Different Types of Batting


With so many types of batting (or wadding) out on the market today, choosing the right batting for your project can be overwhelming. However, picking a good batting for your quilt is very important as it affects your quilt’s appearance, loft, drape, softness, comfort, and washability. For those that are new to quilting I’m going to begin with some definitions:

Batting: is the middle layer of your quilt between the quilt top and the backing fabric.

Loft: the thickness of your batting, it can be thick (high loft) or thin (low loft) and this is dependent on the type of fibre you use.

Scrim: is a very very thin layer of polyester that is needle punched into the fibres and helps to better hold the fibres together. Generally, a 100% cotton batting allows quilting up to 4” apart whereas the same 100% cotton with scrim can be quilted 8” – 10” apart! Make sure you read the manufacturers information as this will tell you all you need to know.

Fibre: this is what your batting is made from. The main fibres are 100% cotton, Cotton/Polyester Blends (80/20 or 50/50), wool or wool blends, and bamboo. Others include silk, flannel and fusible batting. Each of these fibres have their own pro and cons which you will want to consider before deciding to use on your quilt.

Polyester – less expensive, lightweight, readily available and cannot be harmed by moths or mildew. It’s readily available. Because the fibre is synthetic it’s lacks breathability although is warmer that it’s cotton counterparts. It doesn’t need to be quilted as closely together. Although this can be used for machine quilting, it is better suited for hand quilting and comes in various lofts. High lofts are great for tied quilts.

100% Cotton – is a natural fibre so the batting breathes and is readily available. It resists fibre migration, however it may contain plant seeds that can release their oils and stain the quilt. Also it shrinks around 3-5% when washed. Allows for closer quilting up to 4”. This batting can give a puckered appearance when washed giving that vintage look, and is great if that is the look you’re after. It’s also good for hand or machine quilting.

Cotton/Poly Blend (80/20 or 50/50) – as it contains some natural fibres this batting also breathes and is readily available. It resists fibre migration and can have a small amount of shrinkage compared to 100%cotton. This batting is drapable and has low to medium loft and is generally warmer than the 100% cotton due to it’s poly content. Allows quilting 8-10” apart. This is good for machine quilting and appears to be a popular go-to for quilters.

Wool – is a natural insulator and hence is very warm. It’s usually pre-shrunk, pre-washed and on scrim and also comes in black. Although wool batting is expensive it has excellent drapability, is soft, enhances quilting stitches, and is suitable for hand and machine quilting.  Wool/poly blends tend to be the same.

100% Bamboo – It’s very soft, luxurious, silky and supple to the touch, with excellent loft. It dries three times as faster than cotton and does not allow mould or mildew to grow. Bamboo is the most environmentally friendly batting as it requires no fertilisation, irrigation, pesticides or intervention by man.

Batting can be purchased by the metre/yard, in pre-cut sizes (for example in crib, twin, queen or king sizes), or by the roll (in different widths and up to 50 metres in length). Of course buying by the roll is a very expensive option and assumes that you are not only familiar with the batting type but love to use it for all your quilting projects. Also keep in mind you need to find a large enough place to store it.

Suzanne and I basically use what we have on hand. We’ve used both 100% cotton and a Cotton/Poly (80/20) blend.

The biggest monetary cost for us is purchasing batting and backing fabrics. As you know batting is very expensive and we’ve had to purchase it by the 30-50m roll! As part of Sew Generous we have purchased several 30-50 m rolls and this has cost us thousands of dollars. We do not begrudge this as we love what we do as part of Sew Generous with you. But if anyone is able and could donate some batting or backing fabrics it would be greatly appreciated. Even large scrap pieces of batting would help as they are easily joined to make one large piece. Or if you know of somewhere that sells batting at a very good prices or even wholesale please let us know.

Let’s all be sew generous,



Show Case Friday 3

Todays quilt is a little bit stripy and a little bit buggy. One of our wonderful donors sent in a  jelly roll of 2 ½” strips with a bit of a bug theme happening on them and we decided that this would make a great strip quilt. The colours are vibrant and there are lots of little things for kids to find within each strip.

I love using striped fabric for borders, and on this quilt I just happen to have the perfect colour combination to make it work.


I love piecing and quilting but find at times that binding can cause me a little bit of grief. I usually machine bind all my bindings but catching the binding on the back of the quilt consistantly can be a little tricky. With that in mind I bought the Clover Binder Clips hoping that might help make the binding process a little easier for the next batch of quilts I bind. I’ll let you know how it works out when I use them on my next quilt.

Anyone have any good advice on making binding easier? I would love to hear about it.

Let’s all be sew generous,



Bespoke Magazine

I was recently cleaning out my library when I found my issue of the Bespoke Magazine Issue 10, 2013 Winter/Spring Edition. I know this is going back a few years but Suzanne and I, or should I say Sew Generous was featured in this edition. We were approached by Bespoke wanting to interview and feature us in their magazine for the charity work that we do. At first Suzanne and I were pretty stunned as it was something we never expected would happen to us. But soon enough excitement kicked in and we went gun-ho.


Here is a little about Bespoke Magazine:

“Bespoke Magazine is an Australian magazine all about HANDMADE! It is jam-packed full of articles and stories about Australian and New Zealand artisans, interviews with creatives, DIY craft projects tutorials, handmade products, creative and indie business tips and so much more with a strong emphasis on highlighting quality handmade products, talented crafty people, creative businesses doing amazing things, and reflecting on the art/craft/creative industry worldwide. Each issue is available as 1/1000 limited edition print magazines.”


In case anyone was interested in reading the article I have taken photos of the spread below. The spine was too delicate otherwise I would have scanned the article. However, I have also included photos of the left and right page. Hopefully this will make reading a lot easier. Happy reading and enjoy!

