I need advice about filling materials

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SharonMMM wrote
on 5 Jan 2011 8:37 AM

I'm a new quilter, and I'm making a quilt for my hubby.  I've got the top just about done, and I need to figure out which kind of filling material to use.  Any advice from experienced quilters out there?

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Muppin wrote
on 5 Jan 2011 10:23 AM

Hi SharonMMM-

A lot will depend on how you want to quilt it and what your desired finished look will be.  A basic thin cotton batting is a good option for hand or free motion quilting.  You should make a very small sample (maybe six inches square) and test our your quilting method to see if the batting is right for what you plan to do with it.  I hope a few other folks can chime in with more recommendations for you!

Cheryl / Muppin

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okieLinda wrote
on 6 Jan 2011 10:01 AM

Batting is a hard thing to choose when your a newbie, whether cotton polyester or silk, or probably many other choices , I like my quilts to feel like the old ones did so I use a Hobbs polyester , it just works good for me, but I hand quilt so it might not be the best for you, availability in your area is also something you have to deal with, Find something that just feels good to your touch and try it out, I will fess up years ago I was that little mouse that made a hole in the plastic to feel of the batting   Just  keep trying to you get one that really seems the best for you quilts,  Good Luck :)

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ckquilter wrote
on 13 Jan 2011 4:32 AM

hi sharon

your batting choice will depend on several things -

-is the quilt made mostly for show, and will not be washed often, or is it gonna get washed every week?

the bigger the quilt, the harder it will be to wash in the machine. so a thinner batt is easier to handle washing for a big quilt. also, a thinner polyester batt will dry sooner than a cotton batt. the poly batts usually do not shrink much. most cotton batts will shrink a fair amount (up to 5% - that is 5 inches on a 100 inch bed quilt - which will cause considerable distortion if your top and backing fabric was preshrunk. if your fabrics are not preshrunk , and they are cotton, it should all shrink about the same - if you are lucky.

some cotton batts can be preshrunk - but NOT all. some will turn to lint in the machine if you try to preshrink.

-is it lap sized or king size?     are you gonna quilt it yourself? if by hand - you will want a batt that is easy to needle . some had quilters prefer the wool batts, for easy hand quilting. but the wool will be warmer than the other batts - not so good for a warm/hot climate - and they can take a long time to dry.

but if it will be washed infrequently, and hand quilted, and you want a warm quilt, and he is not allergic to wool - then a wool batt is a good choice .


-do you live in a cold climate and want a real warm quilt, or do you live somewhere warm, and want a thinner quilt?

if you want a cool quilt, a silk batt could work. or a thin cotton.

-are you gonna hand quilt or machine quilt?   if you are gonna machine quilt, any fiber will work - as the machine does the work for you. just remember, you have to get the bulkof the quilt underthe machine - andthe bigger the quilt, and the thicker the batt, the harder it is gonna be to get all that fabric under the machine - so a thinner batt will help.

-do you want a contemporary look,or the old fashioned batt look? if you want a flatter, more contemporary look, you will want a batt that does not shrink as much.

-does your top have areas of very light or white fabric? then you will want to use a white batt - not a natural color batt, especially one that has a lot of debris in it - with seeds or slubs, that can show through the top fabrics.                     if all you fabrics are medium value or dark, then a natural color batt is ok.

if all your fabrics are dark - be careful of white polyester batts - they will beard (the poly fibers poke through the top fabric, and being strong,they don't break off, and the white fibers will show as fuzz against the dark fabrics on top. if you use a large needle to quilt with (because you use a thick thread, the batt will beard more.))                you could use a black batt, if all the top fabrics are dark - and then the fuzz does not show as bad.


when i used to make mostly bed quilts, 20 years ago, i used a thin poly batt. those quilts are washed occasionally. and they have held up well. they wash and dry in a reasonable amount of time. they don't shrink - which was important to me - as my fabrics are all preshrunk, and i want the quilt to stay flat. the colors are mid range, and so the bearding has not been a problem.

i mostly make art quilts these days. i use the black batt when a quilt is all darks.

for light color quilts, i usually use warm and white - an all cotton, needle punched batt. it is white , so there are no flecks of debris in it to show through.

andi can preshrink it in the washer and dryer - because my fabrics are all preshrunk. and i want the quilts to stay flat. but they don't really get washed.

i sometimes use preshrunk flannel as a batt - and if i wanted a very thin, cool quilt, that was gonna be machine quilted, that would work.

a drawback to an all cotton batt - they can form crease lines, if  kept folded. some people prefer the 80% cotton/20% poly batts to prevent creases. btn a bed quilt, it should not matter.

i have not used a wool batt - but if you want a heavy, very warm quilt - that could be a good choice.


if you have quilty friends -ask them what they use and ask for some scraps to play with. or ask at the local guild. or find a good quilt shop with friendly, experienced people and ask for their help. they should have several types of batts available - and can help you choose the best for your quilt, based on its use.                                    hope that helps                                    cquilter


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Robinbelinda wrote
on 13 Jan 2011 1:30 PM

Hi Sharon, I'm an old quilter and I have used eveything from batting to blankets. Lately, I have started using blankets because they are the only thing I can go out and buy in this area. Our local Wal Mart has staopped carrying batting. You need to decide how you are going to quilt your quilt before buying anything. I ended up using a blanket because I had a quilt that I needed to finish for my niece for Christmas. She ask only for a quilt of her own. Anyway, I did not have time to order batting so I went looking for anything i could use. The blanket worked so well that I will probably use them more often.  Just another choice. I often tack my quilts as I am not a good machine quilter. Keep in mine the sky is the limit in quilting. Let your imagination fly free and you can dream up anything.

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ckquilter wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 1:14 AM

several other options - along the line of what robinbelinda suggested -

i have used them for casual quilts, meant to be used and washed often, are to use a flannel only as a second layer on the back of the top; and not use any batting in between. makes for a lighter weight, but still warm quilt. and not as bulky in the washing machine. also, very soft and comfortable.

i have also used polar fleece for a second layer - again with no middle layer. an also makes a warm, soft, but not as bulky as 3 layers, quilt.

another option, would be using minke as the second layer.

the quilts where i used flannel or polar fleece as a combined batt/back, i machine quilted with no problems. (i use a regular home sewing machine to quilt on)

if, as for robinbelinda, you can't get batts easily, you might be able to find flannel, polar fleece or minke easier. and they would be sturdybackings through many washes.

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