Finishing a beautiful quilt top is quite an accomplishment for all quilters, whether hand-quilting or sewing with quilting machines like the Juki Exceed HZL F600 quilter. Yet there is more to completing a quilt than just its top, as using the right batting is also important to the finished project. With a number of different types of quilt batting available, quilters should know what these types are and their various qualities.
By understanding the different kinds of quilt batting available, anyone making a quilt using short or long arm quilting machines, or even a standard sewing machine, can choose the right batting for their project.
Choosing the Best Quilt Batting
Polyester, cotton, and synthetic/natural blends are the most popular types of batting used today; however, there are other varieties as well including bamboo, soy, rayon, flax linen, as well as other natural and synthetic fibers and fiber blends. With so many kinds available, which one should be selected? The best way to choose the right quilt batting for any quilt sewn either by hand or on quilting machines is to consider the quilt itself:
- Quilt Usage and Construction – One important aspect to consider when designing a quilt is how the quilt will be used, by whom, and how it will be sewn. A decorative quilt may not need to be as durable as one that will actually be used on a bed. This is an important factor in many decisions relating to quilt construction, such as whether to hand sew the quilt or make it by using a Juki Exceed HZL F600 quilter or other short or long arm quilting machines. Synthetic or blended batting is easier to sew using quilting machines than natural batting; however, natural fibers may be preferred for their various qualities. When using quilting machines, natural batting with a scrim binder can make the process easier. Also consider who will use the quilt, as those made for children or babies should be lighter, preferably from more flame-retardant fibers like rayon or cotton.
- Natural or Synthetic Fibers - Many people prefer strictly natural fibers, while others are fine with synthetic ones. For those with sensitivities, natural fibers may be preferable over synthetic choices. Still, there are some people who may be allergic to wool, so this should be considered as well.
- Color Choice - Batting can be chosen in white, natural color, or in black. The choice should be based upon whether the quilt is constructed from dark or light fabrics. Since batting fibers will sometimes poke through the fabric, choosing a light or dark batting based on the quilt top can help make these fibers seem less conspicuous and blend in more.
- Batting Cost - All natural batting tends to be more costly than synthetic batting, with blends landing somewhere in the middle. When deciding between the different types, cost can also be an important consideration. This is another reason why blends are very popular, since they are more cost-effective than natural batting, while still containing some natural fibers.
- Shrinkage - Depending on how the quilt is sewn, shrinkage can be a concern that some quilters want to avoid. Natural and blend batting can shrink as much as 5 percent. To avoid the need to pre-wash, or the possibility of shrinkage at all, polyester is highly recommended.
Choosing the right batting for a quilting project requires the consideration of a number of different factors. While each can be sewn by hand, on quilting machines like the Juki Exceed HZL F600 quilter, or even on long arm quilting machines, sewers should take all of the points referenced above into consideration to make the best choice. After weighing batting qualities and cost against things like quilt construction, potential shrinkage, and more, quilters should be able to determine which batting is the perfect choice for their project!