Letters from the Long Arm: Batting 101

Did you know there is wrong side of batting? 

Batting is just as important in the quilting process as the fabric you choose for your quilt.  My favourite batting is wool.  I will often double layer the batting with a cotton on the bottom and wool on top.  This will create a nice loft on top with the cotton batting “pushing” the wool to the top instead of the back of the quilt.

When choosing batting remember the old adage you get what you pay for.  Same as the fabric you choose for the top.  Consider what the quilt will be used for to determine which batting to pick.  A standard batting would be an 80/20 blend which is priced right and gives a nice loft.  If your quilt is a wall hanging with a lot of quilting on it, you don’t need a lot loft so maybe a flat or low loft batting will be perfect.  Cotton batting is nice and soft but tends to be a little flatter than polyester batting.

Wool Batting on a Roll

Polyester batting has good loft, but because of it is synthetic, it does not breath as well as cotton or wool. Wool batting is warm and has excellent loft, but it can be a little pricier, so keep the wool for bed quilts.  Wool batting is great for hand quilting too! When considering wool batting, check to see if it is a washable batting if you intend to wash your quilt.

Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18 has a batting bar INCLUDED, which fits any size roll of any type of batting!

Don’t forget to take colour of batting into consideration, too.  If your quilt has a white background, it is best to use a bleached white batting to keep the white looking nice and crisp.  A natural batting is great for all other quilts except the really dark ones.  For dark coloured quilts, consider a black batting.  Remember that when quilting, the needle creates a little hole in the fabric, and you can sometimes see the batting, so use a black batting to prevent white batting showing through on dark quilts.

So, what is the wrong side of batting? On some battings the “dirty” side is the wrong side and should be placed down onto the backing.  Some battings will have little dimples on top that is the right side and should be face up while the little pimple looking side should go face down.  You want the needle of the machine to enter the batting as smoothly as possible to avoid having the batting stick out of the back. 

Once you have decided on your quilting design, you should then choose your batting accordingly.  For wall hangings, you may want a polyester/cotton blend batting that tends to be flatter and will hang well and can accommodate dense quilting very well.  If your quilt is for warmth, you may consider a wool or wool blend batting. There are so many combinations of batting and brands out there, just remember that the denser the quilting, the flatter the quilt will be. 


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