How to Pick the Right Batting for Your Quilt

How to Pick the Right Batting for Your Quilt

There is no universally “right” batting for quilts, but there might be a perfect batting for your specific project. So much of this choice is personal preference and can depend on your project — here’s a step-by-step guide to finding the batting that suits you best.

Scroll down toward the bottom to find a list of my favorite battings.

The Charlotte Quilt in Carolyn Friedlander - Kitchen Table Quilting

Most Important: Quality

Regardless of your batting preferences, you want to choose a batting that will hold up to use and washing. The good news is that there are many high-quality batting options available.

When I first started quilting, I tried to save money (quilting is expensive!) and bought batting from a big box store that was significantly cheaper than other options. When I got home and started basting my quilt, the batting was lumpy, very stretchy, and so thin that I easily pulled holes into it while basting. Not good.

The Helen Quilt in Starry - Kitchen Table Quilting

Avoid the very cheapest batting. It is much better to look for sales on higher quality products. You are going to spend so much time and effort making your quilt that you want to buy something that will hold up.

Material Options

Different materials can be used to make batting, and your choice will depend on personal preference, climate, and how you intend to use the quilt.

All Cotton

This is the most common batting used by modern quilters because it works in all climates, holds up well, and gives a thin, modern look. Initially, I was disappointed with how thin most cotton battings are, but I discovered that cotton battings come in different lofts (more on that below).

The Carly Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting1-Edit-2

Cotton batting will give your quilts a crinkly look after washing and drying. Most quilters like this, but not everyone! If you don’t, there are other options.

Cotton/Poly Blend

This batting is often used by traditional quilters.

There are advantages to using a poly blend batting, starting with cost: it’s less expensive. If you want a look similar to cotton batting at a lower price point, pick a low-loft poly blend, which is also great for hand quilting.

For a fluffier look that will give your quilting stitches more definition, choose a higher-loft poly blend. This will give you a warmer yet still lightweight quilt.

Poly blends don’t crinkle as much since they lack natural fibers and won’t be quite as drapey as cotton batting.


If you want even more drape, bamboo batting (usually blended with cotton) is a great option. It feels similar to 100% cotton batting but is even more drapey. I love using bamboo batting, although it is a bit more expensive.

The Tessa Quilt Pattern - Kitchen Table Quilting



Wool batting can be wonderful but it can have issues.

Wool batting provides high loft, warmth, and excellent stitch definition. I’ve hand-quilted with wool batting a few times and loved the results.

One main issue with wool batting is “bearding,” where fibers come through the quilt top through the quilting stitches. I have not experienced this problem but I know lots of other people have. I have only used Quilter’s Dream Wool.

Recycled Bottles

Yes, you read that right. Quilter’s Dream makes a batting from recycled bottles called Dream Green, and it’s actually one of my favorites. It has a mid-loft (thin but not too thin), holds up well, and is wonderful to work with. The best part: it’s less expensive.

The Elena Quilt Pattern - Kitchen Table Quilting

Dream Green doesn’t crease when folded, which is beneficial for storing quilts. It doesn’t shrink when washed, so quilts using this batting won’t crinkle. This may be a pro or con depending on your preference. The drape is similar to cotton batting.


Batting comes in different colors, which may (or may not!) be important to you. Most battings are a natural, unbleached off-white color. If you are making a quilt with lots of bright white, you might want a bright white batting. You can even find black batting. 


Loft significantly impacts the look and feel of your finished quilt. You might prefer a thin, smooth modern quilt or a super fluffy one with lots of loft. I prefer mid-loft batting for most of my projects. 

My family tends to prefer a heavier quilt for most of the year and so I like the combination of a mid-loft batting with a heavy backing fabric (flannel or minky). I have tried doubling up my batting once and really liked the result, but found it difficult to work with. 

A Scrappy, Rainbow Erica Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting


What size batting should you buy? You always want at least 4" of extra batting on each side to account for any shifting. It also helps make basting easier since you don't have to line everything up exactly before you get started. This extra is also required by most long arm quilters for the same reasons.

Since I mostly make lap size quilts and they are usually larger lap size quilts, I would buy a twin size batting for most projects. For example, if I were to make a quilt that is 60" x 72", I would add 8" to the width and height (that gives me 4 extra inches on the left and right, and 4 extra inches on the top and bottom) for a size of 68" x 80". I would need to buy a batting that is larger than that for my project and twin size battings are usually 72" x 93" while throw size is usually only 60" square.

The Verity Quilt Pattern - Kitchen Table Quilting

Trusted Brands

Here is a list of brands I have used successfully and links to my favorite projects with each brand:

Quilter’s Dream (my favorite brand)

Cotton Select (my favorite batting)

Dream Green



Cotton Deluxe (a higher loft, still wonderful!)

Warm and Natural


Happy Cloud


When you start quilting, it’s easy to stick with the batting everyone else is using, but you might prefer something different. I highly recommend trying out a few options before choosing your favorite.

Batting is not the most glamorous part of quilting, but it is important! To save money, stock up during sales. Also, save leftover batting pieces and use batting tape to make new batting (I use this one). I do this for all my scrap quilts, saving money and reducing waste. 

The Melody Quilt Pattern — Kitchen Table Quilting

Choosing the right batting is crucial for the longevity and appearance of your quilt. By understanding the different types and qualities of batting available, you can make an informed decision that best suits your quilting project.

How to pick batting for your next quilt project

Comments 3

Susan on

Great tips – thank you for sharing :)

Cathy on

Thanks for all the great info. I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried fusible batting? And you are so right that quilting is expensive and getting more so!

Sarah Thering on

Thank you so much for all the useful advice you give. I so much appreciate your knowledge and that you share it with us. (I also love your patterns!)

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