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Polyester batting dress
MFA# 2017.4430
Quilt Batting
Generation Quilt Patterns


A soft cushion of loosely matted fibers. Batting is used for padding and insulation in upholstered furniture, cushions, packing, and quilts. It is usually made from Cotton, or Polyester, and occasionally Wool. For museum applications, 100% heat-bonded polyester batting is recommended. Some battings that are resin bonded may include materials that off-gas or attract pests. Additionally some battings are sold with scrim, or gauze, a lightweight and translucent textile usually made from cotton or Polypropylene on one or both surfaces to provide positioning stability when needed, such as for quilting.

Fiber Composition Loft Shrinkage Applications
Natural Cotton 100% Natural Cotton 1/16" 3–5% Soft, natural, chemical free, and easy-to-needle; breathable;
White Cotton 100% Bleached Cotton 1/16" 3–5% Natural, lightweight, and soft; breathable; used when color matters ;
80/20 Natural Blend 80% Cotton 20% Polyester 1/16" 2–3% Provides strength, stability, and support without adding stiffness or bulk; remains lightweight and soft
60/40 Natural Blend 60% Cotton 40% Polyester 1/8” 2–3% Provides extra support and durability; specially designed for all types of machine quilting
Polyester 100% Polyester 1/4" 0-2% Soft and lofty; less expensive than wool; not breathable (can become hot when used in a quilt); can be slippery
Bamboo blend 50% Bamboo 50% Cotton 1/16" 2–3% Breathable and cool by nature with natural anti-bacterial properties; softer than cotton
Wool 10% Wool 3/8" 0-3% Airy, resilient loft; reathable (in quilts this means cool in summer and warm in winter)
Soy Blend 50% Soy fiber 50% Cotton 1/16" 2–3% Very thin and soft, allows needle to pass with ease

Synonyms and Related Terms

batt; stuffing; wadding; padding, Pellon

Polyester Batting
Credit: University Products


  • Cushioning and fill in cavities around stored or packed artifacts
  • Incorporated in padded textile hangars or stockinette tubes

Collection Risks

Batting fibers can easily snag on small object parts. Additionally, polyester fibers may be abrasive. This may be mitigated by separating batting from the object with a fabric or non-woven layer.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Polyester is non-absorbent, pest resistant, and provides cushioning 'memory'

Working Properties

Cotton fibers are hygroscopic and may provide some humidity buffering, but the cotton batting tends to flatten with time and may also attract insects. (PACCIN)


Roll lengths vary and widths typically 40” or 45” up to 90”. Thickness (referred to as "loft") ranges from .007” to 1”. Can easily be stacked to achieve more substantial thicknesses. Some versions provide easily separable layers.

Resources and Citations

  • Pellon Projects: Batting FAQs; Batting Comparison
  • Rachael Perkins Arenstein, Lisa Goldberg, and Eugenie Milroy, ‘Support and Rehousing for Collection Storage’ In ‘Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage’ Lisa Elkin and Christopher A. Norris (eds.), Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, New York. 2019.
  • Safe Plastics and Fabrics for Exhibit and Storage, Conserve O Gram 18/2, National Park Service, September 2010.
  • Preparation, Art Handling, Collections Care Information Network (PACCIN)
  • Marjorie Shelley, The Care and Handling of Art Objects, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1987
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, Phyllis G.Tortora, Robert S. Merkel (eds.), Fairchild Publications, New York City, 7th edition, 1996
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1.998
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online,, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000

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