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Bamboo Quilt Batting for Hand Quilting

I recently have seen bamboo batting, it mentions machine quilting but not hand quilting, I do mainly hand quilting and would like to know if the bamboo batting would be a good choice.



packaged bamboo quilt batting
Laurie, I am a machine quilter by nature and haven't used bamboo batting yet, though the picture is batting from in my stash.

Both Fairfield and Moda make a bamboo batting and both are blends and are needlepunched (which pertains to your question, see below.)

Moda Kyoto Bamboo Blend Batting

  • 45% Natural Bamboo Fiber, 45% Staple Cotton Fiber and 10% Non-Woven Polypropylene Reinforcement
  • Quilt up to 8" apart
  • They recommend to not pre-shrink the batting first to achieve a hand sewn look. I have not found specific washing or preshrinking instructions...yet.
  • Shrinkage of approximately 3% after washing

Fairfield Nature-fil Bamboo Batting

  • 50% Bamboo fiber, 50% organic cotton
  • Quilt up to 8" apart
  • To prewash/shrink, Nature-fil's website is very specific. Put your bamboo batting in a laundry basket. Fill a bathtub with enough luke warm water to cover the bamboo. Submerge the basket with the batting and let it soak for about ten minutes. Empty the tub and gently push on the batting to help remove excess water. Then lay the batting out flat on a sheet to dry.

    Fairfield adds this..."Pre-soaking Cotton Classic, Quilter's 80/20 and Bamboo batting in the washing machine will compromise the product's integrity." This statement does not make this a poor product, but rather makes for good washing instructions. You know exactly what the manufacturer intends.

    UPDATE: In further checking, The Warm Company's website states for their Warm & Natural (100% cotton batting) that they do not recommend prewashing Warm & Natural in the washing machine because the fibers can cling to each other and possibly pull the batting apart during the spin cycle. Again, these are good things to know so you don't accidentally ruin a batting by prewashing/shrinking incorrectly.
  • Shrinkage of 2-3%

Neither company specifically recommends the batting for hand quilting. I assume that this is because both are needlepunched.

In the needle punch process, the bamboo and cotton fibers are "felted" together by being "punched-through" with lots and lots of needles. (Think of the needle felting machines currently on the market which meld fiber and fabric together with a set of unthreaded needles.) The finished batting is firmer and denser than those made with a bonding process. This density is what can make them harder to hand quilt.

In the meantime, the most common complaint that I've heard from quilters I know, is that there may be a bearding problem with the batting.

As I learn more, I'll post back here.

To Our Readers...if you have experience quilting with bamboo batting, please tell us about it by submitting a comment!

And Laurie, thank you for your question. I learned something today!


Julie Baird

Online Quilting Class

Comments for Bamboo Quilt Batting for Hand Quilting

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Bamboo quilt batting
by: Anonymous

Very interesting article.

Bamboo batting and beading
by: Anonymous

I just finished hand quilting a quilt with bamboo batting.

A lot of it is black fabric and indeed bearding was a problem. I ran a fabric eraser over the fabric to remove my marking lines and, are you ready? removed most of the beards as well.

I then used strips of packing tape to get rid of the lint and have a lovely 'black quilt. It was a bit of extra work but I just did the erasing as I went and because it looked so clean when I completed a section I didn't really mind.

From the Editor: Thank you for sharing your experience and 'fix'. Excellent! ~ Julie

Moda Kyoto Batting
by: Rose L

I haven't tried the Fairfield brand of bamboo batting but I have used the Moda Kyoto brand for hand quilting. I had no problem with pilling what so ever. I found it to be wonderful to work with and it needles beautifully. I did not pre-wash the batting as the mfg. stated that it is not needed and also that it will only shrink 1% in cold wash/air dry and 3% in warm wash/warm dry once the quilt is completed and laundered. The fabrics and threads that you choose to use may affect the outcome in regards to shrinkage overall. It should also be noted that Kyoto batting is 45% bamboo,45% cotton and 10% Silk, not poly. You need to compare apples to apples when discussing the different types of bamboo battings.

Quilting with Bamboo batting
by: Anonymous

I do the piecing and send the quilts out to be quilted (someone I know has a long arm quilting machine - I can't afford one).

My first quilt had poly batting - she wasn't too fond of it, but when I switched to the bamboo batting she LOVED it. Raved about it in fact. Told me she'd never used such good batting. I have been using the bamboo batting ever since. I've never pre-soaked it and had no problems or complaints.

I will continue to use the bamboo blend as I like the thickness and drape of it when the quilt is finished.

Machine Quilting with Fairfield bamboo batting
by: Anonymous

I have used the bamboo batting for 5 or 6 quilts now and love it.

I have not had the beading problem others speak of. I always soak and air dry the batting before use as the label suggests. It does have a nice "bite" to it which prevents the quilt sandwich from shifting as you sew. It is soft and flat. I like it very much and would recommend it.

Hand versus Machine Quilting
by: Matthew

I chose this batting for my first quilt, and I had no appreciable bearding from the machine quilting. I did notice, though, that the batting is quite "sticky"; I set some leftover batting on the quilt in progress temporarily while straightening up and discovered quite a halo left behind.

Also, I started to hand quilt around the edges of some flowers in the outer border, but I gave that up when I saw the bearding. I did start with a John James Big Eye quilting needle, and switching to the smaller eye reduced but did not eliminate the bearding, so I think hand quilters might want to plan on the smallest possible needle.

I switched gears at that point to machine quilt around the flowers using a free-hand foot, and that worked great -- no bearding.

I'm thrilled with the resulting drape and find this blend a great compromise between the oomph of 100% cotton and the softness of 100% polyfil. I curious how it would compare to a wool batting (don't have a quilt with wool batting handy, unfortunately).

I have and will use this batting again.

bamboo bearding
by: Julia

I decided to try the bamboo/cotton batting for a wedding quilt. Thought it would be nice to have a very "organic" batting.

I will not use it again.

It is bearding and fuzzes a lot. My machine needle gets fuzz on it after very little use. Definitely do not recommend. Too bad I chose this for a very special quilt!

Bamboo Quilt Batting
by: Nancy Eisenmenger

I have machine quilted with bamboo batting, and had no problems with it. It quilted very nicely, and the quilt washes beautifully. I did not have any bearding problems.

I have never hand quilted with it, so I can't address this issue.

Bamboo Batting Results
by: Cheryl Lynch

I have used Bamboo Batting for machine quilting. The hand of the finished quilt is wonderfully soft. When I gave it to my longarm quilter, there was no problem. But, I found when I machine quilted with it if any of it was exposed I got fuzz on the fabric. It was not bearding.

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