What is the right batting that I should be using for this project?
What type of quilt batting's & wadding’s to use?
How do I know if I’ve chosen the right batting for the quilt?
These are questions I’m so often asked as with so many different brands
and blends of batting and literally thousands of techniques within the
quilting, sewing, textile, & creative artistry area, many of the times it
really does come down to personal choice and preferences, and the project
your working on, but then again ... “not always”.
How do you know or decide just which is the correct wadding or batting
for your particular project. You'll need to read the whole of this, to find the secret to easily being able to choose the correct batting for you & your personal needs.
Here brings a question..
Do you call it wadding or do you call it batting?
I find myself normally calling it wadding, as that’s what it was more known
as, way back in the early 80’s when patchwork was just new to Australia,
where many other countries used to call it batting. I find that more people tend to lean towards calling it batting these days, but it is one and the same thing.
How do you work out what is what when it comes to batting or wadding?
Sometimes it can just be a bit like your brand new recipe book that you’ve
just purchased where you say “I’m going to make every recipe in this book”. The first couple of things you cook you absolutely love, so without realising, you just start cooking those same recipes over and over all the time, and
without realising it, you never did try out all the other recipes ... or batting's!
That’s life…..we all get caught up in this.
There’s so many different & varied wadding’s on the market today, and
many of these have differences in different ways. There are blends of
different fibers, like 80/20%, 60/40%, then there are 100% of the same
fibers and so it goes.
batting’s for bag making & specialty batting's like Rainbow Batting used
with Jelly rolls, and then there’s Battalizer which is used with machine embroidery that has a layer of stabiliser within it, and it just keeps going
& going, right through to the fusible fleece batting and fusible foams for
bag making etc.
Next there’s the normal creamy white colour or you can use charcoal
colour, and then comes the size of it. When buying off a roll, it’ll often be 2.4 mts wide, but if you buy it pre-cut, then you can get it up to 2.7 mts wide, this is better known as a King size for a king size bed.
The most common wadding that people are often comfortable with using is
60% wool & 40% poly blend. This is a very easy blend for people to use.
It goes through the machine easy, it washes up well every time and it’s soft
and warm, most importantly it quilts well.
Most people are very comfortable with using this blend.
I myself have used this above blend often in my earlier days of quilting
where there just weren’t the choices that we now have today. I started
quilting in the eighties.
Many of those old quilts are still circulating somewhere and have been
washed so many times, as they were everyday quilts on beds, etc.
The wadding always stood up to the test of use and washing, and even the
kid’s wear and tear.
What I always prefer to use these days though is either
100% Cotton or 100% Wool.
They’re Brilliant to work with, wash well, they tend to show your quilting
out better particularly the 100% wool, and something else that the wool is
also extremely good for, is that it doesn’t normally leave folds lines within
your quilts. This is particularly good for anyone that is showing or exhibiting
their quilts. You may like to read more about folding a quilt to avoid crease
Now the brand that I personally use is Matilda’s Own, for several reasons,
one is that it’s pre-washed & pre shrunk so no nasty surprises at a later date when I decide to wash my quilts, it’s a beautiful wadding to quilt, smooth & easy, it seems to show the quilting up more, it’s warm, does not hold fold creases like some other wadding’s do, and it’s actually a very easy fibre to look after,including washing.
When speaking with people, so many will say that because it’s wool,
it’s too hard to wash and look after. I’ve been using 100% wool in many
different ways all my life...knitting, clothing, quilts etc and it’s so easy.
Basically you just need to make sure that your water is warm, not hot &
not cold, but warm, with something like Softly or Wool Mix added into
the water. Leave to soak for a while, then rinse in warm water several
times, and give it a light spin in the spin dryer of your washing machine to
remove the excess water. When you hang on the clothes line, make sure you
drape it over a 3 or 4 of the ‘wires’ just to give it a little more support.
Now on saying the above, I’d hand wash a quilt of any blend and treat it
the same exact way, but I have thrown some of my older quilts, all made with
wool batting into my washing machine and they have come out perfectly
Cotton is another of my favoured wadding’s, but you do need to make
sure that there are no cotton seeds within this wadding. Some cotton wadding’s will have a small amount of seeds from the cotton within it. What then happens over time is the oil from these seeds will come out and leave an oil stain on your quilt. I’d heard about this happening but hadn’t had it actually happen to myself, till one day when checking a quilt I found where this had happened. My little Japanese ladies quilt has had this happen, which showed up on the backing fabric of the quilt, approx 4 to 6 months after I’d made it.
It was a long time ago now & I don’t remember the brand but it did come from a place where they made their own wadding’s from their own sheep’s fleeces. It was quite a productive business, and although it was a beautiful batting, I never purchased it again.
There would obviously just have been the one seed in the wadding as
there is just the one place that after approx 6 months I noticed this oily mark on the back of my quilt, and discovered that it was oil that had seeped out from a left in Cotton seed. Once bitten always wary.
I also use 100% Cotton Wadding, within my Trapunto work as well. Sometimes you may want a different look or firmness to your trapunto work and by using three layers of “Cotton” wadding for the Trapunto, instead of the polyester wadding, this also gives a Brilliant effect and is easy for cutting away.
I don’t use any blends at all, but once again this is just my personal choice.
Several years ago, people would make quilts with dark fabrics and then
find that over time, they’d often have little pieces of cream wadding coming through things like needle holes, etc and it often spoilt the look of the quilt, not to mention the disappointment to the creator of the quilt. This is called bearding.
Now normally you wouldn’t have noticed this, but because it was a cream wadding it really showed up against the dark colours, as well as this, if you place a cream wadding under say a black fabric, your black will no longer
have the depth of colour that it did previously, due to it shadowing the fabric,
so this is another good reason to use the dark wadding’s under dark fabric.
