Batting for baby quilts is important! It can make the difference between a quilt that’s just “okay” and one that’s truly special. So what’s the best batting to use? Read on to find out.
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.
What Is Batting?
Batting is the layer between the top and back of a quilt, which provides warmth and padding. It is also known as wadding. In other words, batting is what makes a quilt thick and cuddly. And because baby quilts are meant to be cuddly and thick enough for your little one to snuggle into, it is important to use the best batting for baby quilts.
When quilting, you will often hear terms such as quilt sandwich. This term is used to describe the three layers of a quilt, which are the top layer (the fabric with the design), the batting (or wadding), and the backing. The batting is what goes in between the top and backing fabrics of the quilt sandwich, and it provides warmth and padding.
There are many different types of batting available on the market,
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.
Scrim helps keep batting together while quilting and stabilizes it, which is ideal if you’re starting out or prefer wider spacing between quilting lines. If you choose a cotton batting without scrim, however, you’ll need to quilt closer together and keep your quilting lines closer so the fibers don’t come undone with washing.
So, what is fusible batting? This type of batting has a heat-activated adhesive on one side, making it possible for you to fuse the batting to the quilt top or backing fabric with an iron. This will give extra stability and strength to your quilt. It also helps to prevent the batting from shifting during quilting.
For additional details on how to compare batting, you can see our quilt batting comparison guide. 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.
Tips On Choosing the Perfect Baby Quilt Batting
When choosing quilt batting for your baby quilt, there are several factors that you need to take into account, such as the type of batting, the loft, the weight, and the price.
Type of Batting
The first factor that you need to consider is the type of batting. There are three main types of batting: polyester, cotton, and bamboo. Each type of batting has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Polyester batting is the most popular type of batting. It is made of synthetic fibers and is usually available in different loft levels. The advantage of using polyester batting is that it is relatively inexpensive. In addition, it is also easy to quilt and does not shrink. The main disadvantage of using polyester batting is that it is not as breathable as cotton and bamboo batting.
Cotton batting is made of natural fibers and is usually available in different loft levels. The advantage of using cotton batting is that it is breathable and does not shrink. The main disadvantage of using cotton batting is that it is more expensive than polyester batting.
Bamboo batting is made of natural fibers and is usually available in different loft levels. The advantage of using bamboo batting is that it is breathable and does not shrink. The main disadvantage of using bamboo batting is that it is more expensive than both polyester and cotton batting.
The loft of the batting refers to the thickness of the batting. The higher the loft, the thicker the batting. The advantage of using a high-loft batting is that it makes the quilt warmer. The main disadvantage of using a high-loft batting is that it is more difficult to quilt.
The weight of the batting refers to the amount of batting in a given area. The heavier the weight, the more batting in a given area. The advantage of using a heavy-weight batting is that it makes the quilt warmer. The main disadvantage of using a heavy-weight batting is that it is more difficult to quilt.
The price of the batting refers to the cost of the batting per yard. The higher the price, the more expensive the batting. The advantage of using a high-priced batting is that it is usually of a higher quality. The main disadvantage of using a high-priced batting is that it is more expensive.
Best Batting Materials for a 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 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
Wool Batting for Baby Quilts
Wool quilt batting is made of natural fibers obtained from sheep’s wool. It is usually available in a 100% wool configuration. Yet, you may also find it blended with other fibers like cotton and polyester in different loft levels.
The advantage of using wool for batting is that it is an excellent insulator. It retains heat well yet breathes at the same time, making it an ideal material for making quilts for use in winter. It is also naturally fire retardant. Moreover, it is also hypoallergenic, making it perfect for baby quilts.
The main disadvantage of using wool batting is its price. It is usually more expensive than both polyester and cotton batting. In addition, it is also heavier than both polyester and cotton batting.
If you are looking for a natural fiber batting that is perfect for making quilts for winter use, then wool is the ideal material for you.
Top Wool Batting For Baby Quilts
Bamboo Batting for Baby Quilts
Bamboo batting is made of natural fibers obtained from bamboo plants. It is usually available in 100% bamboo configuration. Yet, you may also find it blended with other fibers like cotton and polyester in different loft levels.
The advantage of using bamboo for batting is that it is an excellent insulator. It retains heat well yet breathes at the same time, making it an ideal material for making quilts for use in winter. It is also naturally fire retardant and hypoallergenic, making it perfect for baby quilts.
The main disadvantage of using bamboo batting is its price. It is usually more expensive than both polyester and cotton batting. In addition, it is also heavier than both polyester and cotton batting. If price is an issue, a bamboo blend batting may be a better option for your next quilt.
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly natural fiber batting that is perfect for making quilts for winter use, then bamboo is the ideal material for you.
Top Bamboo Batting 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.
When making a quilt for babies, use soft and comfortable materials. Do not forget to pre-wash all fabrics before cutting and piecing them together. This is to avoid the transferred dyes from staining the baby’s skin.
It is advisable to make smaller quilts for babies. A good size would be around 36” x 50” to 40” x 60”. You can find standard batting sizes for bedding in our lightweight quilt batting guide.
Choose low-loft batting for baby quilts. A good loft would be ¼” to ½”. You do not want the quilt to be too thick or bulky as it may become uncomfortable for the baby.
Use small stitches when sewing a baby blanket. A good rule of thumb is to use stitches that are less than ¼”.
Make sure all the materials used in the quilt are safe for babies. Do not use embellishments such as beads or buttons, as they may pose a choking hazard to the baby.
Do a simple wash test before using the quilt. This is to make sure that the materials used do not bleed or run.
When giving the quilt as a gift, include simple washing instructions. It is best to hand wash the quilt and air dry it to preserve its quality.
The above are some of the things to remember when making baby quilts. By following these tips, you can be assured that the quilt you make will be safe and comfortable for the baby.