Batting has a right and wrong side

When I started quilting I watched a video on YouTube that talked about pimples and dimples of batting. Weird right? Sure, but it is actually an easy way to determine the right and wrong side of batting.

In case you missed it: Yes, there is a right and wrong side on batting. But only on needle punched batting which is what we mostly get in South Africa.

Of course there are all kinds of batting like wool, cotton, bamboo and good old polyester – also known as loomtex to us folks in South Africa.

This is 100% cotton batting available from The Fabric Contessa in Paarl. Picture from The Fabric Contessa.

Some quilters like to use a combination of cotton and polyester to add weight to the quilt, and this will make it warmer too.  I use lightweight polyester because it is more cost effective and easily available.  Cotton and bamboo batting is mostly imported to South Africa which makes it very expensive.

Which is right, and which is wrong?

Pimples on polyester batting
Dimples on bamboo batting

I mentioned the pimple, dimple thing right? Well you want your dimples to show and the pimples to hide. The dimples are the right side and go to the top of your quilt i.e. against the quilt top, and the pimple side goes to the backing.

Needle punching causes dimples on the side that it pushes through, so from the top. Pimples come through with the needle at the bottom and stays there.

Okay, so why is right and wrong sides important?

Back to the pimple side – on a quilt it will show some beard growth. Over time as you use it, it will come through the fabric – not like a serious beard, it’s just what it’s called when that happens. It’s kinda sorta like your favourite down pillow that shoves the end of a feather right into your face just as you nod off to sleep – the beard from batting’s pimple side shows up about as often as a top quality down pillow’s feathers. And it won’t poke you.

It just doesn’t look nice when this happens at a quilt show, or the competition is narrowed down to two of you and yours happens to shove a batting fibre through the fabric just when the magnifying glass comes out..

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