Batting is usually just an afterthought once the fun parts (picking fabric, and designing and piecing the quilt) are done. But it’s more than that! It’s the heart of the quilt: when you snuggle under a quilt, batting keeps you warm. It deserves just as much care as the rest of your quilt! So use these tips, our cheat sheet, and our size chart to pick the best batting for your quilt.
Let the quilt pattern guide your choice of batting.
Modern quilts generally have a more streamlined look than soft, fluffy baby quilts. So modern quilters tend to use cotton batting, which gives a flatter finish, while polyester batting, generally the loftiest, is common in baby quilts. Cotton and polyester are the two most common types of batting; see our cheat sheet below for info on bamboo, eco-friendly, and wool batting.
Batting in a 2.5″ wide strip is super useful! All those jelly rolls and strip quilts can use this size batting, especially for quilt-as-you-go projects, and it works really well in small projects like potholders, Christmas ornaments, or quilted jewelry, too.
Moldable batting is a stiff form of batting used in tote bags, hats, and other craft projects. It works great in those projects, but it’s generally too stiff for quilting.
What color batting to buy?
What size batting to buy?
Re-measure (measure, don’t guess!) your quilt top when it’s done, then look at our quilt batting size chart below. Compare the size of your top to the sizes listed, allow an inch or two extra batting (quilting always takes up some batting), then decide what size is best.
If your quilt will be longarm quilted, you must allow much more. The Keepsake Quilting longarm service asks for an extra 6” all around; all longarmers ask for at least this, and many ask for more. As a result, you might have to go up a size in batting. It’s worth it to get your quilt finished properly!
Quilt batting sizes
Terms To Know When Choosing Batting For Quilts:
- Loft: the degree of puffiness that batting gives the finished quilt.
- Sandwich: the three layers of the quilt as a group: top, batting, back.
- Longarm: a large quilting machine that pulls the top, batting and back through separately, and hence always needs extra batting.
- Bearding: when bits of batting work up through the quilt top. Keep your piecing nice and tight and you won’t have to worry about this!