FAQs

Detail of the quilt with accessories for sewingQuilt Batting – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Whether you’re new to quilting or have been quilting for many years, you may have questions about which batting product to choose for your specific project and what kind of results you can expect.

Here are answers to the questions we’re most often asked:

Who makes Hobbs Batting?

Hobbs batting has been made by Hobbs Bonded Fibers in Waco, Texas (USA) since 1978. We’re proud to provide jobs to so many Americans and we source almost all of our materials in the USA.

Which is the best batting for me?
The answer to this question is determined by your end goals for the quilt itself. What you choose for a baby quilt may be quite different than your choice for a competitive show entry.

The following factors should be considered:

  • Type of Project – What will I be creating (wall quilt, bed quilt, throw, charity or baby quilt, quilted bag, clothing, etc.)?
  • Fabric Choice – Will I be quilting with light or dark fabrics? Will the fabric be heavy?
  • Ease of Needling – Will I be quilting by hand, by domestic machine or by long-arm machine?
  • Finish & Loft – Do I want the piecing and/or stitching to stand out or recede? Do I want the design to puff or lay flat? Do I want the quilt to be lofty or lie flat?
  • Weight – Do I (or does the recipient) prefer a heavy or lightweight quilt, a warm or cool quilt?
  • Drape – Do I need heft and structure for a wall hanging or do I need a soft drape, like for a garment?
  • Resilience – Does this batting tend to hold creases or spring back to its original shape quickly?
  • Fiber Content – Do I prefer natural or synthetic fibers? What’s the climate like where the quilt will be used?
  • Washability – Will it be washed often, and by whom and what means? Will it need to be dried in a dryer?
  • Shrinkage – Do I prefer a flat, contemporary look or a slightly puckered, vintage appearance?

Of course personal preference is also an important factor when choosing batting – we recommend that you keep a notebook that includes information about each quilt that you create as reference for future projects. And for those who don’t yet have a personal favorite batting, we offer that a preference often becomes clear as you create, use and wash your quilts.

Hobbs offers numerous high-quality battings in a variety of blends and sizes ,
providing quilters with a variety of options to meet their goals for their projects.

What will your favorite be?

What is scrim*?
Scrim is a very thin layer of stabilizer that is needle-punched into the batting during manufacturing – it
 provides extra strength and durability and allows the quilting lines to be placed at greater distances.

We make two battings – Heirloom® Natural 100% Cotton w/Scrim and Heirloom® Bleached 100% Cotton with Scrim – and the scrim layer is needle-punched into one side of the cotton.

There is no “right” or “wrong” side to these two scrim battings – whether you choose to place the scrim facing up or down is a personal preference, so try it both ways and determine which you prefer.

Which is the ‘top’ or ‘right’ side and which is the ‘bottom’ or ‘wrong’ side of your batting?
There is no ‘top’ or ‘bottom’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side to our battings – with the exception of one product, our Heirloom® 100% Natural Cotton with Scrim, all of our battings are manufactured to be exactly the same on both sides, meaning you do not need to concern yourself with placing either side up or down – easy, right?!

So what about the Heirloom® 100% Natural Cotton with Scrim then? Even though the scrim layer is only needle-punched into one side of the batting, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to place the scrim side – it’s up to you to decide which you prefer, scrim side up or scrim side down.

Please see additional notes about this product above*.

Which of your battings are washable and do they shrink? Which batting should I use if I’m pre-washing my fabrics?
All of our battings are machine washable – some require extra care during the washing and drying process and we advise you to read the use and care instructions on each package before use and laundering.

All of our battings, with the exception of our 100% polyester battings, will shrink 3-5%; our 100% polyester battings don’t shrink at all.

If you’re going to pre-wash your fabrics and you don’t want any of the traditional ‘puckering’ seen in most quilts, then we recommend you use a non-shrinking batting.

If you want to use a batting made from natural fibers, and you don’t like the traditional puckered look in your finished quilt, we recommend not pre-washing your fabrics.

What’s the best way to store batting?
If you’re not going to use your batting right away, we suggest removing it from the plastic so it can ‘breathe.’

To protect your batting from dust and light, and critters and pets, we recommend storing batts inside pillowcases and rolls inside a sheet or extra fabric.

You can store your batts and rolls in the plastic bags in which they’re packaged, but you may experience some loss in the loft if the packaging compresses the batting.

