Once you’ve decided how you will quilt, you can choose a batting. Know the size of your quilt and add 3”-4” all around. Here are some tips and choices for you to think about.
Low loft, cotton, unbleached, is commonly sold on the bolt and is a great choice. Warm and Natural is readily available, packaged and by the yard, and reliable. For machine quilting, the layers are less likely to shift. If your quilt has a lot of white fabric, a white batting will keep it from looking yellowed.
Sending your quilt out? Your long arm quilter will a larger size or will give you a price to supply it, which is usually a good idea.
Hand quilting? Hobbs makes Heirloom 80% cotton/20% poly that lets the needle slide through easily.
Packaged battings give you many options. There are many alternates to cotton or polyester. Bamboo for lightweight quilts, silk is lightweight and washable, wool for warmth, soy blends that are breathable, rayon that is fire resistant, and organic cotton. Bonded, needlepunched, or with scrim will let you quilt a little further between quilting rows. For dark quilts, find a black cotton batting. Thermore is a thin, drapeable batting. There are fusible battings in cotton, poly, or blended, that lets you iron the top and bottom together. For crafts or a tie-quilted project, there are puffy high loft polyester battings.
Check your batting label to find out know how close together to place your rows of stitching. Usually 4”, but needle punched or other treated batting will let you quilt 8” apart. Cotton batting will shrink 1-3% , which is similar to your fabric, and give you a lovely texture around every quilt stitch. Polyester will not shrink, which is nice for contemporary quilt designs, wall hangings, and bags.
I hope this gives you an overview of what’s available. Our friends at Pellon, Fairfield, and Hobbs have detailed product charts & info for you to learn even more. Try them all. Experiment. Your quilts will be interesting and unique, and you’ll have an ‘inside’ secret!