Shop Talk: A Simple Guide to Quilt Batting with Jamie
by Jamilyn Turner
When I first started quilting, I really didn’t know much about batting. I had just finished the top of my very first quilt and was excited to set out to purchase what was needed for the inner layer. I went to my local box store and picked up a bag of polyester batting.
At the time, I didn’t know that there was any other batting types available, but I sewed my quilt, hand quilted it myself and gave it to a friend who was moving away. I wasn’t sure why it didn’t look like the quilts I had seen elsewhere as mine was “fluffier” than I had anticipated. I later learned that polyester has a higher loft, weight and thickness, than other natural-fiber battings.
My friend later moved back into the area and I was able to get a photo of my very first quilt with her.
I quickly found out through another friend, that the effect I was wanting would come from using a cotton batting. After researching further, there were more battings out there than I realized! I like having what I need on hand and ready, so I ended up buying a whole roll of Warm & Natural cotton batting (because being a Texas-girl, we do everything bigger!) I loved my big roll of cotton batting, and already felt like an accomplished quilter to have batting enough for several quilts at my fingertips. Cotton fiber batting gives that extra antique “quilty” feel, especially after washing and drying, and I love it! Plus, cotton is great for year round use, because it’s warm and cozy but not too heavy. It’s thinner than polyester and drapes well.
Within the last couple of years I discovered 100% wool batting made by Dream. I love wool clothes and the warmth they provide, which made me think "why wouldn’t I want it in my quilts as well"? I like the warmth and slight loft that the wool gives and unlike cotton batting, it’s less likely to crease when folded. Since wool is a natural fiber it also breaths well. Wool is now my “go to” for all my winter and Christmas quilts.
Speaking of Christmas quilts, they are my favorite to sew and I like to jokingly say that “I plan on dying with the most Christmas quilts!”
An overview of Jamie’s thoughts on batting for beginners:
Cotton – shrinks to give that antique “quilty” effect, warm yet light and breathable. Great for hand quilting or machine quilting.
Wool – warm and breathable.
Polyester – budget batting. High loft for a fluffy effect.