Finally, it’s important to store batting, and other quilting supplies, in a climate-controlled environment – excessive heat (think very hot car!) can prematurely fuse our Heirloom® Fusible batting and excessively varying moisture levels can create moisture inside packaging which could cause mold or mildew to build up in your batting.

Why would I choose bleached batting?
Bleached batting is a wonderful choice for quilts that are made with white or light-colored fabrics. The lighter color of the batting helps retain the brightness of the white or light background pieces. An ecru batting will certainly be acceptable, but it may soften the clarity of a true white or very light fabric.

Why would I choose black batting?
Quilters often prefer black batting for creating quilts made with black or dark fabrics in an effort to avoid light-colored lint showing on the surface of the quilt. Although this lint fiber washes away or can be easily removed with a lint roller, it is a time saver to simply use a batting that is similar in color value to the quilt top itself. Quilts created with black, dark blue or deep purple fabrics, or quilts that are predominantly made with darker earth-tone fabrics, are ideal for this type of batting.

Which batting should I use in my t-shirt quilt?
All of our battings work well for t-shirt quilts.

Many people choose Heirloom® 80/20 for ease of use and excellent durability over time.

However, we produce a batting which we feel is ideal for t-shirt quilts – it’s called Thermore® and it’s a 100% polyester batting that doesn’t shrink (leaving the t-shirts nice and flat); provides stability and low loft and very little extra weight (important to note since T-shirt quilts tend to be quite heavy even before the backing and batting are added); and, the ability to quilt at a wider distance (which means you’re able to avoid quilting over most printed designs on the-shirts that comprise your t-shirt quilt). 

Which batting should I use in my flannel quilt?
Many quilters prefer to use Hobbs Heirloom® or Tuscany® Wool batting in flannel quilts. The wool is very lightweight, but provides a cozy, puffy feel due to its loft and resilience. The combination of wool and flannel makes a very warm, cuddly quilt. If you prefer a flatter texture, we’ll suggest using 100% cotton or Thermore®. Again, the choice comes down to the desired look, feel, weight and warmth of your finished quilt.

Please note that any of our battings will work successfully with flannel.

Which batting should I use for a baby or children’s quilt?

Because baby and children’s quilts may be very well used and will likely need to be washed often and in warmer water, we recommend using our Heirloom® 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend (for the look of a vintage quilt with a bit of extra loft) or Poly-Down® (for a puffy and very warm quilt) or Thermore® (for a warm and thin quilt). All of these battings will hold up well to quite a bit of use and abuse and to frequent washings.

We do have customers who prefer using our Tuscany® Cotton/Wool, Tuscany® Wool or Tuscany® Silk battings for baby and children’s quilts, but quilts made with these battings do require a bit more care when being washed (and should not be dried) and we generally advise against using these battings for baby or children’s quilts.

Which batting should I use behind Redwork embroidery?
Thermore® is often recommended by teachers as a stabilizer behind Redwork embroidery.

Cut the batting piece the same size as the fabric square. Doing the embroidery through this extra layer provides additional definition and interest to the needlework and provides an easier spot to hide thread tails while stitching. Leave the Thermore® in place when piecing the squares and layer the top over the preferred batting for the final quilting process.

How should I wash and dry my quilts?
All quilts, old or new, should be washed with care. It is recommended to wash by hand or in a washer on the gentle cycle using cool water. Be especially cautious with front-loading washers as the intense spin cycle on these machines can be very hard on quilts, and avoid agitating your quilts to keep them in tip-top shape.

Drying should be done on the very lowest heat or air-dry setting. If no shrinkage is desired, laying the quilt out to air dry is recommended. Over-drying is detrimental to the long-term strength and colorfastness of any quilt and should also be avoided. Extreme heat and agitation should be avoided for all quilts, but particularly for quilts with cotton/wool, wool and silk battings (quilts made with these battings should be air-dried). 

Vintage quilts require a more delicate process of gently soaking in a bathtub of cool water on top of a large sheet. Fill the tub, soak the quilt and drain the water. Repeat until the water runs clear. Do not lift the quilt during this soaking and rinsing process. Allow the final rinse water to drain away and use the sheet to carry the wet quilt to a flat surface appropriate for air-drying your quilt – the sheet helps to safeguard the quilt during transport, and without it, the weight of the wet quilt can cause thread breakage or tearing of fragile fabrics and batting.

