Batting is what makes a quilt warm
and snuggly. There are many kinds of batting, and it can be
confusing to a new quilter trying to decide which kind to buy.
One of the first things you must
decide is how you plan on putting your quilt together. Are you
going to tie it, machine quilt it, or perhaps send it out to be finished
on a long arm quilting machine?
If you are going to tie your quilt,
you can use a thicker batting. In general, if you are going to
machine quilt it yourself, you need to use thinner batting.
I have a Janome sewing machine that
was made for a quilting frame. It can go through the thickest
batting, using the walking foot, and it doesn't make a single pucker.
This Janome sewing machine can't even do a zig-zag, but what it does do,
it does very well.
If you are planning on having
someone else quilt your project, they will provide the batting, or else
tell you what they recommend.
Batting also differs in the
recommended space between quilting stitches. A lot of the
polyester prepackaged batting recommends quilting every 2-4 inches.
On the other hand, the flannel type batting ("Warm and Natural")
needs less securing, and can be tied or stitched at 6 or more inches
Always read the label. It
will give you the recommended quilting distances. It will also
tell you if it is high loft, medium loft, etc. Be careful of the
terms. They can be misleading. Look for the little chart
that shows you the exact inches of the height of the batting.
It is also important that your
batting be smooth before you use it. If you buy it in a plastic
bag, take it out of the bag for at least 24 hours before you use it.
Your batting, like your backing,
should be about 4-inches wider on each side of your quilt.
Here are some specifics on the
different types of batting:
Polyester Batting - Polyester is
inexpensive and comes in a wide range of sizes.
Just be careful when you buy polyester batting. Make sure it is
good quality batting. If you buy very inexpensive batting, it may
"beard" on you. That means that some of the batting fibers will
come through to the outside of the quilt. Been there, done that-
and it is not pretty!
Cotton Batting - Cotton is
great for machine quilting. It is very warm, even when thin, and it
washes well. You do have to quilt the stitches or tie it closer
together. However, when washed it puckers up and gives a nice
old-fashion look to your quilt.
Cotton and Polyester Blends-
Combines some of the best qualities of both of the above. Look for
mostly cotton with 25% or less polyester.
Silk Batting- Silk batting is
expensive. It is usually reserved for clothing.