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Polyester vs. Cotton Batting

Polyester vs. Cotton Batting

Old 10-24-2013, 11:35 AM
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Default Polyester vs. Cotton Batting

Since I am a new quilter I have a question. What is the difference between polyester and cotton batting? Why do some quilters prefer one to the other? Thanks for responding.

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Old 10-24-2013, 11:42 AM
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Polyester batting does not shrink at all. It tends to give a more "modern" look to quilting lines. Unless it is a really thin batting, it also tends to give more "loft" to the finished quilting.

Cotton batting shrinks (unless you pre-shrink it; not possible with all cotton battings) and gives a more "traditional" look to the quilt -- i.e., a more crinkled look, and a somewhat flatter look.

However, a lot depends on which specific batting you use. There are very thin polyester battings that give a very flat look to the finished piece (often desirable for wall hangings). There are also combo battings.

If you are looking for an all-around high quality batting to start out with, I recommend Hobbs 80/20. It is a good starting point.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:06 PM
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it is really just a personal choice- try both & see what you like. I will say often I use Polyester batting in kids quilts- it holds up well through frequent laundering and is loftier than cotton batting. my absolute favorite though will always be wool batting- it is lightweight, lofty, does not shrink, is soft and wonderful to work with. I use a lot of polyester battings but once in a while a cotton batting is a good choice for my project- when that is the case I tend to turn to Hobbs 80/20. if I want something flat & stiff I *might* use warm & natural. but as a new quilter- try every different batting you find- catch them on sale, follow the recommended quilting requirements and decide what YOU like best- and why.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:55 PM
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Some of us just prefer to use natural products in our quilts...cotton and wool.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:40 PM
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For me, it depends on the look I want and how I will quilt it. Polyester is puffier and I like it for hand quilting and occasionally for machine quilting. Polyester tends to be a little slipperier when machine quilting for me but still manageable if I use 505 basting spray.
I like 80/20 cotton/poly batt for machine quilting better but it tends to make hand quilting difficult. I have not tried wool, silk or bamboo but many like those but they are a bit more expensive generally.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:45 PM
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The 80/20 is what most long arm quilters use. The poly gives more fluff or loft and looks really great. I use it in my hand quilting. But, sometimes it can cause problems on the long arm.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:23 PM
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I'm in the natural camp. I use cotton batting (warm & natural specifically). Poly fibers melt...they don't burn. If, heaven forbid, there is a fire, a quilt with poly batting can melt to the skin causing horrible problems. Plus I like the crinkled look!
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:28 PM
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I agree that it becomes a personal choice...I would suggest trying several different kinds and see what you like best. It could be one is better for each quilt choice you like. I love the old wrinkly look that cotton gives and I don't like big and bulky quilts...so my choice is easy...low loft cotton. But I would consider using poly if I wanted to quilt it to have a puffy look in certain areas of the quilt. As you look at finished quilts on this board you will see how they vary.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:48 PM
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I prefer the loft of the polyester batting. And the cotton batting isn't as warm as polyester.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:16 PM
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Your choice also will depend on how you quilt it. If you send it out to be professionally quilted, your quilter may request a specific type or brand. Feel free to have a discussion with him/her about the reasons why.

If you quilt it yourself (by hand OR machine), you might want to experiment first with crib sized batting or maybe some scraps of batting (ask around for scraps from fellow quilters and pro longarmers) and see how each batt "needles" and how it looks after quilting and washing. You will most likely develop your own preferences, depending on how densely you quilt and how you like your finished quilts to look and feel.
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