The saying that “everything is created twice: first, in mind; then, in reality” is also very much applicable to the making of your baby quilt. Why? Because, first, you need to plan it in your mind, then, you need to actualize your plan. Of course, the planning process for making a baby quilt is not that elaborately meticulous. You simply need to decide the design or pattern of your baby quilt, followed by the type of material to make the quilt, the fabric for top and back of the quilt, and also the type of batting.
Different Methods of Baby Quilt Batting
The next important material to make a quilt. Choosing a batting can be quite confusing at times, especially for inexperienced quilters or beginners. There are many types of batting, namely Cotton, Polyester, Wool, Silk, Blends, and Bamboo, which is becoming more common in the market nowadays. They come in different names too, depending on the method used to hold and bind the fibers together, there are Bonded, Needle-punched, and Scrim.
Batting, sounds confusing? No worries! Here come the short and sweet explanations to clear the confusion :
Batting is made of fibers, and those fibers need to be held together tightly, to prevent them from breaking apart or clumping in the quilt later. The methods used to hold the fibers determine the names of the batting.
Just like the name called for, it explained the method where the fibers are bonded either by thermal or resin.
The fibers are mechanically punched with thousands of tiny needles. This type of batting is usually denser, hence stronger, but has a lower loft, and is not suitable for hand quilting.
A scrim batting is also a needle-punched batting, but with an extra step to make it stronger and has a higher loft, by needle-punched a thin layer of stabilizer into the batting.
Now you understand some basic knowledge about batting, and you can go ahead to figure out, the material that you are going to use for the batting and type of batting for baby quilts. You may also need to decide if you want a warm batting and if you prefer a high loft and low loft batting for your baby quilt.
Best Batting Materials for Baby Quilt
There are two most common batting materials for baby quilts, namely: Cotton and Polyester.
1) Polyester Quilt Batting
Polyester is one type of polymers that are often referred to as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Batting made of polyester is made of synthetic fibers. Polyester exhibits varied characteristics and attributes. It is fire-retardant and is stretchy and soft. It usually has a higher loft than cotton batting. Moreover, if polyester is integrated with other natural fibers, its stretching quality is further enhanced.
Polyester batting is preferred over other batting materials because it is easy to needle or hand quilt. However, polyester has a bad reputation for bearding. Bearding happens when the fibers loosen and started to separate over time, and start to poke their way through the weave of the fabric. Use a reputable or good brand of polyester batting to avoid bearding.
Polyester batting retains heat hence provides more warmth than other batting materials like cotton. Yet, it is more slippery; thus, it is not the primary choice for those who engage in machine quilting.
Another great advantage of opting for polyester is its cheaper price. It is the cheapest batting because it is synthetic and can be easily produced. It is also easy to work on because it is stretchy and does not readily shrink after washing.
The use of polyester for batting, of course, also comes with some disadvantages. As mentioned above, it is not breathable because it is synthetic. It is also not heat-resistant; hence, you should not expose it to an intense amount of heat.
Polyester for batting is best used for decorative quilts simply because it naturally drapes.
Top Polyester Batting for Baby Quilts
2) Cotton Quilt Batting
Cotton batting is made of natural fiber and has been used as primary batting since patchwork and quilting craft began. It is usually available in 100% cotton. However, you would also find it blended with other fibers. The most common blends are Cotton and Polyester blended in a configuration of 80/20 or 70/30.
Cotton batting is natural, soft, breathable and is readily absorb moisture. It is usually low-loft in nature. It can be a tad stiff at the onset. Yet, it gradually softens, ages well, and drapes well over time with washings, and is ideal for making cuddly quilts that drapes naturally. Many quilt enthusiasts choose cotton batting to make an heirloom quilt which will last for a long time and the minimum shrinkage that creates a homey look to the quilt.
The naturally low-loft also makes it ideal for making anything that needs to be flat, like runners, bags, placemats, etc. Cotton batting can be found in different lofts too. If you prefer a cotton batting with more loft similar to a polyester batting, you should try getting a scrim cotton batting then.
Cotton batting comes in bleached white, grey, or natural colors. Ideally, it would be good to use bleached white cotton if you intend to create a light-colored quilt. The reason for this is that cotton tends to discolor over time. Moreover, you should make sure that no cottonseed comes with the cotton fibers; otherwise, these seeds may cause stain on the quilt.
Another factor to consider is the price; cotton batting is usually more pricey than polyester batting.
The downsides of using cotton, however, include its inability to drape well, it needs some washings and snuggles to soften it and make it drapes well. It shrinks too after wash, but this should not cause much concern, as modern cotton batting is designed and made using modern technology to resist shrinkage or shrink very minimally.
In short, what are the characteristics of a baby quilt that you are looking for? I think a baby quilt should be made using natural material which is chemical-free, breathable, it provides warmth yet stay cool at the same time, is not too heavy for a baby, and is machine washable and dryable frequently. Cotton batting is the ideal material for baby quilts after taking all these considerations into account.
Top Cotton Battings For Baby Quilts
Essential Tips to remember when making Baby Quilts (Below One-year-old Babies)
You should refrain from using Quilt, Duvet, or Pillow for babies below one-year-old, and should not use hot water bottles or electric blankets for one-year-old babies and below. You can instead use light blankets or sleeping bags for babies.