Let’s all be sew generous



Please note that the contact details have changed from when the article was written. Refer to our About page for correct details.

Show Case Friday 2

Todays quilt is a really cute one – who doesn’t love owls?! When they are this cute how can you not.

This completed quilt was donated to us by a quilting group in Wollongong. Thank you ladies, it is adorable.

I think there will someone very happy snuggling up to this quilt.


Using strips to make quilts is so eye catching and fun. Off centred the strips really makes the quilt have a more modern feel to it.

I don’t know about you but I seem to have shifted from the more traditional quilt tops to more modern quilting. I just love the look of large negative spaces and off-centred blocks just appeal to me.

I have recently bought a book called Lucky Spools Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making lucky-spool-s-essential-guide-to-modern-quilt-making

I have had a flip through it and it looks great. I can’t wait to actually sit down and really get stuck into it. I will let you know what I think after I have spent some time reading it.

Let’s all be sew generous,


Show Case Friday 1

On Tuesday we delivered all the our wonderful quilts to the hospital – twenty in total. That surpasses our goal of eight quilts a year by a long shot and we are still not finished with this year. Of course we could not have done it without the support of our donors.

These quilts are being show cased in the order that I photographed them and even then I didn’t really have a plan or order in mind. Please remember that I am not a professional photographer, I tried my best and decided to have a little fun with the camera – it’s not often I get to pull out my digital SLR,  a few props borrowed from my kids.

First up we have this charming little pinwheel quilt. From memory the pinwheels were donated as orphan blocks. Effie then used these blocks to come up with this little gem. I used one of my favourite pantograph designs called Plumbago and had fun quilting it.

The colours are just so soft and subtle. I just had to throw in one of my daughters Our Generation dolls and a Teddy pillow to show it off a little.


Many thanks to our generous donors.

Let’s all be sew generous,



Westmead Children’s Hospital Delivery – 3 May 2016

Bright and early Tuesday morning Suzanne and I made our way to Westmead Children’s Hospital to deliver our wonderful bundle of quilts to the Oncology department. After battling traffic for an hour before reaching Suzanne’s house, I was looking forward to the quiet time to reflect on our mission today.

As usual we were very excited by our trip and Suzanne dropped me off at the front of the hospital with “the bag”. This bag is very, very big and was not only full to the brim, but beyond by another six quilts! In fact, on one occasion we had three of these “big bags” and needed a trolley to deliver our quilts! Needless to say Suzanne and I struggled to carry the bag to the ward, which of course was not so close to the entrance.


These are the bundle of quilts we delivered to the hospital today. We had twenty in total that were all donated by wonderful people like you! We will be showcasing these quilts over the coming months.


Suzanne outside the hospital.

Today we had a very special experience, quite different from our usual visits. While handing over our quilts to the wonderful nurses, we met an incredible and special young man named David Whitelaw who had survived his own battle with cancer. He spoke of some of his experiences and Suzanne shared some of her own. What really struck me was how mature he was given his young age and how he spoke with real confidence and conviction. He was truly inspiring to listen to! It’s no wonder he was chosen as a Youth Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Here is a picture of David below with Suzanne, Donna, and myself.


From left: Suzanne Cappello, Effie Steneker (me), Donna and David Whitelaw.


These are some of the quilts donated and as you can see the nurses are quite quirky, fun and have an incredible sense of humour. We love them!

A little on the Make-A-Wish Foundation:

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their lives, give them strength and joy. Here is a link to their website: http://www.makeawish.org.au .

The Young Ambassador program is a nationwide program that aims to spread the word and further enhance their wish granting mission. Young ambassadors are former wish children who are invited to speak at public engagements, media photo shoots, community events, and who write about their own wish and life experiences. According to the website the Youth Ambassadors “display passion, courage, leadership and a willingness to achieve”, qualities we definitely saw in David that day.

David on behalf of SewGenerous we wish you all the best on your journey through life.

Let’s all be sew generous,


A RE-Fresh Start

We are well into 2016 already. I can hardly believe how time flies.

I know it has been quite a while since Effie and I posted anything – September 2014. During this time Effie and I have had a few personal issues to deal with, but now we are all set to get back into our Sew Generous mood and continue on with this fantastic project.

Even though there has been no blogging for a while we have been very slowly and steadily working in the background to complete some quilts.

All the completed quilts have been bound and labeled. We now only label them with a Sew Generous label as keeping track of each and every fabric that has been donated into each quilt is difficult.

With our RE-Fresh start we have come up with a logo for our Charity Quilting Bee! I hope you like it. Effie will write a blog post on why we chose this symbol to represent us, later.

In the last month I have been very busy in my studio cleaning up, organising, cutting up scraps. I now have a system for organising scraps for later use. I will do a further post about how I do this. I love my very large cutting table and mat to help keep my scraps organised. I have a ironing boards in different sizes that sit on top of this mat when I need to iron something – it is extremely handy.


I have also been getting reacquainted with my long-arm sewing machine. It has been almost a year since I have actually quilted anything. I dusted it off, cleaned it up, oiled it and got a checkup for it and then loaded a practise quilt. Happy Days!


My studio is now extremely organised – there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Effie has been hard at work reorganising her sewing space as well. Nothing gets you into the mood of sewing better than a highly organised space.

Effie and I have also taken quite a few classes from Craftsy. We only discovered it a few weeks ago and it has been amazing. The classes are fantastic and they have really helped us get back our mojo and to come up with new quilt patterns for our donated fabrics.

I am loving all the longarm quilting classes by Angela Walters. I have been practising what she is teaching.


Take a look at the classes offered, there is something for everyone, but be careful it can be addictive, you might not be able to stop at doing one class!

Let’s all be Sew Generous,