If you’re just starting out in quilting, the process of selecting a batting for your quilted project can be daunting! There are so many battings to choose from. You may select a batting that is on hand, is on sale, or that is recommended by a friend… but does it really make a difference what batting you choose? The answer is YES!
The batting you select for a project can make a big difference in the way your quilted project looks. I’ve created a video for you that outlines the kinds of questions you need to ask when choosing the perfect batting for your project.
Also, I took some time to quilt the exact same design on over a dozen different battings all sent to me by Fairfield. This was a project I made for them for their Quiltmarket booth, but also gave me a chance to try out many battings that I might not otherwise have quilted on.
As you can see, different battings have different features right out of the package. They can have a high loft (which means they are tall and fluffy) or low loft. Battings can be made out of a single fiber like cotton, polyester, or wool, or they can be made of a blend of fibers – most often cotton and polyester. Each batting brings its own unique characteristics to your quilt project.
Based on working with samples of over a dozen different battings, here are my notes. Please note that the battings are not ranked, they are presented in the order I used them in. Each batting is rated on how it felt to the touch on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most pleasant to the touch. Each batting is also rated on a scale of 1-5 on thickness. This is not a measured thickness, but how it looked and felt out of the package. 1 is thin, and 5 is very puffy.
American Spirit Superior
70% Cotton, 30% Polyester. This was a nice thin batting, smooth, and felt nice to the touch. I rated the feel a 5 and the thickness a 2. Great all-purpose quilting batting.
American Spirit Premium Polyester
A 100% Polyester batting, very thin. I noted this batting as being “very poly”, which was a detractor for me, since I’m used to working with 100% cotton battings. I rated the feel a 1 and the thickness a 1.
Poly Fil Low Loft
You can see an image of the Poly Fil Low Loft in the collage above. It is thin, with slight variations in density. I rated the feel a 3 and the thickness a 1.5. Because of the variations in density, I would have put it more into a “craft” category than a quilting category – or used it in quilting combined with another layer of a different batting, but it quilted up fine.
Poly Fil Traditional
This is a dense, smooth, even Polyester batting. I rated the feel a 4 and the thickness a 2.
American Spirit Classic Cotton Batting
This batting has a smooth feel, but was slightly uneven. I love cotton battings, and rated this a 3 for feel and a 2 for thickness.
Soft and Toasty 100% Cotton
I use this batting regularly, and it can be considered my “baseline”. The roll of batting seen in the video is this Soft and Toasty 100% Cotton. I noted that the sample I quilted with had some pilling on one side, but it did not affect the quilting. I rated it a 3 for feel and a 2 for thickness.
Polyfil Extra Loft 100% Polyester
Very thick, this smooth and evenly dense polyester batting was very lofty. I rated it a 3 for feel and 4 for thickness. Keep reading for an even thicker batting…
Cotton Classic Batting
This 100% cotton unbleached batting was very similar to the Soft & Toasty I use regularly. I rated it a 3 for feel and 2 for thickness.
American Spirit Luxury
Made with 50% Rayon from Bamboo and 50% cotton, this batting deserves the “luxury” name. I rated it a 3 for feel and 2 for thickness.
Polyfil High Loft
Super thick! This batting has so much loft that quilting it borders on Trapunto quilting! A synthetic fiber with lots and lots of thickness, I rated it a 3 for feel and 5 for thickness.
Wool batting is known for having a great drape, and many professional quilters use a layer of wool in their show quilts to help them hang more evenly. The wool batting had thin, even fibers. I rated it a 4 for feel and a 2 for thickness. It should be noted that many people have allergies to wool fibers, so be sure you know where your quilt will end up before selecting a wool batting, and wool battings should not be used for donation quilts.
Another thin, even batting, as seen in the collage above. I rated this batting a 4 for feel and 2 for thickness.
A blend of 80% Cotton and 20% Polyester, this unbleached, needle-punched batting had some pilling, but is a great option for most quilters. I rated it a 2 for feel and 2 for thickness.
Of all the battings I tried, this one surprised me the most. I expected to absolutely hate this batting, as it is made from 100% Polyester from recycled plastic bottles. Since many recycled papers have a pulpy-recycled feel to them, I was expecting the same from this batting. Instead I found a very smooth batting with wonderful even fibers. It feels slick – but in a good way – almost like silk. I rated it a 4 for feel and 2 for thickness. A great option for eco-minded quilters.
Machine 60/40 Blend
Yet another great blend of cotton and polyester – if you like blends, you’ll want to try different mixes to see what works best for you. This one is needle punched, and I rated it as a 3 for feel and a 1.75 for thickness.
Another great option for eco-minded quilters, this one using natural fibers. Made using 50% Rayon from Bamboo and 50% Certified Organic Cotton, it is a great blend. I rated it a 4 for feel and 2 for thickness.
Soft Touch Bleached Cotton
Wonderfully soft to the touch, I rated this batting as a 3 for feel and 1.5 for thickness. A great option for quilts using lots of solid white fabrics.
Make sure you visit Caroline at 30 Minute Crafts for more crafty goodness!
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