Thursday, November 08, 2007

Batting: That Stuff in my Quilt by Serena Smith of Embroidery Treasures

The "stuffing" of the quilt - batting - is the filler material placed between the quilt top and the backing. It provides warm the and loft, giving body and structure to the quilt. "Loft" refers to the thickness and weight of a batting. Each type of loft creates a different effect in the finished quilt and needs to be considered before selecting a batt for a quilt.

Cotton - A cotton batting gives a traditional look and is the most suitable for machine quilting. It is very easy to work with, as the cotton tends to "grab" fabric layers and requires minimal pinning and basting. Cotton batts "breathe" well; some people find polyester quilts too warm, preferring lighter weight cotton quilts.

Wool - Another natural fiber batting, wool was widely used in the past and is becoming more and more available as a filler for modern quilts. Quilts filled with wool provide excellent insulation, giving warmth without being heavy, and they retain their loft even after much wear.

Silk - Silk battings share some of the characteristics of other natural fiber battings, but are more difficult to find, expensive and are the least often used by quilters. However, silk batts are excellent for quilted clothing - they are lightweight, drape well and have natural insulation properties.

Polyester - Polyester battings come in a variety of thicknesses, from low loft batts used in machine quilting, to high loft batts ideal for use in comforters, tied quilts and other projects where volume is required. Readily available, polyester batts produce a "puffy" appearance. They tend to be slippery and may require extra pinning and basting to prevent shifting.

What's my favorite batting to use in quilts? I prefer to use a 100% cotton batting or a 80 cotton/ 20 poly blend. The 100% cotton will shrink some and will give your quilt an antique look to it because of the shrinkage. The blend has just enough poly to prevent the shrinkage and antique look, but also has the same feel as the 100% cotton. The cotton & cotton blend both have a lower loft, grab the fabric to hold it and is easier to stitch and quilt!

If I am tying or stitching in a few random places on a quilt or project, I will use a poly batting. The poly has more loft to it, so it is a little tough to get through your sewing machine. Although, for puffy projects, it works great. Keep your scraps of poly batting and use it to stuff pillows, animals or other projects.

Serena Smith is an avid embroidery and quilting enthusiast living in Kansas. Creating new projects and sharing them with others through local classes and online lessons is one of her greatest joys. Visit her website, Embroidery Treasures, for fun projects, helpful tips, inspiration, notions, fabrics and embroidery supplies!

You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided the entire article, author's name, bio information and URL remain intact. Thank you! ©2007 Serena Smith Embroidery Treasures

Copyright ©2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Serena Smith. Serena is the owner of Embroidery Treasures http://www.embtreasures.com/

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