Batting TipsBatting is what goes in the middle of the quilt “sandwich.” Just as there are many different uses for batting so are there many different types of batting. You may choose from 100% cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend, wool, silk, etc. To help decide which to use, you may want to ask yourself a few questions first:
- What will the finished product be used for? Quilt, wall hanging, bed-spread, etc.
- Who will the end user be? Does it need to be flame retardant for children?
- Does it need to be especially warm?
- How do I want the finished quilting project to look - flat or fluffy? Contemporary or traditional?
- Do I need a light or dark batting?
- Will it be hand or machine quilted?
- How much am I willing to spend?
Things to consider:
- Fiber Content Pros and Cons
Pros Cons Machine Quilts Wonderfully. Some brands may require pre-washing to remove oils, etc. Gives the flatter look of traditional quilts. May require closer stitching. Launders without bearding or pilling Usually more expensive than polyester. Heavier once quilted, thus, may be warmer than polyester.
Pros Cons Generally less expensive. Prone to bearding and pilling. May be quilted farther apart than some types of cotton or wool batting. May be harder to machine quilt on a domestic machine due to the extra puffiness. Makes a lighter weight quilt. May tend to compress or flatten over time. Comes in a wide variety of sizes or widths. May melt or flatten somewhat if ironed too hot.
Pros Cons Easily releases fold lines
(therefore it is often used for show quilts).
One of the more expensive battings. Retains warmth even when damp. As with all wool items, may be attractive to moths. Lightweight Adds puffy texture. Handles nicely.
Blends will usually have most of the pros and cons associated with both types of fibers they are made of; however, they are generally less expensive than 100% natural fiber batting, and can often be quilted father apart.
- It is easy to needle for hand quilting
- May be easier to handle
- Creates a product that is softer and more drape-able
- Your quilt will resemble soft old traditional quilts
- Easier to achieve small even hand quilting stitches
- Adds texture to the finished product
- Gives a puffier look
- Warmer than low-loft batting but not quite as drape-able if quilted too closely.
- Good for highlighting detailed quilting
- Gives lots of texture to quilting
- Mimics the look of down
- Most often used for comforters, bed-spreads or tied quilts
- Stays soft and drape-able with very open or light quilting
- Manufacturing processes
There are (5) primary processes by which battings are manufactured and produced and which give the batting its identity. They are:
- Garnetted or Plain: Garnetted batting is processed through garnett or carding equipment and layered with no other added processes. This plain batting is not bound together in any manner and is very easy to quilt. The major issue with this type of batting is potential for migration and shifting. This type of batting will tend to bunch and shift between the quilt lines if not quilted as close as ¼” –1/2” spacing.
- Needle punched: This type of batting is carded or garnetted then layered to form a web. The web is then passed through needling equipment that mechanically entangles the web by using thousands of needles that lock the fiber together. This type of product works to give strength to a product while allowing for a soft hand and thinner profile vs. a high loft type product. Needle punched wool or polyester tends to migrate, but will not bunch or shift like plain garnetted or carded products. Needle punched products can be thermal bonded or resin bonded.
- Thermal bonded, Heat sealed, Glazine finish: All of these types of batting are similar in that they typically use some type of low melt binder fiber in the mix. Low melt binder fiber is a polyester fiber that is designed to melt at a lower temperature than a standard polyester fiber. Thermal bonded products have low melt fiber blended with standard polyester. The blended web is passed through an oven and the low melt fibers “flow” and bonds to the surrounding polyester fibers. Problems with Thermal bonded products are that the surface fibers are not tied down which allows for migration. In addition, thermal bonded products do not dry clean and break down faster with washing than do resin bonded products.
- In the case of glazine or heat sealed type products, a web is passed through a mechanical process that applies heat to the surface of the web. The surface of the web is “sealed” or “glazed”. This sealing or tying of the fibers on the top and bottom helps minimize the potential for bearding, bunching and shifting allowing for the batt to open like a blanket and have good stability.
- Resin bonded: Resin bonded batting is made from a wide variety of fibers including polyester, cotton, wool etc… A web is garnetted or carded then passed through a process that applies a resin to both sides. The web is dried and cured to form a bonded batting. This bonded batting resists bearding better than any other type of batting. There are many different types of fiber and resin combinations to give a desired “look” and “hand”. Combining processes, fibers and resins makes the resin bonded process the most versatile and most effective way to produce battings.