A baby quilt is one of those things that come in extremely handy with a newborn around the block! Quilting is not only an extremely relaxing hobby and craft to do; it also comes with the most beautiful, personalized designs that can leave you and the receiver with an everlasting memory. A baby quilt is used for many things – of course, to keep the little one warm and secure, but it is also widely used as a throw on the floor for the baby to crawl, lay and play on.
As a quilt consists of many different layers, it is also a great, super warm blanket to use in the car seat or stroller when you’re on the way. In a nutshell: a baby quilt has many, many uses! However, there are a few things to mind when you are quilting —the size, style, colors, and the best batting for baby quilts to use. As little ones should be surrounded with soft materials that aren’t harmful, it can be quite a job to find the best type of batting for the baby quilt you would like to quilt.
In this article, we will explain all the things to mind when either hand quilting or machine quilting a baby quilt, including materials and fabrics, the loftiness of your quilt, batting methods, where to buy, and how to choose.
Batting or wadding is a term used to describe a sheet of fabric used to stuff up the space between two fabric layers. In this case, we are speaking of the stuffing of your baby quilt. Batting is used to make quilts lofty, warm, textured, and weighty. The fabrics that are primarily used vary from cotton, polyester, bamboo fibers or wool, or a blend from the materials mentioned above.
The Best Batting for Baby Quilt
As described above, quilt batting comes in different shapes, sizes, and of course, fibers. To find the best batting for baby quilt, below, you will find a brief description of the different batting materials, their uses, and our top choices on each fabric.
As polyester is a widely used fabric in any form of crafting, as a batting fiber, it comes with many specific features. Polyester batting contains a synthetic fiber and has the traits of being stretchy, soft, and is likely to be flame retardant. The elastic, flexible composition of polyester batting comes in extremely handy when you aim for a good material with the least shrinkage when washing, which is easy to care for.
Poly batting is often chosen for quilt batting as it is easy to hand quilt and to needle. It is a less costly option compared to cotton batting, but it is a batting type less suitable for machine quilting because of the silky, slippery feel to it.
- Suitable and easy to needle and hand quilt
- Provides a lot of warmth
- Easy-care, low maintenance
- Stretchy and soft
- Less ideal for machine quilting
- Less breathable due to the synthetic fibers
- More likely to ‘beard’ overtime
As mentioned, polyester batting is exceptionally durable. A perfect choice for a baby quilt and Mountain Mist lends itself perfectly for this as well, given its easy-care material. This soft batting is ideal for lightweight quilts with the low loft batting features it has. It is a budget-friendly option and gives every quilt a light, low-loft, and airy feel to it.
Who doesn’t love an extra lofty batting? With this bonded, multifunctional quilt batting by Fairfield, a beautiful baby quilt is created in a minute, by either hand quilting, even machine quilting, needling, and tied quilting. This batting doesn’t beard or pill easily and is exceptionally durable. The batting can even be doubled for an extra lofty effect and remains in shape wash after wash, year after year.
On the hunt for natural batting? Go instead of polyester, with cotton, as it is a natural and breathable fiber. Two features to a fabric that both go well with little ones. Out of all the types of batting on the list, cotton is the heaviest variant. Since the beginning of time, cotton batting was the go-to material for quilting, and that is where quilts that include cotton batting get their vintage look and feel from. Cotton batting ages well. This fabric, in contrast to polyester, is more likely to shrink when washing. Nonetheless, this can give your quilt just the effect you like- it’s not necessarily disturbing, as this provides the material with a softer feel as well.
Cotton quilt wadding comes in different matters of lofts and is easy to use in machine quilting. In terms of price, it is a little more costly option when compared to polyester wadding.
In a nutshell: cotton batting is breathable, made from natural fibers that require not much care when washing; an excellent option for a baby quilt as it is one of the least harmful compositions.