For these reasons most wadding companies will now make black wadding.
Just to confuse you even more here are just some of the different blends and types of wadding that you’re now able to buy:
100% Cotton – Bleached
100% Cotton – Pure
100% Cotton – Organic
80 Cotton - 20% Polyester
60% Wool / 40% Cotton
Polyester with blends
60%Poly / 40% Cotton
60% Wool - 40 % Poly – Charcoal
3 way blend
40% polyester - 30% cotton – 30 % wool
These above ones are just some of what Matilda’s Own make, and of
course there are many different brands which will all have their unique
percentage of blends etc.
Some batting's have no glues, sprays or resins, great for allergy suffers.
Some wadding’s come with a scrim on the back of the wadding which
normally means you don’t have to quilt as close together, but you can if
you choose to. If there is no scrim on the back of your wadding then you’ll
need to make sure that you quilt quite close together.
There’s batting that suits machine quilting and batting that’s better for
hand quilting as all those hand quilters out there will definitely be aware
of, batting for trapunto, and so many other varieties.
Batting's come in many different widths, with the main ones being
1.5 mts, 2.4 mts, 3.1 mts which are normally cut off the roll in a store,
but then again you can also purchase it in a pre-cut size of Queen size or
There are also many different types and thicknesses of the old polyester
wadding that we all used to buy back in the eighties, and weren’t they hard
to quilt in a quilt.
If you look around there are many different types of polyester wadding
as well, and they aren’t all bad. The one that I like to use within all my
trapunto work, which you’ll also find here, actually comes from a bedding company and its super thick as well as a good quality. Do be aware when purchasing polyester as there are some really awful polyester wadding’s
out there on the market, so do be choosy when purchasing your polyester wadding. There’s also some super thin polyester wadding’s that also have
their place within our creative talents and skills. Do check out the one I use on the above link.
Have I totally confused you with all of this yet?
I think by now you’ll have realised that I can’t actually direct you to any
particular type, fibre or blend that is better than the next, as much of it does
come down to personal choice and the use to the item you’re planning on
using it on, in and for.
Many people seem to think, the more polyester within the blend, the
easier it’ll be for you to wash but if you look at my, e-book,
How to Wash n Block a Quilt, you’ll learn that to wash and block a quilt
is easy, even with using wool wadding.
I actually take you through the whole process of how I personally
wash my enormous quilts and these are either 100% Cotton or 100% Wool, depending on which quilt it is.
At the end of the day, you yourself need to decide just which is and will
be the best wadding for you personally, but one important thing to always keep in mind…
Always use a really good brand, do not skimp on your batting's quality.
Just remember how much money, time, love, effort and sometimes tears you’ve just put into your latest masterpiece. I’ve heard stories many times over where people are disappointed with the finished quilt due to them skimping on the cost of their quilt batting's. Now this won’t always be the case but it does happen, so don’t let it happen to you and your beautiful quilt.
If you skimp on the quality of your quilt batting, you may end up with
batting that's exceptionally hard to pin, baste, and of course quilt & you’ll possibly be forever more, disappointed with your finished result. It also possibly won’t sit or wash as well… at the end of the day it’s totally your choice to what you purchase.
A Tip to Remember:
The other thing to remember is to always check the labels that come with
the batting on the big rolls in the shops, to make sure it’s what it says it is, and this’ll also help you to decide if a particular wadding is right wadding or batting or your personal project. If your wadding is being cut off the roll, then the shops should have the label on the end of the roll that belongs to that particular roll of wadding. Don’t ever take the sales person’s word for it; you just may end up with something that you weren’t expecting……..
So this is the truth about learning more about quilt batting, it’s varied and
much of it comes down to your personal choice, preferences, needs and use of just what is the correct batting for you, yourself, and your project at hand. Read the labels well on those wadding’s, batting's, etc . Decide on the type of finish you’re looking for and how much quilting you wish to do on your quilts, etc etc. I haven't touched on all the other types of batting's for bags, specialised type of batting's etc as this would become not only a novel but a huge one at that.
At the end of the day, I’m a bit like that above mentioned recipe book,
except I’ve trialed many wadding’s over the years and I personally now
only use three wadding's, as I know without a doubt that they do everything for me that I personally need them to do, whether it’s an exhibition quilt, a teaching sample or something for within our house.
100% wool Matilda’s Own
100% cotton Matilda’s Own
100% polyester super “high loft” for all my trapunto work.
You’ll also find these HERE on my website.
If you narrow the batting's you use regularly, that work perfectly for you &
your personal needs to just 3, then you'll have the SECRET to easily choosing
the correct batting's for your quilts, forever more. You've just simplified the whole process of choosing the correct batting's for your quilts.
Once you know what they are, forever more when you're purchasing your batting's you won't get caught up in the sales talk, confusion & stress, it'll become a quick & easy process of either going into a store and saying "I'd like 2 mts of this batting please".. or you'll just go on-line to your favoured store and spend 5 mins making the order, and then it's done. You'll have let go of all Procrastination.
When you're definite in what you want Before you start the purchase,
that's when it all falls into place, and you'll just smile when you hear of others commenting "How difficult it is to choose the correct batting".
Whew.... I hope your head isn’t spinning too much.
I’m now going to leave you with all these very confusing thoughts about
wadding or was that batting? You thought I was going to make it easier for you…… If you've read this far then in reality I have...choose three and stick to them... simple as life is meant to be.
I’ll be back again same time, same place next week with something else
that may help you within your creative journey. I’ll try & make it a little shorter for you though.
Have the most beautiful & creative day
Maybe you need a cuppa after this...
and you can also check out my Gallery Page as well.