Should I prewash my batting?
The short answer is NO! Hobbs Bonded Fibers does not recommend pre-washing our battings. The battings are designed to be used directly from the package and pre-washing, especially in a washing machine, is likely to ruin them. 

How do I remove creases or wrinkles caused by packaging?
You can lightly spritz your Heirloom® battings with a little bit of water and toss them into a cool, no-heat dryer for a few minutes to release stubborn wrinkles.

Alternatively, try any of our Tuscany® battings – they are hand-cut, hand-folded and hand-packaged, and not tightly compressed during the finishing process like our Heirloom® and Poly-Down® battings – very few if any wrinkles are present in the battings in the Tuscany® product line.

What is the lightest weight batting?
For those who prefer natural fibers, the Tuscany® Silk and Tuscany® Wool battings are the top two choices.

Both are very lightweight, but there is a difference in the loft each provides. Hobbs Heirloom® and Tuscany® Wool have a puffiness that shows off the quilting designs, and our Tuscany® Silk offers the slightly puckered, flat look of a traditional quilt after the quilt’s been washed.

For those who prefer a synthetic fiber, both the Poly-Down® and Thermore® are lightweight. Again, the loft is the difference – Thermore® offers a lower-loft texture more similar to cotton, and Poly-Down® offers a puffy look that accentuates the quilt designs.

Please keep in mind that polyester fibers don’t breathe like natural fibers do – once your body temperature warms up, quilts made with Poly-Down® or Thermore® will hold in the heat; quilts made with Tuscany® or Heirloom® Wool or Tuscany® Silk batting will ‘breathe’ and will not be hot.

What is the warmest batting?
The warmth of a quilt is affected by the fibers used and by the amount of quilting in the quilt.

Larger air pockets provide more storage for warm air. Therefore, a quilt that is extremely closely quilted will not provide as much warmth as one that is quilted 2-4” apart.

Silk and wool are natural fibers and are considered ‘warm’ fibers – the natural wool fibers in our Tuscany® and Heirloom® Wool battings, and the natural silk fibers in our Tuscany® Silk batting, are more breathable and allow moisture to evaporate while holding warmth in their air pockets.

Polyester  fibers are man-made and they retain a great deal of warmth – our Poly-Down® is very popular for use in quilts that will be used in colder climates.

What is the thinnest batting?
Thermore® is a very thin, flat and lightweight polyester batting.

Hobbs Tuscany® Silk, and our Tuscany® and Heirloom® 100% cotton battings, are made with natural fibers that are also very low loft and offer a flat appearance.

What is the loftiest batting?
Our Tuscany® and Heirloom® Wool is our loftiest natural fiber.

Poly-Down® has a loft of approximately ¼” and Cloud Loft® is an extra puffy batting in the polyester group.

And our Tuscany® Supreme 100% Unbleached Cotton batting is our newest, lofty batting, providing a wonderfully cuddly and soft feel and a higher loft than our other cotton battings offer.

Which batting should I use for garments?
Tuscany® Silk and Thermore® are the most common choices for clothing – both have a nice drape and a low loft that does not add bulk to the wearer. Our Tuscany® Silk is recommended for use in garments being worn in warmer climates and our Thermore® batting is best for clothing being worn in cooler climates since the polyester fibers don’t breathe the same way the silk fibers do. 

What is the best batting for show quilts?
This depends on the desired results – are you looking for a high- or low-loft finish? Are you more interested in your piecing and stitching standing out? How much quilting will you do and do you want your quilt to be fairly stiff or drape effortlessly? All of these are considerations when choosing batting(s) for a show quilt.

It is recommended that quilters experiment with a variety of battings and combinations to find batting or batting combinations that provide the desired effect(s), and that enable both the piecing and the quilting designs to be shown off to greatest advantage.

We recommend our Tuscany® or Heirloom® Wool – the wool provides excellent loft for your design and emphasizes your stitching, and the wool fibers have no memory for creases meaning your quilt, even after being folded during shipping and the judging process, will quickly release wrinkles.

We’d also like to mention that it’s now quite popular to double-batt show quilts, with our Tuscany® or Heirloom® Wool batting serving as the top batting layer, and our Tuscany® or Heirloom® Cotton, Tuscany® Cotton/Wool or Heirloom® 80/20 serving as the bottom batting layer – the wool offers all of the benefits mentioned above and the second/bottom batting provides a bit of weight so the quilt drapes and shows well.

