Quilting Blog

How to Choose Quilt Batting

Have you ever found yourself in the batting aisle of the craft store, wondering how to choose quilt batting, bewildered by the number of options? Beyond the decision of cotton versus polyester, types of quilt batting include a breakdown by brand, size, fiber content, loft and more.

When choosing batting (or wadding, as it’s called in the U.K. and Australia) for quilting, it’s helpful to learn the basic lingo and also take cues from other quilters, who can recommend their favorite products.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing quilt batting for your next project…

Choosing Quilt Batting


When you purchase batting, you can buy it prepackaged, in standard sizes for crib, twin, full, queen and king size quilts. Or, you can buy it off the bolt in your own custom size, which is a popular choice for longarm quilters or those who like to buy in larger quantities.

Amy at Diary of a Quilter shares lots of shopping tips in her informative post on quilt batting. “Batting goes on sale often at the big box stores,” she says. “I always stock up then, or use coupons.” She also recommends saving your large batting scraps, which you can whipstitch together to make a new piece of batting.

Rolling Out Batting

Fiber content

Most quilt batting can be described as cotton or polyester, although you may also choose wool batting, silk batting, bamboo batting or a poly-cotton blend. Batting also comes in blends that are organic (safe and recommended for baby quilts) or made from recycled fibers. 

Polyester batting

Polyester is a synthetic fiber. It produces a very high loft, and it doesn’t have to be quilted very close together. This makes a great choice for a baby quilt that will go through the washing machine many times.

Cotton batting

Cotton is a natural fiber, and is a wonderful choice for the flatter, more traditional look. However, quilts with cotton batting need to be quilted or secured more closely (about every 4″ to 6″ with scrim or every 1″ to 2″ without scrim). For more info on scrim, see the see glossary, below.

Poly-cotton batting blends

These blends you the best of both cotton and polyester in one product. You may find an 80/20 (80% cotton, 20% polyester) blend, a 70/30 or a 60/40 poly-cotton blend of quilt batting, each of which has a different thickness or loft. 

Wool batting

Wool batting is generally easy to work with and helps you make extra-warm quilts. A natural fiber, it gives your project great loft, it can easily be hand or machine quilted, and it provides maximum warmth without a lot of weight. It holds up well over time and it’s hand or machine washable. It is generally more expensive than cotton or polyester batting.

Silk batting

Silk can be expensive and isn’t available as widely as other types of batting. It is known to quilt up beautifully for those who have experience working with it.

Bamboo batting 

Touted as a sustainable and “green” product, bamboo batting is breathable, durable, and quilts up similar to a cotton batting. It can be more expensive than cotton or polyester batting.

Stacks of Batting


You might also think of loft as the “fluff-factor.” A wall hanging should have minimal fluff, while a snuggly baby quilt should have lots of fluff to comfort the little one. If you will be using the quilt as a throw or bed quilt, how warm do you want it to be?

When choosing batting loft, think about if you’ll be machine or hand quilting the piece, or tying it, and read the instructions on the package to see if it’s a good fit. If you want a very puffy quilt, choose batting with extra loft. However, extra loft batting can be very difficult to hand quilt (unless it is 100% polyester batting), so you will have to machine quilt or tie your project.

At her blog Chasing Cottons, Becca discusses the pros and cons of each batting blend, as well as an explanation of low-loft (thinner) and high-loft (thicker) battings. When working with high-loft battings, the quilting lines will be more apparent and the quilt will “puff out” more. Low-loft battings are a good choice for a flatter finish, where you want to show off the piecing more than the actual quilting lines.

Warm and Natural Brand Batting


Brand name is an important consideration for many quilters, and this can also impact the price. Each one has its pros and cons, and the best way to find out which you like best is to try the all out.

Warm & Natural battings are popular mong quilters who prefer a well-used look in their quilt. This batting gets a nice, crinkly, old-fashioned pucker after it’s washed.

Quilter Lori Beth Peterson opts for the Dream Green brand, “because it’s recycled and easy to work with.” Jennie of Clover and Violet says, “I usually use Warm & White for quilts, because my mom and I bought a whole roll of it to split. For quilted projects, like mini quilts and mug rugs, I love to use fusible batting, because it stays in place when quilting, and helps keep small piecing from getting out of shape.”

There are also Pellon battings, which come in a wide variety of fiber content, with quilts that hold up nicely in the wash.

Batting choices for your machine

Professional longarm quilters often choose to buy their batting in rolls or bolts, due to the sheer number of projects they complete. If you’re sending your quilt to a longarm quilter, you can often bring in your own batting if you have a specific type you’d like to use. Otherwise, you can likely purchase batting at cost from your quilter.

If you do most of your quilting on a domestic sewing machine, you might wrestle with your batting from time to time. The bulk of large batting cuts, combined with the thicker loft of some battings, can make it difficult to fit your basted quilt through the neck of your home sewing machine. If this is your problem, check out Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine with Ann Petersen. In the class, Ann discusses practical ways to finish large quilts on your home machine, such as splitting your batting, quilting-as-you-go or adding borders to your quilt center.

