Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Batting Experiments 3 of 3

One more day of playing with batting….

Experiment #3

The problem:
I wanted to know how stitching and batting type effected the final quilt after it’s washed.

The process:
I stitched 4 different batting samples with a small free motion meandering, large free motion meandering, and large walking foot block. The samples were washed and dried together.

The constants:
1. Each sample was the same size.
2. Each sample was made from the same fabric.
3. Each sample was stitched with the same thread.
4. All samples were washed together on a gentle cycle with cold water then dried on a low heat setting.

The variables:
1. Sample #1 contained Hobbs Poly Down batting (before washing)


2. Sample #2 contained Quilter’s Dream Request Poly batting (before washing)

IMG_07113. Sample #3 contained Warm and White cotton batting (before washing)

4. Sample #4 contained Quilter’s Dream Request cotton batting (before washing)


All four side by side (before washing)


The results:

How they stitched
All four were great to machine stitch on. The Hobbs Poly Down, which was loftier than the others, was surprisingly nice to work with. I love the puff look in the areas with more space between the quilting. T
he Warm and White had a tiny bit more shifting to the layers while sewing. The other three battings seemed to cling more to the fabric.

How they compare after washing

1. I was surprised to find that all 4 samples shrunk exactly 3/4 inch in length and width. I thought the cottons would have shrunk more. I’m guessing that the batting shrinkage was  limited by the fabric shrinkage or maybe due to the fact that they were fluffed in the dryer first causing some pre-shrinkage.  I’m not sure.

2. The cotton battings were slightly stiffer than the poly prior to washing. After washing they were actually softer and had slightly more drape. Of course my samples were only fat quarter in size not full quilts so a true test of snuggle factor was difficult.

3. The Warm and White Cotton and the Quilter’s Dream Request Poly weighed slightly more.

4. The cottons took longer to dry. That was to be expected as well based on fiber content.

Hobbs Poly Down Batting (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Poly (after washing)


Warm and White Cotton (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Cotton (after washing)


All 4 side by side (after washing)


5. The puckering in the smaller meandering spaces felt the same on the Hobbs Poly Down and the two cotton battings. However, on the cotton battings the puckering had a nicer, more even look along the stitch line. The cotton battings had a more antique quilt look to them.

Close up of the 4 small meandering areas

Please ignore the stitching itself --I’m still practicing free motion 

Hobbs Poly Down (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Poly (after washing)


Warm and White Cotton (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Cotton (after washing)


6. Visibly there wasn’t much difference between battings, to me, in the large meandering areas. The Hobbs Poly Down felt slightly loftier than the rest to the touch.

Close up of the 4 large meandering areas

Hobbs Poly Down (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Poly (after washing)


Warm and White Cotton (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Cotton (after washing)


7. Hobbs Poly Down was noticeably loftier in the larger spaces. That was to be expected since it was the loftiest batting to start with.

Close up of the 4 large areas

Hobbs Poly Down (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Poly (after washing)


Warm and White Cotton (after washing)


Quilter’s Dream Request Cotton (after washing)


My conclusion:
I truly thought I was a die hard poly batting fan. After all this research I’m not so sure.

I learned that cotton battings aren’t as scary as I thought they were to work with. They didn’t shrink as much as expected. Personally, I would not go through the effort of pre-washing a cotton batting before using it.

I also learned that each batting has it’s pros and cons. It really depends on the quilt, the finished look you are going for, and how it will ultimately be used. I admit it….there isn’t just one right batting for the job. Hmmm.

This has been a really fun adventure. I’ve learned a lot. I hope it’s useful to all of you as well. HAPPY QUILTING!!!

Now I have to get my hands on some bamboo batting….


You can find
experiment 1 HERE
experiment 2 HERE


MooseStash Quilting said...

Thanks for this great experiment. I loved seeing the difference's you came up with!! What a good idea for all of us to play and see what we like best!

beaquilter said...

what a great result!
I long arm quilt as a business and have a roll of warm and natural for sale and for me to use from. I like working with it, it's stiff but nice after washing and it doesn't cling to the fabrics.
it's all a matter of preference.
Now have you tried bamboo? or some other fancy battings?

Mrs.Pickles said...

great experiment! I had bought some warm and white for my last project and the lady at the store said "really you are stupid enough to use this on a quilt" I am just learning and it was $20 cheaper than the other stuff so I bought it...however I have been too afraid to use it. Thanks to your experiments I am going to use it and not worry about being "stupid" Thank you!

Lynne said...

Thank you for sharing the results of your experimentation with us. I have nver given batting much thought beyond not using polyester or bamboo (due to what I have been told by various quilters). I just use whatever is on special at the chain store (usually cotton) or whatever my LQS carries (usually wool/poly)!

Judy said...

What a great experiment! I always use cotton.....humm, I am going to by some poly now and use it. I heard that bamboo is awesome to use but I have not true any yet.

katkat1946 said...

Thank you so very much for sharing this experiment - and numbers 1 and 2 as well!!

fotohok said...

Nice job and thanks for sharing!

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

I am using Hobbs poly down the first time in a hand quilted quilt and came across your experiments. They are very informative. I am quilting a red and green tradtitional quilt and didn't want anything heavy and something that wouldn't shrink, glad to see that it has the puffyness, just what I was looking for.

elaine said...

thank you i was dithering on what to buy for my 'hex' patch quilt i am now going for the polydown as i would like it to have some loft in it

Bonnie said...

Carol you have a great, informative blog. I really like this info on battings. I have used a LOT of warm and white batting -- try a whole roll of it. I'm surprised you said the cotton shifted more than the ploys. My personal experience is that fabric clings to the cotton. I've recently purchased Hobbs as my roll of batting. One thing I would have liked to have known about your experimental battings was how close your quilting needed to be.