What is the best batting for art quilts?
We recommend our Tuscany® Silk batting or Thermore® for art quilts – the Tuscany® Silk provides a beautiful drape and won’t stiffen no matter how heavily you stitch it; Thermore® is a very stable non-shrinking base layer  – both are low loft and assist in showing off your stitching and piecing.

What is the best batting for hand quilting?
We recommend our Tuscany® or Heirloom® Wool or our Tuscany® Silk, depending on the preferred loft – wool is loftier while silk lies flat. Both are made with natural fibers that breathe and offer virtually no resistance to your needle while hand quilting.

For those who prefer polyester, the Poly-Down® and Thermore® are also both very easy to needle. Again, the difference lies in the loft. Poly-Down® provides more loft while Thermore® provides the flat, traditional look of cotton, but needles much more easily.

How do I use your Heirloom® Fusible batting?
Make your ‘quilt sandwich’ by layering your quilt top, batting and quilt backing.

To fuse all three layers of your quilt at once, set your iron on a wool or cotton setting and simply press the quilt from the center to the outer edges – be sure to keep your iron moving, pressing approximately 5-7 seconds in each area.

To test for adherence: press for 5-7 seconds in one spot, then let that spot cool and gently pull on the fabric to ensure it’s being adhered to the batting. If it’s not completely adhered, try pressing for a slightly longer duration. Once you’ve confirmed that the fabric and batting are sticking to each other, continue pressing each area until the whole quilt is adhered.

Got a wrinkle or crease in your fabric? The fusible medium is very forgiving! If you make a mistake or have a crease or wrinkle in your fabric, simply place your hand on the batting and gently lift the fabric away from it, then reapply the iron to fuse again.

It is possible to fuse one side of the batting at a time if that’s desired. Simply place a silicone mat, parchment/baking sheet or other protective surface under the side of the batting you don’t want to fuse to prevent the exposed side of the batting from fusing to the ironing board cover or your ironing surface. Do NOT use wax paper for this purpose! The heat from the iron will melt the wax and you’ll end up with a mess (and the non-fused side of the batting will no longer be fusible due to the melted wax).

What is bearding and what causes it?
Bearding refers to the migration of batting fibers through the fabric of the quilt. It appears as small wispy bits of the batting fiber working their way through (up and out of) the fabric. There are three primary causes of bearding:

  • The primary culprit in this situation is low quality or loosely woven fabrics – it’s very important to purchase high-quality fabric for the back of the quilt as well as for the front;
  • Another cause of bearding is thread tension – when your thread is being pulled too tightly, it creates ‘gaps’ around the spot where the thread goes into the fabric, leaving space for batting to migrate;
  • And finally, a damaged needle can snag batting as it enters and exits your fabric, and a too-large needle leaves gaps through which batting can migrate.

We recommend buying the best fabric you can afford, and always starting each project with a new needle. It’s also important to use the correct size needle for your project and to continuously check your thread tensionn.

We also recommend using high-quality thread for best results when stitching and quilting, and gentle treatment during washing as well as taking care to not over-dry your quilts to prevent possible bearding issues.

Hobbs Bonded Fibers uses a patented Triple-Pass resin bonding process on most of our battings to reduce the risk of bearding in quilts. 

What are “pokies”?
This term usually refers to small bits of batting fibers appearing on the back of the quilt during the quilting process.

This is most common with cotton or cotton-blend battings and the bits on the back will wash away during laundering. Occasionally seen during the long-arm quilting process, it is most often a result of an over-sized needle or a needle that has a slight burr that is not visible to the eye – changing your machine needle will usually correct the issue.

Thread choice can also be a factor. Cotton is a dry fiber and occasionally cotton threads will pull at the cotton batting fibers during the quilting process – changing to a polyester thread may alleviate the problem.

Using high-quality thread is very important to successful machine quilting – lower quality threads generate a great deal of lint and break easily at the high speeds used in machine stitching.

I have a question that’s not included here – how can I get my question answered?

easily at the high speeds used in machine stitching.


How Is Hobbs Batting Helping You?

Hobbs is "the best batting and a wonderful company! You may quote me all you want, I tell everyone about Hobbs..."My sister quilts like it is a job, (in) my life it's a hobby. We both do large and small quilts. She does a lot of service projects. We both do our own quilting...Thank you again for making a wonderful product! Oh yeah, we love all of them!"

Ruth L. from Houghton Lake, Michigan