This post is brought to you by community shopping site Massdrop! In exchange for my honest review, Massdrop compensated me and provided me with the batting, fabric, and thread for this project. They’re good people. All opinions are my own.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship for some time with cotton batting. On one hand, it’s a natural product, so I don’t have to worry quite so much about breathing in chemicals or tiny fibers of polyester. And the stitch definition you get on cotton batting? Nothing else compares. But on the other hand, cotton’s weight and density makes it tough to machine quilt unless you’ve got shoulders of steel, and I’ve found in the past that after quilting, the batting gets stiff. The stitches pop, sure, but it’s a bit like cuddling up in a heavy paper bag. For functional quilting, cotton hasn’t really been my favorite.
But I’m learning that, like quilting cottons, not all cotton battings are created equal. One of the differences is the presence of scrim or binders, which are very thin stabilizing materials. They keep the batting from stretching and warping during the quilting process, but they make the batting slightly harder to sew through and affect the final drape of the quilt. Many popular and well-regarded cotton battings include scrim. It’s a matter of personal preference for a lot of quilters.
Quilter’s Dream Cotton, on the other hand, does not include scrim; it’s 100% cotton. In fact, it has no glues or bindings of any kind and is held together mechanically by needlepunching. It costs a bit more than some of the batting available at the big-box fabric stores, but I’ve heard tons of quilters swear by it. (And maybe the price difference is not so much if you can score it on sale; say, on Massdrop or something! HA.) I was interested to play a bit with it and see how it would affect my conflicted opinion of cotton battings. I whipped up a quick quilt top and back featuring Andover chambray, and then headed to Amy Wade Originals to quilt it on the longarm.
First of all, Amy’s machine LOVED this batting. Her Gammill is a picky sucker, but I had absolutely no thread breaks or tension issues at all. NONE. In fact, I was able to bump the speed of the machine up to a bit faster than usual, and it just glided over the quilt like it was nothing. Point for Quilter’s Dream. The detail of the stitching was fantastic; I used a poly thread to make it pop a bit more, and experienced the definition I’ve come to expect from cotton. I also left a 12″ square unquilted, just for fun. It was only after I took the quilt off the rails that I realized that 8″ was the recommended maximum distance. WHOOPSIES! Thankfully, the quilt washed up beautifully and the batting held together like a champ.
Quilter’s Dream is not a light batting; I used the Select, which is the second lowest loft, and though it’s relatively thin, it’s dense. I experienced some of the usual wrestling with the quilt as I was machine-sewing the binding. Granted, I don’t have much space to spread out and so I have to do the Giant Quilt Roll-Up, but it was still a bit of a challenge. I powered through, though. I’ve been hitting the gym a bit more lately and gave these guns a workout. After I finished the binding, I wanted to give it the ultimate test: THE SPIN CYCLE. Would the quilt come out of there all stiff, or would the lack of stabilizers have a positive outcome on the drape?
The results were in. The verdict: NICE. Quilter’s Dream definitely has the most delicious drape and hand that I’ve ever experienced in a cotton batting. It’s not super lightweight and fluffy like poly, and it’s not super silky like bamboo, but it’s definitely soft and flexible while still being warm and substantial. It crinkled up well, and this quilt will make a great throw for the chilly basement (the squares are a great complement to the husband’s Sparty Quilt, no?). I feel like I can curl up in it and get all cozy. I definitely recommend Quilter’s Dream as the go-to for cotton battings, and I’ll be using it myself from now on.
Massdrop + RST Giveaway!
Hey, you guys! Massdrop has generously offered to give away a package of Quilter’s Dream queen size Cotton Select Batting plus two surprise goodies for one lucky visitor from Right Sides Together! From now through April 10, follow this link and sign up for an account (or log in, if you already have one), and you’ll automatically be entered to win! Woo hoo!