Quilt Batting Boot Camp: How to Quilt with Different Types of Batting


Hey, batters up! Here at Man Sewing today we’re doing an
entire sewing science tutorial for you on all the different types of batting, washed
and unwashed. Let’s get started. I had some much fun preparing this tutorial
for all of you. And it’s a really good thing because you
have no idea how many hours of free motion machine quilting I was really getting myself
into. So yes, it is sewing science at Man Sewing. And what I want to do is I want to take a
whole variety of different types of batting and free motion quilt them. And so what I tried to do was I used the exact
same fabrics, the exact same threads. Yes the color changed because I ran out of
thread like four thousand yards of thread later. I had a couple of color changes but yeah. Same fabric, same thread. The only thing that changed was the batting
itself. So thank you, Quilter’s Dream. They sent me nine different styles of batting
to play with. So let’s start running through these. The very first one, and if you look across
my little fanned out list here, I’ve kind of set them up in order. So the first one we’re talking, or the first
two we’re talking about are cotton battings. These are 100% natural. It’s a natural fiber so you’re going to
have more shrinkage. So if you’re looking for loft and pucker,
cotton battings are wonderful for that. This is an example here. So the first examples I’m going to show
are going to be the unwashed samples. So this is the Cotton Select. It’s kind of a mid-loft style batting. And I’m kind of using some of the names
from Quilter’s Dream but a lot of different manufacturers have these different kinds of
battings out there. I just appreciate the fact that I was able
to use them all from the same manufacturer to keep my science experiment as scientific
as possible. Moving forward, ok. So here is the Cotton Select. It’s like a mid-loft batting. It worked wonderful under the machine. This is all machine quilted. Nice and smooth from the quilting. But it actually, because it wasn’t a real
dense batting, sometimes it didn’t travel as fast as I expected it to. So it didn’t have quite the rigid feel so
I couldn’t push and pull it quite as quick. But I really loved the feel under the needle
there. And this is what it looks like all washed
up. This was really fun. So I washed all of my batting samples together
in the same load with a very hot washing machine. And it’s all 100% cotton fabric and 100%
cotton thread. So if there was any shrinking it really happened
within the batting itself. You can see there’s not a ton of loft in
here. It gives you kind of a nice antique texture. And it washed up very well. And didn’t have a big mess on the edge. I left all of the edges raw so we could also
see what happened to the batting in the washing. Because I had never washed a quilt before. I’ve always just put them on my wall and
vacuumed them when they got dusty before. So moving down our series. And I don’t know if you can really tell
if you look at my pile here but the first one was the kind of a mid-loft and then this
is considered a high loft cotton. And that higher loft cotton, I’ve got a
little bit more pinch to it. The reason that the loft matters is the loft
gives us a little bit more elevation to the areas we do not machine quilt. So they call theirs Cotton Delux. It has a really nice hand on it. And also the heavier weight of the batting
when it comes to the natural fibers, the warmer the quilt could be. So if you’re looking at this for utilitarian
uses, I would use a heavier cotton so that it stays nice and warm. And you get a little bit more from the work
you’re doing within the loft and the machine quilting itself. They call their Delux. And I really enjoyed quilting on this as well. This is what it looks like washed. So you’re going to get a better washed texture. More loft. More something use the word character out
of your batting sample if you’re using a higher loft cotton batting than a lower loft
cotton batting. So I really like the way this washed sample
finished up very nicely. Ok? Now we’re going to talk about a few different
blends that are out there. The first blend is a primarily natural blend. It’s a bamboo, silk and cotton blend. All natural fibers. I’m a bit on the fence though. And I don’t mean to be sounding negative
but bamboo, to my understanding and I would love to be incorrect about this. Bamboo is not the best fiber for textiles
but it’s a great fiber for like lumber. So they use a little bit of the bamboo. The bamboo gives it a very supple and soft
elegant feel to the batting though. And the silk combination of the cotton made
for a very, very nice batting to machine quilt. Just, what I’m trying to say is it’s not
necessarily as eco-friendly as sometimes we might want to believe it is as a sewing fiber. And that goes for all uses of bamboo in the
fiber because of the way they have to produce it, right? But this is the version of it unwashed. And it was very easy to machine quilt through. Very similar to the low-loft cotton. And here it is washed. And the washed feels almost it has now more
