Quilting on a budget is something we all think about. How can we stretch our money so that we still have enough to stock up on fabric and patterns? One way is to get sneaky and spend a little less on the part of the quilt that no one sees – the batting. Today on the blog we're talking about pinching a penny by using poly-blend batting.
When I first started my quilting journey I thought there were only two good batting options: 100% cotton or whatever batting my longarm quilter chose to use. (She didn't tell me and I didn't ask.) But since then I've discovered the fluffy warmth of wool, the easy breezines of bamboo and silk, and the subtle luxury of poly-blend batting.
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Poly-Blend Batting in an Affordable Nutshell
In case you’re new here: batting is that thick sheet of material you put in your quilt sandwich to add insulation and loft to your quilt. It’s the layer that really amps up the coziness factor to any quilt, which means that even though once a quilt is finished it's completely hidden, it’s still very important.
Poly-blend batting combines polyester fibers with another fabric. Why would we want to do that? Well. Polyester is considerably less expensive than other batting fibers, so that can be a huge plus if you’re quilting on a budget! You can also get the advantages of two different fibers in your quilt, and depending on what you’re going for, two can be better than one! (We’ll get into the super-strengths of polyester a little further down!)
What Is Blended in a Poly-Blend?
When we’re talking about poly-blend batting, we’re usually talking about a blend of polyester and cotton. This combo is pretty magical because it’s loftier but lighter than 100% cotton, and it’s REALLY versatile (eg. people like it for utility quilts, children’s quilts, charity quilts, small quilty gifts, table runners, placemats, wall hangings and… almost anything!)
The ratio of polyester to cotton is commonly 80/20… 80% cotton so you get all those cotton-y benefits, and 20% polyester for the LOFT, BABY! You can also find 60/40 and 70/30 blends out there, too, which are really pretty similar in feel, they just have some extra poly-lofty-lightness.
Above is a Perennial wall hanging that uses an 80/20 poly-blend batting. Get the Perennial quilt pattern and make your own!
Remind Me What Batting Loft Is Again...
When I first heard the word “loft,” I imagined a trendy apartment in Manhattan. But when we’re talking about batting, loft is something a little different. Loft refers to the height of the quilt batting (I think the technical word for that is “puffiness,” but I digress…) The higher the loft is, the fluffier and puffier your quilt will be.
Loft is often a matter of personal preference. If you want a fluffy quilt that really shows off your quilting lines, go for high-loft batting. If you want people to get a good look at your patchwork and desire a flatter finish, low-loft is the way to go.
So Poly-Blend Batting… What Makes You So Special?
I’m so glad you asked! Poly-blend batting is lighter than it’s cotton alternative, and it’s also more mold and mildew resistant. Because of these two properties, people really love to use it for baby quilts. Poly-blends give you a lot of choices when it comes to thickness, which is awesome when you’re very particular about your loft.
But, to be honest, one of my very favorite poly-blend properties is the price point. Poly-blend battings range in price based on their density (different than loft) and the amount of polyester in the blend.
It's no secret that the SQ favorite batting brand is Quilters Dream. This company is constantly thinking of ways to give back AND creates a beautiful and consistently high quality product too. From Quilters Dream alone there are 10 different polyester and poly-blend battings to choose.
My Favorite Poly-Blend Batting Includes:
- Dream 80/20 (This comes in white or natural. Natural batting has flecks of dark cotton in it, which I try to avoid because sometimes it can show through light fabric. In my opinion, choose white batting over natural.)
- Dream Pink (This is also an 80/20 blend, but PINK AND 10% of sales go to metastatic breast cancer research.)
- Dream Blend (70/30 blend designed specifically for longarm quilters)
- Dream Poly Deluxe Loft (This is a dense, weighty batting that provides extra warmth and volume.)
- Dream Black (100% Polyester - read more about black batting here!)
- Dream Green (Soft and cozy denier polyester microfibers made from recycled bottles - one pound of this batting = 10 plastic bottles.)
Tips and Tricks
Quilting with poly-blend batting is similar to a high-loft cotton. It has a soft, fluffy feel to it when machine quilting, and responds well to movement. One thing about this batting is that its density does make your machine work a little harder, and you may sense vibration. This is ok! Just be patient with yourself and go slow and easy on your machine.
Synthetic fibers like polyester have great longevity, so it can be washed a number of times and still hold its shape and loft. This is another reason people like to use it for baby quilts! Babies tend to be… er… dirty.
Do you love poly-blend batting? Tell us your favorite brands and tips in the comments!