Making beautiful quilts on quilting machines like the Juki HZL-F600 means making a lot of decisions. There are a variety of things that must be done to complete your project, from design and color choice to the type of batting used in your quilt sandwich.
When it comes to batting, it is important you know a little about each type so you will pick the one that best fits your project. Before sewing your layers together on your Juki quilting machine, be sure to select the most suitable batting for your project.
Understanding Batting Loft
Loft is the thickness of the batting or wadding. High loft batting is very dense and puffy, creating a thicker result when sewn on a Juki HZL-F600. Thicker batting is great when making something like bed comforters. Low loft batting is flat and useful for thinner blankets. This type of batting is often easier to work with on a Juki quilting machine, while high loft batting may require you to adjust your machine to a longer stitch.
Understanding Batting Fiber Content
The quilt batting available today is made from many different natural and synthetic fibers, each with different benefits. The most common types you can find in any sewing shop are shown below:
- Cotton - Cotton is a dense, low loft batting that is soft like flannel and lays neatly between the fabric layers when stitched on quilting machines. It is a great choice for blankets and wall hangings where stitching and design are the focus. Cotton does not pill when washed, although it may shrink when first washed and dried. The main drawback cost as it is more expensive than synthetic or synthetic blend options.
- Polyester - Polyester is a high loft synthetic batting used mainly for hand stitched projects as it is more difficult to work with when machine quilting. Cost and high loft are the main advantages of using polyester batting. In addition to being difficult to work with on machines like the Juki HZL-F600, polyester batting tends to "beard up" by pulling away from the center of the blanket and gathering inside the edges. This can ruin the look of a quilt if the center is flat and the edges overfilled.
- Cotton Polyester Blend - 80% cotton and 20% polyester blends are a more economical option than 100% cotton without the problems of 100% polyester. They are available in a number of blend variations. Blends are also very popular since they have slightly more loft than basic cotton. They are also easy to use on Juki quilting machines without the problems that can occur with 100% polyester batting.
- Wool Blends - Although wool blends are not as readily available as the other varieties and may be more expensive, they are another low loft option when more warmth is desired. They have many of the same qualities as cotton and hold together very well. It can be harder to work with because it is more dense and thick.
- Bamboo and Silk - Batting made from bamboo and silk fibers is more expensive than most other types. It works very well where a soft, low loft fill is required. Both dry very quickly and drape nicely, making them great choices for both wall hangings and blankets.
Choosing batting for projects made on Juki quilting machines like the Juki HZL-F600 does not have to be overwhelming when you understand loft and fiber. First consider whether you need high or low loft, then determine what other qualities are important for your project.
Whether you need an inexpensive cotton polyester blend that is easier to work with on quilting machines, or you require a warmer batting for a winter bedcover, finding the right type should actually be pretty easy!