Quick glossary of batting terms

  • Some battings specify what the desired quilting distance is between rows of quilting stitches. Use this info to your advantage when choosing the right batting for your project.
  • Scrim is a term used to describe the light layer or grid of woven fibers added to some cotton battings. It acts as a stabilizer and helps to hold them together while quilting. If you use a cotton batting without scrim, this is when you’ll need to keep your quilting lines a short distance apart so the fibers don’t separate in the wash. Buy your batting with scrim, and you can keep your quilting lines a wider distance apart. 
  • Bonded quilt battings are made with a glue or bonding adhesive, which means the batting may get looser once the quilt is washed. This usually requires close quilting lines.
  • Bearding describes a batting with wispy fibers that eventually seep out of the quilt top. This shedding can be very annoying and is a good reason to go with a high-quality quilt batting from the start.
  • Fusible batting is great for small projects and can be ironed to temporarily secure it into the middle of a quilt, which will save you time basting.
batting up close

Our Favorite Battings

Find the batting you need, right here on Craftsy.Browse More


Frieda Christianson

Thank you, thank you. Appreciate it so very much!


I’m a beginner to quilting,,o any information I can get will be useful to me.


I have had disasters after ironing small projects like wall hangings or seasonal door decorations because the batting flattened (melted). The projects curl a bit now and the puffiness is gone. So sad so be C A R E F U L. Saving a dollar is not always the best idea.


Thanks for the great tip!

Glenda Kirkiridis

Would be wonderful to have the kind of choice in batting available in the States here in South Africa! All we have is a local polyester batting ( so-so) or horrifically expensive imported cotton batting. That’s it.

Xenia Xenia

Here are so many kinds of silk quilt in China, but I did not know how to sell them.Can someone help me?

Arvilla Trag

Try etsy.com, a website for selling hand-crafted items. There is also ebay.com.

doris root

thank you for posting this information but I have a ? when i make a quilt i use soft and craftsy toasty but when i free motion on my quilt it dont make like say my flowers or clouds puff up i was told use my batting plus whool batting ? can u help me out


I love the modern look of the high loft batting in the photo here. Wonder why I rarely see it any more – seamed to be more popular in the 70s and 80s. Thanks for the info – extremely helpful!


I find it frustrating when I see an article I want to read or take a closer look at a quilting pattern and find I have to join a particular web site to see the article. I don’t think this should be mandatory. I find this very annoying and feel the person posting the article is desperate for more readers.

Linda L.

Remember that you aren’t paying anything for the information whether it’s an article or a pattern. The person who’s created it is offering it to you free. They can do that because advertisers on their blog or site are paying them and that payment is based on the traffic or number of visitors to their site. I’m sure you don’t work for free and, for many bloggers, this is how they support their families.

By the way, I’m not a blogger and don’t make my living from my crafts. I just think people need to understand why they’re being asked to sign up for blogs and other sites.

Abuela som1spl

Actually taking a moment to lay in bed and read
Thank you for what you do and I support DIY woohoo


Me too Columbia.


Remember, just like cotton fabric, batting has a right side and a wrong side. Use a sharp needle or pin to poke the batting. If it goes through easily, then you have the right side up. If there is resistance then put that side towards the backing of the quilt.
Happy Quilting.


Thank you so much for this information. I didn’t know there was a right and wrong side to batting.


Thank you Nancy, useful information ?

Lisa Williams

Neither did I! And I never can figure out what type of batting to use. Lisa


I am a new quilter and still have alot to learn. Im glad you posted about batting having a right and wrong side. Thanks for sharing.

Abuela som1spl

Great tip


Thanks for this tip!

Mary Flores

That is very helpful information that I didn’t know!!! Thank you!!

Amy Carmona

I didn’t know this either after years and years of reading.

Tracy Shaw

wow ! i have never heard of that. wonder why they dont put that on the batting package…


Thank you! I just learned a new tip by reading the comments along with the helpful information for choosing which batting for which project. Now, I will be alert to check out which is the right side of the batting. 💗🎶

Stephanie Hackney

This does not apply to Hobbs Batting products. With the exception of one of our battings, all of our battings are the same on both sides and there is no “right” or “wrong” side to the batting. The one batting that is different on one side vs. the other side is our Heirloom Natural Cotton w/Scrim – the scrim is only on one side of the batting. And even so, it’s personal preference as to which side you place up or down.


thank you for such great information.
I wish we had a supplier for Battilizer, here in OZ.
I like to Machine embroider, and the Battilizer product doesn’t need a stabilizer in the hoop.
So you can Quilt as you go,without having to pick off the stabilizer.
Thank You once again.


How about using pre washed flannel for a batting? I’ve never done that, but I’m thinking of the possible beautiful drapability. Has anyone ever tried it?


I’ve quilted with flannel and it makes a great light-weight quilt. You can double up the flannel as well.

