Workshop Wednesday: Batting Basics


How many different types of quilt batting have you used? I’ve used four different types of batting when it comes to fiber content: cotton, organic cotton/bamboo blend, polyester and insulated batting.

Like most quilters, cotton batting is my go-to fiber for most of my projects. I’ve only used organic cotton/bamboo once in a patchwork utility quilt, and it’s held up just fine though it does beard through one of the cheaper fabrics. I’ve used polyester in both machine- and hand-quilted projects; based on my experiences I probably won’t hand quilt through polyester batting again, but there are lots of folks who do. As for the insulated batting, I like keeping some on hand for when the need for quick potholders arises.

In this Workshop Wednesday, I want to present different ways of thinking about and evaluating the variety of battings available, as well as ways of putting even small pieces to use. Each video explains what to look for in a unique way.

First, consider the following factors when choosing batting:

  • How do you want the quilt to look?
  • How close will the quilting stitches be?
  • Are you hand or machine quilting?
  • How will the quilt be used?

Batting is made from different fibers, and not all fibers are available in all sizes. If you prefer an old-fashioned-looking quilt, consider using a mostly cotton batting. The newer cotton battings are bonded and do not require the close quilting that cotton battings once did. If you don’t want to do a lot of quilting, use a regular or low-loft polyester batting. If you like “puffy” quilts, use a high-loft polyester batting. Wool, silk, and bamboo battings are also available.

In this episode of “Lessons in Creativity” (preview video below), Jenny Kae Parks gives a good rundown on what to think about and look for when choosing batting. She talks about the wide variety of fibers available, including silk batting, wool batting, recycled polyester batting and fusible bamboo/cotton batting.

Click here to view the full episode of “More Batting and Quilting Options” for free.

In an episode of “Quilty” entitled “B Is for Batting,” Mary Fons interviewed Niki Mieners of Fairfield about what to look for when choosing a quilt batting.

Niki rejoined Mary for the episode “More Batting Tips from the Pros.”

In this short “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting” behind-the-scenes video, host Sara Gallegos and Colleen Tauke talk about the various types of batting available and discuss why and when they use different battings in their own projects.

What about batting scraps, those small pieces that are too big to throw away without feeling guilty? You definitely can (and should) use them in projects like potholders, placemats, pouches, and mini quilts. But did you know you can also piece them together to use in larger quilts?

In an episode of the free series “My First Quilt,” Sara Gallegos talks about three different ways you can piece those smaller cuts of batting together to put them to use; click here to view the full tutorial on our website for free.

Mary Fons and her guest Ericka Mulvenna also covered ways of joining batting pieces on an episode of “Quilty,” which you can watch for free on our website by clicking here.

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