Best batting for quilts? Well, it depends… (cheat sheet)

Quilting 101: quilt batting types

Do you choose the same batting for your quilts over and over again—but only because you’re not sure which quilt-batting types are best for what purposes?

Many quilters favor one batting over another, and with good reason. Machine quilters prefer one kind, hand quilters another, and the topics of warmth and washing can take you in different directions too.

So which batting is best for your quilts?

Let popular blogger Elizabeth Dackson of Don’t Call Me Betsy introduce you to the types of batting available—and when to use them—with this cheat sheet of batting basics from her book, Becoming a Confident Quilter.

Quilt-batting types

from Becoming a Confident Quilter by Elizabeth Dackson

If you visit a quilt shop, you’ll find almost as many options for quilt batting as there are varieties of coffee beans! Each kind of batting serves a purpose and works better in some quilting applications than others. This handy reference should make batting shopping a breeze.

100% cotton. This type of batting is easy to work with and easy to launder. When the finished quilt is washed, cotton batting creates a crinkly, vintage look. (All quilts in Becoming a Confident Quilter were assembled using Pellon Legacy 100% cotton batting.)

Precious Stones quilt
Imagine how snuggly this “Precious Stones” quilt will become when it’s washed to vintage-crinkle perfection!

100% polyester. This batting is preferred by some hand quilters because of the ease of needling. Polyester batting has gained a bit of a bad reputation due to bearding (batting fibers poking through the quilt top), but many polyester products on the market these days are treated to prevent that problem. Polyester batting is a bit warmer than cotton batting but also more slippery, making it a less-than-optimal choice for machine quilting.

Poly-cotton blend. Super smooth to the touch, poly-cotton blended batting is quite popular with machine quilters. It’s considered to combine the best parts of both cotton and polyester batting in one package. Quilts with poly-cotton batting tend to have a slightly thicker look than those with 100% cotton and a smoother appearance as well, even after washing.

Wool. Cozy-warm and easy to hand quilt, wool batting is popular with hand quilters. Wool has an airy loft that creates highly defined quilting stitches, and it’s the warmest type of quilt batting available. But it does require hand washing and may need moth protection if stored.

Get a crash course in quiltmaking basics, plus tips on topics from stash building to scrappy backings, in Becoming a Confident Quilter. You won’t want to miss Elizabeth’s method for finding the sweet spot for a scant ¼" seam on your sewing machine. Do it once and never worry about it again!

Quilts from Becoming a Confident Quilter
“Patchwork Dreams” and “Lattice of Stars” from
Becoming a Confident Quilter

Curious about improvisational quilts? Elizabeth covers that too. Her “Wonky Fences” quilt will ease you into improvisational piecing with an in-between technique she calls “calculated improv.” Check out her method in this quick video:

Reading this in email? See the “Improv Quilting with a Road Map!” video at the Stitch This! blog or watch it on YouTube.

Becoming a Confident QuilterSee more from

Becoming a Confident Quilter >

Print book: $26.99
eBook: $18.99

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What type of batting do you typically use: cotton, polyester, a blend, or wool? Tell us in the comments!

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