Quilting is a fun and rewarding hobby that can give you some beautiful, cozy, and functional quilts to decorate your home and give to your loved ones.
Quilts are also common gifts for mothers with newborn babies because of how soft and warm they are.
But you may be finding yourself asking some questions, like: Are battings used in baby quilts any different than regular battings used in quilting? What are some of the things you should pay attention to when buying battings for baby quilts?
When it comes to quilts, batting gets less attention, at least compared to the beautiful designs at your disposal. We’re here to help.
So how do you choose the right batting for baby quilts? To choose the right batting for baby quilts, look for a soft, breathable, and strong material, ideally 100% cotton or a cotton-synthetic blend. You should be sure the batting has a low to medium loft, as well.
This article will help you learn everything there is to know about battings for baby quilts and how you can buy the best one for your project.
What is Batting?
Do you know how quilts are often so plush, soft, and cozy? Batting is the layer of fibers filling that is stuffed between the quilting fabric layers during the process of quilting. This layer of batting adds insulation and weight to the quilt, making it look thick and springy.
You can buy batting that is made of cotton, polyester, wool, bamboo fibers, or a blend of these materials on the market.
There are also several types of battings, with different characteristics depending on how the batting was produced and how the fibers are held together:
- In bonded battings, the fibers stick together using thermal or resin.
- In needle-punched battings, the fibers are physically needled together using tiny needles, making a very dense and strong batting.
- Scrim batting takes needle-punched batting to the next level by adding a stabilizer to make the batting stronger.
Both needle-punched battings and scrim battings are quite thick and strong, and therefore not suitable for hand quilting.
When it comes to battings for quilts, you will often hear about the batting’s “loft.” Loft indicates the general weight and thickness of the batting; low loft means that the batting is lightweight and fluffy, while high loft means that the batting is denser and heavier. How the batting was treated will often affect its loft.
It is best for baby quilts to have a low to mid loft batting, as you don’t want the finished quilt to be too stiff, dense, and heavy. Instead, baby quilts should be very lightweight and airy, allowing room for comfortable movements.
How to Choose the Best Batting For Baby Quilts
The most popular types of battings that you can find on the market are cotton and polyester battings. Both of these materials are quite soft and easy to work with, but each of them has some distinct characteristics that you should consider for your project.
Cotton batting has been used in quilting for as long as quilting itself. Cotton is obviously a natural material that is super soft and breathable, so it is relatively easy to work with.
Cotton tends to be quite stiff when you first buy it, but it will soften over time and last a long time. Cotton also shrinks in the wash and should always be air dry or tumble dry.
After some initial shrinkage, cotton will preserve its look and structure for a long time. Quilts that use cotton batting can be passed down several generations without losing their softness and look.
You can find battings that are 100% cotton, but other types of cotton/polyester blends also share many of the same characteristics of 100% cotton. You can find cotton battings in white as well as a range of other colors. White or off-white are still the most popular options for baby quilts.
There are some downsides to using cotton. First of all, white or off-white cotton tends to yellow over time so it will affect the overall look of your quilt after some use. To counter this problem, you can find bleached cotton batting, which will help you avoid this issue.
Cotton battings also tend to be stiffer when you first buy it but will soften over time after washing and using. Your quilt may not drape well because of this stiffness, but washing the quilt a few times may help you solve this problem.
Although cotton batting tends to shrink in the wash, and washing will soften the batting, you should never pre-wash batting before quilting.
Batting is essentially just loose fibers and cannot be washed alone without the two layers of fabric and the stitches holding everything together. If you wash batting alone, it will lose its shape and structure in the wash, and you will have just a lot of loose fibers as a result.
Overall, cotton is still highly recommended for baby quilts, mainly because it is a natural material that’s kind to sensitive baby skin. It is highly insulated and breathable, so the baby can feel warm without feeling stuffy.
Polyester is another popular material for quilting, but it may not be as baby-friendly. This synthetic material is popular because it is soft, drapes well, and really easy to work with.
However, polyester is more popular for decorative quilts, not for baby quilts. Although polyester does not shrink in the wash, the material is a lot less durable than cotton, which means that the fibers tend to separate over time.
Since polyester is a synthetic material, it is also less breathable than cotton. Although it traps heat very well, it may trap too much heat because it doesn’t insulate well. Thus, this material is not very friendly for baby quilts.
If you are looking for a soft, breathable, and strong material for baby quilts, we recommend getting battings that are 100% cotton or at least a cotton-synthetic blend to ensure a quality product that is both beautiful and baby-friendly. As we said before, you will also want to find a batting that has a low to medium loft.
The Best Batting For a Baby Quilt
Now that you know what to look for when buying battings for baby quilts let’s take a look at the best battings on the market.
|Quilters Dream Mid-Loft Cotton Batting
|Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton Batting
|80% cotton, 20% polyester
|Warm Company Natural Cotton Batting
|87.5% cotton, 12.5% polymer
But babies are precious and you’ll want to be extra certain of what you choose for a baby quilt. We’ve included a full lay-down of each batting so you can be more certain of these choices.
1. Quilters Dream Mid-Loft 100% Pure Cotton Batting
This batting from Quilters Dream is 100% cotton with premium quality, which means that it will maintain its texture and color over time. Being 100% cotton means that the batting is perfectly soft, lightweight, and highly breathable, suitable for baby quilts.
This cotton quilt batting is double-sized, which means that it is a bit thicker and stiffer than regular cotton battings. The batting has a mid-loft construction, so it would be better to quilt with a sewing machine rather than hand quilting.
Don’t worry about its stiffness because cotton batting will soften after a few washes. What’s important is that this cotton was treated without any chemicals, so it’s very safe and soft for baby skin.
It is quite easy to care for since it is machine washable. Do avoid putting it in the dryer since the cotton can shrink under high heat. Overall, it is super lightweight, offering warmth while still being very breathable, perfect for small children to snuggle against during the summer as well as colder winter nights.
2. Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton Batting
This Heirloom Premium batting is a blend of 80 percent cotton and 20 percent polyester, so it has most of the same characteristics of cotton as well as polyester. It is light and warm with the breathability of cotton and the drape of polyester.
It is a needle punched batting that also has a layer of resin, so the fibers are bonded together quite tightly. This construction means that the fibers will not separate over time, as often seen with polyester battings. The batting has a low to mid loft appearance, which makes it quite strong and durable without being too heavy.
Thanks to the polyester blend, this batting will not shrink in the wash and will maintain its look and colors after some usage. Because of how easy it is to work with and care for, this batting is preferred by many quilters. When used in baby quilts, it can create a structured look that still feels light and soft, offering warmth and comfort to even the most sensitive skin.
3. Warm Company Natural Cotton Batting
This natural cotton batting is another great option for baby quilts. It has a higher cotton content than the one above (87.5%). Less than 15% is polymer-based.
This particular batting is needle-punched without any resin or glue, so it is perfectly soft and fluffy while being highly breathable. Since this is mostly cotton, there may be a little shrinkage in the wash. However, don’t pre-wash the batting before you quilt, as the fibers can become undone in the wash.
After your quilt is finished, it is machine washable. You will need to tumble dry, or air dry the quilt to ensure that it will shrink only minimally, but you can rest assured that your finished quilt will be perfectly safe and cuddly for sensitive baby skins.
This batting is very lightweight and thin, so it is perfect for light summer blankets and decorative throws. As mentioned, cotton is highly baby-friendly. This particular batting was not processed with any chemicals, making it safe for young children.
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