Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Choosing a Batting

For a long time, I didn't put much thought into which batting I used. I didn't buy the cheap stuff, but I didn't seek out anything in particular.  But a couple years ago started to think: which batting should I use for this quilt?  Should I use different battings for different quilts?

And the answer is yes!  Well, you can do what you want, but for me the answer was yes and I wanted to share a little about batting with you.
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My personal preference is Quilter's Dream batting.  They are one of my sponsors, but I asked them if they would be interested in sponsoring me because they are my favorite, not the other way around. So I am going to talk about few batting varieties that I like to use, or that I would like to try.
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My #1 favorite batting is Quilter's Dream Cotton Select.  It is the second one down in this photo.  Cotton batting is great because it will keep you warm, but it won't make you hot.  When washed, cotton batting shrinks just a little and gives quilts that nice, crinkly texture.  It comes in 4 different lofts.
Request - the lightest weight, this was designed for hand quilting but is also great for machine quilting.  It is very drapey, and is perfect for summer quilts or warmer climates.
Select - my favorite.  It is still light weight, but has a little more substance.  Perfect for hand or machine quilting.
Deluxe - I tried this for the first time on my Loominous quilt and really enjoyed working with it. There isn't a huge difference between the Select and Deluxe, but it is a little weightier.  It was still easy to work with.  This type of batting is best for machine quilting. 
Supreme - The most dense of their cotton battings, this is great for showing definition on machine quilting and for warm quilts.  I haven't tried the Supreme loft yet, but it is on my to do list.
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There are a lot of quilters out there who like to use an 80/20 poly-cotton blend batting, but I have never tried it.  What I have been thinking?  It is so soft!  I would have guessed that it would be more stiff and poofy, but it had a nice drape and was a nice thickness.  Some advantages of the 80/20 batting are that it doesn't wrinkle as much as cotton and it has minimal shrinkage.
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When I first heard about the Dream Green batting, I was surprised that there is a batting made from recycled bottles, but I tried it and it is great!  It feels similar to poly batting, and it also resists wrinkles and doesn't shrink.  This is my go-to batting for quilts that are more modern looking because it doesn't get that traditional quilt crinkle.  Normally I love the crinkle, but sometimes I like a smoother, more modern look.  It also has the advantage of being a little less expensive than the other varieties.
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When I want a quilt to have a puffier batting, I usually use Dream Wool.  It feels light, but it is fluffy and doesn't shrink. You can see a couple quilts made with this batting here and here.  
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You can see the difference in batting puffiness in the photo above. The batting on the left is Dream Cotton Select, the one in the middle is Dream Wool, and the one on the right is Dream Puff.  
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My favorite batting for baby quilts is Dream Orient.  It has the best drape of any batting I have used and it is easy to work with.  If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it for machine or hand quilting.  

This post is not comprehensive, there are many different types and brands of battings out there.  Do you have a favorite batting?  Do you use the same type for all quilts or do you like to mix it up?

20 comments :

  1. I use almost exclusively Warm & Natural/Warm & White, but I keep meaning to try some of these. I used bamboo batt once and loved it!

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    1. I have used Warm and Natural too and liked it. My main idea behind this post was really that there are lots of battings out there and even if you love what you use, it is fun to try different options.

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  2. I have been going through the same ah huh moment in recent quilts. I like the ease of cotton but if I'm going to put money or time into "fancy" quilting I want to see it and I feel that the cottons are too thin to really show off the work of quilting.

    So I've been trying out different batting as well. I've used the Dream wool and the Puff (?) I thought quilting the Puff was smoother in my machine than the wool. Today I'm on the search for a blend for a twin bed quilt for my son. I want something warm, breathable but light weight since he is only 5 and worried a 100% cotton would be to "heavy." I used the Green Dream in some playmates but haven't washed them yet to see how that worked out, usually cotton is good for playmates since they lay flat but I wasn't thinking that, I was thinking "use what you got!" Thanks for the tips. Will put the orient on my list to try!

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    1. I agree, if you are going to pay for fancy quilting, it is nice to really see it. I would be interested in trying the supreme loft cotton on a long armed quilt.

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  3. I have to confess that I have bought the cheaper batting, which is something with polyester. My quilts always work out great but now I'm starting to think about the polyester wearing against my fabrics. Thanks for this information and I'm ready to experiment.

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    1. It's definitely worth trying out some different options to see what you like!

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  4. I have been wanting to try Quilter's Dream, so thank you for this informative post. I am learning to do free motion, but also hand quilt, so this information will help me choose the best batting. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

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    1. It has been my favorite, I hope you like it!

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  5. Very nice overview of this brand. Very helpful to hear your thoughts on each type, too. Do you know if the sample folder you are showing is available to purchase? It would be helpful to be able to touch them in order to decide what one would want to use.

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    1. I just checked with the nice people over at Quilter's Dream and they said if you send them an email (quiltersdreambatting@juno.com) they will send you one!

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  6. I always like to use cotton batting, and I'm usually flying by the seat of my pants, so I usually buy Pellon or Warm and Natural. However, I really like the Quilter's Dream, so I'm thinking of looking into a wholesale account with them so that I can buy in bulk. One of my guild friends has an account with them and when we were ordering some other stuff for a charity project, she asked if anyone wanted to hop on to the order, so I actually ordered the wool because I had been wanting to try it. So far, I've used it in one quilt. I like the poofiness of it to show off the quilting, for sure.

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    1. That is an excellent idea, I will have to look into it. I go through A TON of batting.

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  7. Thanks for this very informative survey. Is is possible to purchase a batting sampler such as you displayed in your first photo?

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    1. If you send them an email (quiltersdreambatting@juno.com) they will send you one!

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  8. Thanks so much for the practical recap. I have one of those samples but never really sure when to use which batting. As soon as I make a dent in my huge roll of Warm and Natural I will try some of these!

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  9. One of the best things I ever did was make a small 25 x 25 Amish Bars quilt with black fabric for the backing. It had six 3" bars in the middle and also had a 3" border on each side of the front. Under each bar and border, I used a different batt. I used samples and leftovers from friends. Then I quilted this little quilt. My original one was by hand, but would work for machine quilting also. This little sampler showed me how each batt quilted, what the loft looked like, how it washed, and which bearded thru the black backing. An interesting project.

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  10. Can you buy these different battings at JoAnn's or do you need to order online?

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  11. If you order online what is your go to site ? Lots of questions.. sorry lol

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  12. I only use Quilter's Dream Battings also. I love them! My absolute favorite that I put in almost everything, and most of my clients love, is the Dream Wool. I love it!! I also have clients that love Dream Orient and Dream Angel.

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  13. I do use other batts but I had a small sample of Dream Orient and loved it. I don't think we have a distributor near by so I keep trying to win some batts from them on fb. I like your sample card and suppose that is what I should really do so I can order from them. Great article.

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