Katherine Rowley

I also used flannel as batting on two tee shirt quilts. The tee shirts plus the stabilizer plus the minky backing were quite heavy so I wanted to use the lightest weight possible. I had them professionally quilted and they came out very nice.


besides flannel I have also used fleece for batting -IKEa has very inexpensive fleece blankets, cheaper than yardage. Great for bags and purses, wall hangings and lightweight small quilts.
Just follow washing/drying instructions for the fleece as it can’t take high heat

Norma Knight

We make quilts using squares sewn together and then put a batting between the sewed squares and a backing. The batting we are now getting is shiny on one side and makes it almost impossible to get our needles through when we are tying the quilt on a frame. Would you give us information about the correct batting to get? Thank you.

cathy f

“shinny on one side” makes me think you might have gotten hold of some “insul-bright” -the batting used for heat resisitance (like is used in hot pads). it has a reflective side and is more difficult to penetrate, which is needed in heat resistant item. just a suggestion.


I want a batting that is fairly thick but not like the polyester wadding which is too thick to put through the machine.
Can anyone recommend a suitable batting in the Heirloom range.


For machine embroidery/quilting, I like to use Quilter’s Dream Puff when I want a thicker batting. Easy to work with, really shows off quilting, and very warm but light weight.


Seems odd that craftsy is using a photo from JoAnn fabrics for their post.


I like to use 100% cotton or 100% wool. Is wool okay to use most of the time or should I stick with cotton?


I have made a quilt for my son, and after washing it seems like the batting is coming through the top, I.e. it’s fluffy. Any idea how that has happened? And what I can do to get rid of it? It’s a batting I’ve used regularly but perhaps I didn’t use the right distance when quilting.

Thank you.


I have used fleece both on a lap quilt and for clothing. The fleece acts as both a batting and lining. Great for warmth.


I have made many quilts over the years and was happy with my cotton batting….so soft and giving! Then I thought I would take a special quilt to a long arm quilter as it was a gift for someone special. I was never more disappointed! The quilter told me I MUST use HER batting and when I picked up my quilt I felt it stiff and uncomfortable! She had used a polyester batting!!! I learned my lesson! Always check the “hand ” of the fabric or batting to see if it is to your liking!!! A very expensive and disappointing experience!


One thing that nobody seems to have addressed here is warmth. I know we like our quilts to look beautiful but their main purpose is warmth. Which battings are best for a really warm quilt? I find the warm and natural batting to not be warm at all which is fine if you live in Florida or maybe for a baby quilt. I prefer my quilts to be useful rather than just decorative. Suggestions please!


I love using a washable wool batting. It’s very lightweight but warm at the same time, and well worth the extra cost. You can find it on line if your local shop doesn’t carry it.

Grace Breitkreuz

I put minky on the back of my quilts and they are very warm!


Everyone talks about the loft. Most of the thin batting makes me nervous to use in a quilt. Do they keep you warm? Growing up we always used a high loft and it made the quilts squishy and comfortable and they kept you warm, not just for looks.


I am having a similar problem as someone who posted before. I just made my first quilt for my daughter and after I washed it (on a delicate cycle) the batting seems to be popping through the top. As this is my first quilt I didn’t know if this was normal when using wool batting? I used Quilter’s dream wool batting.
Just wondering how I can get it to stop “shedding” and avoid this in the future.

Thank you


You’re not actually supposed to wash wool batting. Some products recommend dry cleaning only. Some you can wash in cold water, but you’re not supposed to put through the spin cycle. While I think wool batting probably has better thermal qualities, I don’t use it as batting, simply because it doesn’t allow for easy washing. 100% Polyester or Cotton/Poly blends are better options.

I always ask myself, who will be using this quilt, or who will be washing it? If it involves a young child or young adult, you’re better going with polyester. Simply because it can be washed in a machine, without issue – so long as it’s a cold wash without harsh chemicals.


All of the quilts my mom has made for my family (there’s probably 20 of them in varying sizes) all have the quilters dream wool batting. None of them have shed out of the top. All of hers are machine quilted though. Is there something about how it gets quilted or tied that makes the difference? Also, all of these quilts are machine washed a few times a year as we switch them out. Then I line dry them. I’ve never had any problems with washing wool batting. We usually use this batting to help stay warm.


What about pellets. I like to.make weighted blanket.but seen price of the peĺlets and bag was size of bag popcorn.

Wendy Rubbo

I just went to a class where weighted blankets were discussed. It was suggested that you use rice instead of pellets for the blanket filling. Because rice filled blankets cannot be washed, a separate removeable duvet cover was also discussed. By putting ribbon ties on the corners of the blanket and buttonholes on the corners of the cover to pull them through, it makes an easy on and off for washing the cover. Also a snap strip can be used to close the open end of the cover once the blanket is inside.

Bobbie Brammer

Where can I find information regarding the process used to produce batting, any chemicals involved, etc.?

Arvilla Trag

My husband used to do machine maintenance at a commercial laundry. They discard any linens that are not perfect, and he brought home 2 huge plastic bags of discarded terrycloth towels. I use them as batting for practice and for wall hangings. They are also good for frequently washed items like placemats. They already been through the severe conditions of the commercial laundry, so they don’t shrink or shed fibers.

Carla Evans

Thank you for providing this information about the different types of batting. As a beginner quilter, ANY information I can obtain is helpful and beneficial. Thanks Again; this was very informative and useful.


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