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BATTING BASICS


Batting, also called padding or wadding is the soft layer between the quilt top and backing that offers warmth and gives a quilt dimension and definition. Because batting comes in various thicknesses and fibers, it can make a quilt fat or puffy, stiff or easy to drape. It is available by the yard or pre-packaged to fit standard bed sizes. The batting you choose should complement the nature and use your finished quilt. Check package labels, talk to other quilters, and test samples to find a batting with the qualities that are important your project.



Quick glossary of batting terms

Some battings will specify what the desired quilting distance is between rows of quilting stitches. Use this info to your advantage when choosing the right batting for your project.

Bonded quilt battings are made with a glue or bonding adhesive, which means the batting may get looser once the quilt is washed. This usually requires close quilting lines.

Bearding is a term used to describe a batting with wispy fibers that eventually seep out of the quilt top. This shedding can be very annoying, and is a good reason to go with a high-quality quilt batting from the start.

Fusible batting is great for small projects, and can be ironed to temporarily secure it into the middle of a quilt, which will save you time basting.



Manufacturing Process

All battings start out as individual fibers that are carded and processed into a sheet or web. Without further treatment, these unbonded fibers would come apart or clump together inside a quilt, making them difficult to use. Untreated batting also would be susceptible too bearding or fiber migration, which is when the batting fibers come through the quilt top. To make a sheet or web of batting more stable and hence more usable, it is either bonded or needle punched – treatment processes that result in battings with different characteristics.


Bonding

If batting is not bonded, it can be difficult to work with and may have an uneven appearance. Bonding is when manufacturers chemically bond fibers by adding a resin or using heat. Resin bonding helps wool and polyester battings to resist bearding. The batting label should tell the type of bonding agent, typically a starch or a resin. Some bonded batts cannot be preshrunk as the bonding agent will dissipate with laundering. Bonded battings usually have a higher loft and airier appearance than needle-punched battings. A bonded batting holds up well with use and does not require extensive quilting.


Needle Punching

This treatment process is when fibers are loosely felted together by a felting process using tiny barbed needles. For additional stability, a scrim (light loosely woven fabric) may be added to the batting sheet before it is needle-punched. The loft of needle-punched batting varies according to the number of layers used in the manufacturing process.



Loft

High: Loft is the thickness of the fluffed batting. A high loft is anything above 1/2 inch, and the highest lofts come in the polyester batts. Very high lofts are more suitable for tying than hand or machine quilting. Polyester batts are warmer when their loft is left high.

Medium: The fluffed batting is somewhere between 1/4 – 1/2 inches. A common batt loft for machine and hand quilting, it shows considerable dimension. The warmth factor tends to increase with loft, but close quilting will reduce actual loft for the finished product.

Low: Any batt under 1/4 inch is a low loft batt. Low loft batts are easy to hand or machine quilt. Less dimension may show in quilt work, but low lofts offer the most traditional look. Provides all-season lightweight warmth, but a wool batt with a low loft may be warmer than a medium loft polyester batt.



Standard Batting Sizes



Craft Crib Twin Full Queen King
36" x 45" 45" x 60" 72" x 90" 81" x 96" 90" x 108" 120" x 120"


General Batting Characteristics



Batting Type Characteristic Advantages Disadvantages
100% Cotton Can give a puckered appearance if washed after quilting. Soft, drapable. Good for machine quilting or experienced quilter's fine hand quilting. Natural fiber that breathes, resists bearding. Readily available. Many have seed or plant residue that can release oils which stain fabric. Often cannot be prewashed. Shrinks 3% to 5% when washed. May be too dense for beginning hand quilters to needle.
Cotton/Poly Blends Low to medium loft. Good drape. Good for hand and/or machine quilting. Some natural fibers so it breathes. Resists bearding. Easy for beginning hand quilters to use. Some shrinkage, which may be avoided by prewashing.
Wool or Wool Blend Blend of fibers from different animals. Resillency enhances quilting stiches. Soft, drapable. Good for hand and machine quilting. Natural insulator. Preshrunk. Available in black. May have inconsistent loft, if not bonded, may need to be encased in cheesecloth or scrim.
Silk Excellent body and drape. Lightweight. Good for hand or machine quilting. Good choice for quilted garments. Can be washed. Does not shrink. Expensive. Not widely available. Damaged by exposure to direct sunlight.
Flannel 100% cotton. Lightweight, thin. Good for machine quilting. Lightweight alternative to traditional batting. Readily available. Extreme low lift limits quilting pattern development
Polyester Available in many lofts. High loft is good for tied projects. Suitable for hand and machine quilting. Resilient, lightweight. Cannot be harmed by moths or mildew. Readily available. Available in black. Synthetic fibers lack breathability.
Fusible Good for machine quilting. No need to prewash. Eliminates need for basting. Good for small projects. Limited batting types and sizes. Adds adhesive to quilt. Difficult for hand quilters to needle.
Bamboo/Bamboo Blends Thin scrim. Smooth drape. Ideal for machine quilting. Soft, silky, eco-friendly, lightweight. Made from one of the fastest-growing plants. Natural antibacterial properties. Limited availability. Limited batting types and sizes.
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Quilt Beginnings - Sawmill Road Store

LOCATION:

QUILT BEGINNINGS
6591 Sawmill Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017


STORE HOURS:

MON - THURS 10AM-6PM
FRI & SAT 10AM-5PM
CLOSED SUN


CONTACT US:

Call us! (614) 799-2688

Email: quiltbegin@aol.com