drape than either of the first two samples have got a lot of good body and give to it. If I was giving a gift of a washed quilt this
has a very, very nice finish to it. And it literally feels like air in my hands. So I really do like the finishing of the washed
of the cotton-silk and tensile is another fiber that they use in there to help kind
of bond it all together. Bamboo, silk and cotton was this choice. Ok? Staying in with our blends, but now we’re
moving into a combination. A blend between natural fibers like cotton
or silk and/or synthetic fibers like polyester. Now polyester isn’t going to shrink as much. It has a little bit more longevity. And normally we think of poly as the pillowy
kind of batting. The, the higher loft. I have always quilted with an 80/20. I’ve really enjoyed it for a lot of years. It has a similar machine ability like the
high-loft cotton. So it has a good, what am I trying to say? As a sandwich it’s got a good feel to it
as I’m moving it under the needle. It responds to my movements very well. So I did like that. It has a nice amount of loft. And what I did find after quilting all nine
of these samples is the more dense the batting was, the more it caused my machine to vibrate. And yes I put a fresh needle in with every
single sample as we always should. That vibration caused, you know, some audible
fatigue, some visual fatigue. And I could physically feel the fatigue in
the machine. Each sample took me a little over an hour
to machine quilt. So funny enough, the more dense the batting
got, the more difficult it was to machine quilt or machine quilt for a long period of
time. So those of you who are new, I’m going to
suggest more of the cottons because they are easier on your body while you’re learning
your rhythm. Ok? This is an 80/20 so that is going to be 80%
cotton, 20% polyester. And here is the washed version. It washed up very nicely. Very similar to the mid-loft cotton. Not quite as supple as the blend with the
bamboo and the silk in it. But as I said this has been a favorite style
of batting for me for years. The 80/20. And I really like the way it washed up. So now I feel comfortable to throw some of
my quilts in the wash, right? Because I know that’s what’s in them. This is one I hadn’t played with before
and I really did like the feel of this. More dense so it started to become a little
bit harder to machine quilt or a little more fatigued but boy I liked the way it moved
under the needle. So this is a 70% cotton, 30% poly. So more polyester than the last sample. It has a little more loft to it so it’s
got a little more elevation in the quilting. And was very nice to move, like I said, when
trying to track underneath that needle. Here is the washed version, ok? So these are real fun. Not a big difference between the, the feel
of the washed, just a little more loft in this between the 80/20 and the 70/30. So I would certainly use this batting in projects
as well, ok? And maybe the more washability. That’s one thing I should point out. The more polyester in the batting, the more
longevity in the washability because of that synthetic fiber. So maybe a baby quilt we’ll want to think
about, right? Now I’ve got to admit, one of my all time
favorite battings, I have used this before and I’m not sure if other manufacturers
make it or not. Please forgive me. This is called Dream Green. And it is made from recycled water bottles. Here follow me over to my samples. So we’ve already done a couple of these. So it is made from recycled water bottles. And that I think is awesome because it gives
you that eco friendly flavor I was after for the bamboo. And I tell you what, this batting, like a
low to mid-loft polyester, just needled great. Very little body fatigue from me while machine
quilting it. And I really liked the finish hand on it. It’s very light. This is one of my all time favorite battings. It’s a personal preference of course. And I tried to quilt you a little recycled
symbol in there to remind you that it’s made from recycled water bottles which I think
is a slick idea. Now here it is washed. It really held up nicely in the washing machine. So if you’re going for something that can
be laundered often and not coming out looking real ratty or tattered, other than the fact
that I forgot to pick all my fuzzes off, right? So this is a really nice batting to work with
for washed or unwashed quilts. So again I’ve used it before and I will
definitely use it again on that one. Now as I said, polyester is for loft. And loft is a lot of fun especially if you
like trapunto style quilts which means you’re going to be leaving areas exposed and other
areas tightly quilted so you get a lot of character in your quilting. So the first one I did was a mid-loft poly. The mid-loft poly still has more character
than a high-loft cotton. It was very easy to machine quilt through
although the density you could start to feel it in comparison to the cotton. So cotton is still a little easier for us
