Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ABC of Quilting Post # 9

Today's topic is

Inside you Quilt : Batting, Batting alternatives

What you put inside your quilt - the batting or wadding as it is commonly known - is responsible for giving the quilt its final feel.Polyester batting tends to be quite bouncy while cotton or wool gives a flatter effect that drapes well...

In the good old days, people used whatever they could find to go inside the quilts... But today they are made in a range of fibers to suit your purpose.

Here's a rough list of what you can find in the market

1. 50g/2oz Polyester : A thin batting (90 cm or 36" wide) for quilt making and padding. It is useful for making padded frames and for backing embroideries to throw the design into relief.

2. 115g/4oz Polyester : The basic batting for quilts. It is inexpensive and fairly easy to quilt, but does not drape very well. It is sold off the roll or in quilt sizes.

3. 170g/6oz Polyester : A bulky batting that is too thick to sew and is used for tie quilting.

4. Firm Needle Batting : A 100% polyester batting suitable for making wall hangings and bags. It holds its shape well once quilted.

5. Polydown : A low loft, soft 100% resin-bonded, polyester batting that is very easy to stitch.

6. Thermore : A very thin 100% polyester batting that drapes well and is guaranteed not to beard.

7. Wool : This is wonderfully soft and easy to quilt, plus it drapes beautifully. Leave no more than 3" between your lines when using it. A quilt made with wood batting provides particularly good insulation, but needs hand washing or dry cleaning!

8. Poly-Cotton : Made from 80% Cotton and 20% Polyester, this batting has slight bounce from the polyester but the cotton shrinks by about 5% which gives the quilt an antique look.

9. Cotton Batting : Made from 100% cotton, is very easy to quilt and drapes beautifully. The quilts can be machine washed! The cotton shrinks by 5% giving the quilt a wonderful crinkly look.

10. Organic Cotton Batting : This environment friendly and hypo-allergic batting is best for baby quilts!

11. Bamboo Batting : This is again, an environment friendly batting that lends a beautiful drape to the quilt and provides loads of warmth!

12. Green Batting : A recent development, this batting is made from recycled plastic bottles!!! What an innovative way to help make the world greener!

But what do you use when you do not have these options available to you? I have been experimenting for a long time now. And have found some wonderful stuff to use inside my quilts to make them beautiful and warm too!

1. Flannel : The soft cotton flannel that we get in India works fine as a batting! Find the diaper ones if you can, they work the best. 

2. Shawls : The woolen shawls that we get in plenty can also be a good warm batting...

3. Felted Woolen Blankets : These are also available in plenty in India. Got for it!!! Use the colors available to the best advantage. 

4. No batting!!! : Some quilts do well without any batting too... Use a soft flannel for the backing, baste a top and go ahead!!! We can use these quilts round the year when its not super cold like it is now a days...

What you choose will depend on 1. How you intend to use the quilt? 2. How will you quilt it? 3. Other practical purposes.

1. How do you intend to use the quilt?

If the quilt is for babies, I'd suggest you go for the fire retardant version. If you are using it as a wall quilt or a floor quilt, go for Polyester... If the quilt is going to be used on the bed, you could go for a poly-cotton mix and if you are planning to snuggle under it I'd suggest you go for the woolen or Cotton Batting!

2. How will you quilt it?

If you are planning to machine quilt it, I dont think you need to worry about which one to choose. But if you are hand-quilting, you need to make sure that the batting is soft enough to hand quilt.

3. Other Practical Purposes

If you are planning machine quilt a king size quilt on your home machine, you need to roll it up and the roll will have to fit through the machine and you should be able to move it... So thats makes it plain that you need to use a low loft batting!

Whichever batting you use, it always adds warmth to the quilt, making it a memorable for someone!

Once again I quote, when you gift a quilt, you gift a hug!!!



  1. Very informative.. I'm currently quilting a Queen size quilt with polyester fleece blanket at the batting! :-)

  2. Hi Shruti,

    I am from Mumbai and I want to make my first quilt for my baby niece. I want to use the cotton batting that you suggested for babies, but I have combed the markets and can't seem to find it anywhere. Can you suggest where I can find it? is there an online store where I can find quilting supplies?



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