is the very first thing you need to think about before you even start designing your quilt.
- Are you making a baby and child’s quilt?
- Are you making a child’s garment?
- Will you be making a decorative wall quilt?
Also, asking yourself these questions will be an essential factor in deciding what material you’re going to use for batting.
For example, using polyester is great for bed and crib quilts. Likewise, bamboo is highly recommended for baby quilts.
If you’re making a quilt for clothes, you should use cotton.
How Will You Make Your Quilt?
Do you want to make your quilt with your own two hands? Or will you be making a quilt with a machine?
Using a machine or your hands will affect the kind of batting you choose for your quilt. If you are hand quilting, you shouldn’t go for high-loft batting.
However, if you’re going to be machine quilting, using bamboo will be the perfect choice for you.
Loft (height) and Fibers
When we talk about the height of your quilt’s batting, we talk about loft!
High-loft quilts tend to be more puffed up while low-loft quilts are much flatter. Both options will have a different effect on how your quilt looks.
With low-loft batting and a flatter quilt, it will easily show your patchwork and quilting lines. On the other hand, in a high-loft batting the quilting lines will be more obvious.
Size of Your Quilt
Your quilt’s size will also be an essential factor when deciding what batting you need for your quilt.
Luckily, you can buy pre-packaged batting in stores. They usually have stores in standard sizes for beds such as twin and crib as well as king, queen and full size. Of course, you also have the choice of purchasing batting off the rack and adjusting it to the size you need.
How Will You Keep The Quilt Clean?
Keeping your quilt is another important concern for quilters who want to add batting.
The way you wash your quilt will affect your choice of batting fiber. This is because certain fibers will break down easier in a washing machine.
Some questions you need to ask yourself include; how often will you wash your quilt? Will you wash it in a machine or manually? And will the material shrink when it’s washed?
The best batting for washing is bonded batting. If you decide to use bamboo, you should remember it will shrink when it’s washed.
For wool batting, it’s recommended that you hand wash your quilt.
For even an experienced quilter, getting the right batting for your quilt can be a challenge.
You need to consider so many things before you decide what material you’re going to use for batting. You also first have to decide if you’re even going to need batting for your quilt.
Like with any hobby, once you’ve done your research, thanks to a helpful guide. For quilters just like you, there are plenty of choices when choosing batting material.
There are even different methods for binding your fibres together and to make sure that your batting doesn’t shrink or beard.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all these choices, you could get together with other quilters to test out the different fibres and the different bonding methods.
Testing and trying out your different options will give you more chances to practice. Then you will be able to add batting to your quilt in no time.