newer machine quilters. It has a nice rigid feel so if you’re doing
wall quilts, art quilts, quilts that maybe have a lot of fusible web in them. And you’re worried about them sagging over
time because of the weight in other things that you used in your quilt, I would recommend
a polyester batting. It just gives you a nice, a little extra structure. You can see how easily it stands up on its
own like that, ok? And then for the washed version, lots of fun. More character as I said than the washed version
of the high loft cotton batting. A real fun, fun way to do it. And again if you’re doing baby quilts or
something, this should, you know, a lifetime. Even if you start with it as a, as a newbie,
right? So that’s a real fun way to do it there. And then one of my all time favorites when
it comes to character, of course, is the high loft poly. Now the high loft poly gives you that great
quilting loft that gives you a ton to play with. I will say though I found, there was two things
I want to point out when quilting with a higher loft batting, and I especially experienced
it in this high loft poly. The higher the loft of the batting, the more
important it is that you quilt from your center outward. Because if you’re quilting in an area and
then you come back and you trap yourself it’s very easy to create puckers. There are places in this sample where I accidentally
covered it up so much, and I don’t even see it at the moment. But I’ll, I can find it, where I quilted
the pucker and it actually stitched over the top of the fabric and it lost the stitching. And I had to come back and put in the stitching. So what I’m trying to say is the loft creates
such a large amount of, of gravity there that when you’re stitching around you have to
be very careful. So start and work your way out. Don’t try to come back into sections or
you’re going to end up in trouble. However, once it washed up, trouble or not,
it has, you know, amazing character. I hope I have this much character as I approach
my senior years because I have a feeling I will. I guess I get a lot of character from smiling
they tell me. And I smile an awful lot. So I will look like this at the end of my
quilting career I’m sure. I will be a high loft batting example. Now this is fun too. Those of you know that follow Man Sewing that
we film here in Missouri with the MSQC and they have opened up a really cool place called
the Machine Shed and so I’m going to leave these batting samples there. So if you’re ever in Hamilton, Missouri
you can see these. But don’t look too close because the back
is a disaster. I had a couple real problems in some of the
battings and that helped me learn some of the things I’m trying to teach you today. So you can’t judge me on my quilting. I was doing it quickly. But you can certainly judge me on the video
because I think we’re doing some good sewing science here. So that’s the high loft batting. The very last sample, this is something I
had not played with before. I heard a lot about it. And that’s wool batting. Wool has a couple of neat characteristics. Of course there is incredible warmth involved
in wool. And so if you’re trying to make something
to keep somebody warm in the mountain climates or something, a wool batting is a great choice. However, I will say the wool batting just
had a lot more weight. And as you quilted it, it became very dense. This was the most difficult for me to free
motion machine quilt. And it wasn’t just because it was one of
the last samples I quilted and I was getting tired. I did two a day so I had a very good body
mechanics going. And I just felt the more I quilted the wool
down the more dense it became the more harder it became to move, the more weight. So if you were doing a king or queen size
quilt it could become a little bit problematic. But if you want the warmth, the wool is well
worth the effort. And here it is washed. And I had also heard that washed wool could
be tricky. And I found that at least the washed wool
I was using was fantastic. And let me hold it still so you can see the
character that’s involved there. See you get a lot of character like you would
in a high loft after it’s washed. And I really like that. It’s nice and soft and pliable again, unlike
the unwashed. So once we added some water it kind of was
more forgiving in its, in its body we’ll call that, right? And then if you look at the edges I didn’t
have any real problems. I didn’t lose any of the wool in the wash. All of this came out and I have not lint rolled
any of it. I was expecting it to be a giant ball of mess
as it came out of the washer and dryer from all the loose fibers I left. And really everything handled very, very well. So that is my sewing science for you today
on the different styles of batting. All of them were very enjoyable to work with. I want you to have the different knowledge
so that you can go out and play and experiment. And if I missed a batting sample that you
want to know my opinion on, please drop it in the comments below. And we’ll see you next time at Man Sewing.