Batting isn’t the most glamorous part of a quilt. But while the batting itself never sees the light of day once your quilt is finished, it is still essential to the look and feel of the finished piece! And there are more batting choices than ever on the market. So today, let’s talk batting: The different types, each of their pros and cons, and much more.

First, let’s get to know some batting terminology. Here are some common terms you may come across when looking at batting.

Loft – this is the thickness of the batting. Batting comes in a number of different lofts. Generally, cotton is low-loft and polyester tends to be higher loft.

Drape – the way batting hangs. Some batting is quite soft, while other types are stiffer. This affects how the batting hangs—and ultimately how the quilt that uses it drapes.

Needle-punched – in needle-punched batting, the fibers are felted/interlocked together using thousands of tiny barbed needles. When using needle-punched batting, it’s generally recommended that you machine-quilt the batting in the same direction as it was needle-punched—although it’s not always easy to figure out which way that is!

Scrim – scrim is a thin stabilizer that is sometimes layered onto batting to anchor the fibers, keeping them from separating or stretching, and allowing the quilting stitches to be placed further apart. Scrim is often needle-punched onto the batting (but batting can be needle-punched and not have a scrim). Because batting with a scrim is stronger and more stable, you can place your quilting stitches further apart—as much as 8-12″ apart, versus a maximum of only 3-4″ for batting without a scrim. Batting with a scrim is great for machine quilting, but it is not recommended for hand-quilting because of its density.

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