- Suitable for machine quilt
- Natural fibers, breathable
- Soft, ages well after washing
- Easy-care, low maintenance, doesn’t pill
- Moisture absorbing
- Can be found in different matters of loft
- Less ideal for hand quilting
- Can feel somewhat stiff
- Slightly shrinks with washing
- Cotton may discolor over time
This lightweight, sturdy, needle-punched cotton batting has hypoallergenic features – perfect for a baby. The cotton used for this quilt batting is 100% USA grown and has many applications, from summer quilts to baby quilts. Quilter’s Dream cotton batting is free from chemicals and binders and is extremely easy to care for. It is perfect to use for both ways of and machine quilting for a smooth glide.
Warm and Natural are two words that describe what kind of baby quilt you would want to wrap your little one in! Warm Company is a widely known manufacturer of batting, and this option is a perfect one for a baby quilt, as it doesn’t beard, shift, or pill. Although the batting composition is 87.5 % cotton combined with 12.5 % polymer fibers, this warm and natural cotton batting has all the pros from both fabrics combined! The cotton batting is exceptionally consistent.
Fabric Blend Batting
Speaking of the best of both worlds: in quilt batting, you are likely to come across fabric blends as well. These blends are often cotton with polyester. As both are very durable, they complement each other’s best features, including the fact that this fiber is less likely to shrink after washing. It is a material suitable for machine quilting, and although the blend is often 80% cotton and 20% polyester, it is still a very budget-friendly option that will not break your bank. It’s warm, durable, and easy-care.
- Suitable and easiest for machine quilting
- Warm but breathable
- Easy-care, low maintenance, keeps its shape
- Stretchy and soft
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Less ideal for hand quilting
- It makes your machine work a little harder due to the density
- A little more expensive than a polyester batting
As Fairfield is a well-known batting brand in the quilter’s world, this high loft polyester/cotton blend batting deserves its place on the list. Fairfields Quilters’ 80/20 needle-punched quilt batting is lightweight and thus perfect for year-round quilting. It is extremely easy to needle and hand quilt and shows stitching definitions and details.
Both Hobbs and Fairfield are brands quilters love. For a reason! This blended quilt batting consists of 80% unbleached cotton and 20% polyester, is needle-punched, and light spray bonded for extra longevity. Whether you are machine or hand quilting, this batting remains its shape and loftiness no matter what. It is not likely to beard or pill, and its shrinkage after washing is limited to a modest 5%.
Bamboo Quilt Batting
Bamboo is relatively new in the world of quilting. Although it is often combined with other fibers, given the fact that bamboo is a natural fiber, according to us, it is a great option to include in our list of best batting for baby quilts! When your desired quilt is to be suitable for warmer temperatures and has breathable qualities, bamboo might be the right option for you. Just as polyester, it is light, breathable as cotton, but just all in one. It absorbs water quickly and thus dries easily and quickly.
- Doesn’t mold or mildew
- Natural fibers and sustainable, eco-friendly
- Moisture absorbing and dries quickly.
- Easy-care, low maintenance, doesn’t pill
- A great option for allergy-prone skin
- Breathable and soft
- A more expensive option
- Slightly thinner, so less warm than other fabrics or fabric blends
Quilters Dream does it again! With this needle-punched quilt batting made of natural fibers, a super soft baby quilt is guaranteed. It consists of bamboo, silk, Tencel, and cotton fibers that together form a soft, elegant drape batting. Quilters Dream batting is warm, but breathable and lasts a long time. Both for machine and hand quilting, this mid-loft batting is multifunctional and very easy care as it can be machine washed and dried.
Wool quilt batting is seen as a more specialized type of fiber. It comes with many pros and cons. However, it is a beautiful, more luxurious option for a baby quilt. This type of batting consists of 100% natural wool fibers, making it more likely to shrink after washing (if it is not cleaned by the manufacturer before!). As we all know, wool is nice and warm, but can still be very lightweight, which are features that fit a baby quilt perfectly. A breathable option, but comes with a larger care-label than a cotton blend batting, for example. It is a more risky choice for a baby quilt, as you never know how the baby’s skin will react..
- Natural fiber
- Provides a lot of warmth
- Suitable for hand and machine quilting
- Drapes beautifully
- Open, medium loft fiber
- Crease and fold resistant
- A more expensive option
- It shrinks more compared to other fabric options.
