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Guide to Choosing Quilt Batting

Quilt batting is a big topic to cover in a concise manner but I am going to try and highlight the main points for you to make selection of batting so much easier. When I began quilting, I just picked up whatever was the least expensive as I didn't really understand the difference between all of the battings and I felt embarrassed to ask customer service clerks in quilt shops.  At Watergirl Quilt Co. I want you to find what you need and know how to do your craft as best as you can! So here we go! The "Coles Notes" version on batting (guess I'm giving my age away referring to Coles Notes. lol)

Which is the best batting for me?
The answer to this question is determined by your end goals for the quilt itself. What you choose for a baby quilt may be quite different than your choice for a competitive show entry.

The following factors should be considered:

  • Type of Project – What will I be creating (wall quilt, bed quilt, throw, charity or baby quilt, quilted bag, clothing, etc.)?
  • Fabric Choice – Will I be quilting with light or dark fabrics? Will the fabric be heavy?
  • Ease of Needling – Will I be quilting by hand, by domestic machine or by long-arm machine?
  • Finish & Loft – Do I want the piecing and/or stitching to stand out or recede? Do I want the design to puff or lay flat? Do I want the quilt to be lofty or lie flat?
  • Weight – Do I (or does the recipient) prefer a heavy or lightweight quilt, a warm or cool quilt?
  • Drape – Do I need heft and structure for a wall hanging or do I need a soft drape, like for a garment?
  • Resilience – Does this batting tend to hold creases or spring back to its original shape quickly?
  • Fiber Content – Do I prefer natural or synthetic fibers? What’s the climate like where the quilt will be used?
  • Washability – Will it be washed often, and by whom and what means? Will it need to be dried in a dryer?
  • Shrinkage – Do I prefer a flat, contemporary look or a slightly puckered, vintage appearance?

Of course personal preference is also an important factor when choosing batting – we recommend that you keep a notebook that includes information about each quilt that you create as reference for future projects. And for those who don’t yet have a personal favourite batting, we offer that a preference often becomes clear as you create, use and wash your quilts.


  • soft, light and breathable and natural
  • 100% cotton is typically 1/8" thick

  • this synthetic material holds its' shape and thickness well
  • non-breathable
  • lighter weight and still warm
  • resistant to mold and mildew
  • available in a wide range of thicknesses
  • does not shrink

  • lightweight and warm
  • lofty and natural
  • holds its' shape very well 
  • resistant to creases
  • typically 1/2" thick

  • this blend offers the best of both worlds
  • typically 80% cotton and 20% polyester
  • breathable and mostly natural
  • more loft because of the polyester
Soy/Cotton Blend:

  • Soy Blend Batting is made with 50% Soy / 50% Cotton
  • Soy protein is a new ‘green’ textile fiber that is super smooth
  • Soy is good to your skin, good to the earth and oh-so-soft & smooth in a quilt batting.
  • Soy Blend is thin and very easy to needle by hand.
  • Soy breathes naturally and absorbs moisture. A batting made of soy protein fiber has outstanding anti-crease, easy wash, and fast dry properties. Expect a shrinkage of 0-3%. The scrim binder allows for a stitching distance of 8-10" apart.

  • natural, gentle and eco-friendly
  • blend of 50% bamboo and 50% cotton
  • breathable
  • shrinks slightly when washed

Now let's talk about how fibers are bound together to create batting material.

  • fibers are bonded together using a resin or thermal method
  • resists bearding better than other methods

  • contains a fusible web which allows for basting of layers
  • most often used in fleece batting and can be fused with the heat of an iron to baste the batting to your fabric

Needle Punch:
  • uses thousands of tiny needles to felt the batting together mechanically
  • has a lower loft 
  • stronger and denser than most other batting

Scrim Batting:
  • thin stabilizer is needle-punched into the batting
  • this adds loft and strength while preventing distortion and stretching
  • great when you want to lightly top stitch the quilt as you can have up to 8" between quilting lines.

Why would I choose bleached batting?

Bleached batting is a wonderful choice for quilts that are made with white or light-coloured fabrics. The lighter colour of the batting helps retain the brightness of the white or light background pieces. 

Why would I choose black batting?

Quilters often prefer black batting for creating quilts made with black or dark fabrics in an effort to avoid light-coloured lint showing on the surface of the quilt. Although this lint fiber washes away or can be easily removed with a lint roller, it is a time saver to simply use a batting that is similar in colour value to the quilt top itself. Quilts created with black, dark blue or deep purple fabrics, or quilts that are predominantly made with darker earth-tone fabrics, are ideal for this type of batting.

I hope that "uncovers" some of the mystery of batting!

Here is the shopping link to all of our wide range of battings.

Quilt battings

Happy quilting!