- Less suitable for allergy-prone skin
With this lightweight and soft quilt batting, Hobbs proves us to be the brand to go with when it comes down to quilt batting. It has an incredibly soothing and luxurious feel and adds loft to your baby quilt in the blink of an eye. This quilt batting is made of the finest super washed wool in the world; because of Hobbs’ special process, the fibers are smoothened and less likely to shrink.
Things to Consider Before Buying Batting for Baby Quilt
Before you buy your preferred batting and start quilting your baby quilt, there are a few other things to consider. Below, we will explain to you everything about loftiness, the different kinds of batting methods, and the answer to many helpful questions when it comes down to this subject.
When you think of a quilt, you probably imagine a nice, warm, semi-heavy blanket with playful colors and designs. Moreover, there is one term in quilting that makes a huge difference to both the outlook and the feeling of your quilt: the loftiness of it. The term loft fundamentally describes how lofty, thick, fluffy or puffy the batting is, differing from low loft batting too high loft batting.
Low Loft Batting
The thinner kind of quilt batting is described with the term low loft batting. This is the type of loftiness to go for when you are looking to quilt a baby quilt with a less thick finish. Lower loft wadding is the most common type of batting used in both hand quilting and automated quilting, simply because it is just a lot easier to handle and works great for a running stitch.
High Loft Batting
Both loftiness matters have their charm, and in that case, high loft batting is the best option when you are going for a stuffy, puffy, and extra cozy-looking quilt. This type of batting is less suitable for machine quilting because of its volume and is, therefore, best used with hand quilting, where the quilt is tied, and you can show off the quilt lines.
A good quilt – of course – consists of strong and good quality batting. One of the factors that play a role in this is the method the manufacturer used to bind the batting fibers together. The three most common techniques prevent the batting from breaking apart and keep the quilt smooth and even, without clumped chunks of fabric. The methods used to bind the fibers to determine the names of the batting.
Bonded batting is made out of fibers that are bonded by thermal or resin.
As the name says, the fibers in a needle-punched batting are punched together with extremely small needles, which makes the fabric a bit more dense and strong.
A needle-punched batting, but then ++, as it holds an extra layer of stabilizer to make the fiber more strong and lofty.
What is the best quilt batting to use?
Depending on your needs, the most long-lasting option would be either polyester, a polyester and cotton blend or a bamboo blend.
What is bearding?
Bearding is what happens when the fibers of fabric slowly separate over time. They will seep their way out through the weave of the fabric. To avoid this, it is vital to use a good quality batting of a good brand. The type of fabric that is least likely to beard is polyester.
What is the best lightweight quilt batting?
As bamboo carries all the features to be extremely lightweight and soft, this will be your best choice for quilt batting.
What size is a homemade baby quilt?
As baby quilts are typically square, the most common size used for baby quilts is 36 inches by 36 inches up to around 52 square inches. However, any measurement in between is likely to be enough to wrap around your little one and keep them warm!
Which side of quilt batting goes up?
Not using a right or wrong side may cause your fiber to beard; that’s why it is critical to avoid it. How? With up and down, right and wrong. Nonetheless, not all battings have a right and wrong side; however, it is vital to have the right side with needle-punched fabric. You will be able to discover this by looking at your batting from up close; to see if there are small holes (the needle holes). If so, this is your right side.
To save you from the trouble of spotting the small holes: bonded battings usually don’t have a right and a wrong side, and with scrim fibers, it is generally easier to spot. Scrim is supposed to be on the side that will be used most (the bottom!).
What can I use instead of quilt batting?
When you are looking for a more sustainable option to stuff up your baby quilts with, it is suggested to go with a flannel sheet for heavier quilts or felt for lighter quiltings, for example.
With the right type of batting for your baby quilt, hand or machine quilting is even more fun. Hopefully, our complete guide has been of help for you to decide what kind of batting you will use for your baby quilt! What is your preferred batting for baby quilts? Do not hesitate to let us know in the comments! Next, you may want to check out what the best thread for machine quilting. Happy crafting!
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and creating fond memory for all of us.