Wadding Knowledge FAQ
There are so many different waddings on the market, each being best for different uses. How do you choose? Vanessa, our Queen of Wadding gives lectures on the subject; she can talk for hours! Here’s a few pointers…
“What’s a good all-rounder wadding to use?”, by Vanessa, Lady Sew and Sew
When choosing a good all-rounder wadding for your stash, you need to ask yourself a couple questions…
- what do you normally use the wadding for? (Do you need a specialist wadding, for example, heat resistant? or white, so it doesn’t show through?, or black, just in case?
- do you normally machine or hand quilt? – for machine quilting you want a fairly lightweight wadding so that it’s not too heavy with all of the quilting on it, for hand sewing you want a wadding that’s soft, so that it’s easy to sew through
Unless you need a specialist wadding, i.e. white/black/heat resistant, we recommend our Hobbs 80/20 (80% cotton/ 20% Polyester) wadding or Hobbs 100% Cotton wadding. Both are lovely and soft, and lightweight. Great for hand or machine quilting. The 80/20 is particularly good for machine quilting as it’s less dense (it doesn’t have scrim in it (see an article later on, about that, when I’ve written it!), but you can also hand quilt it very nicely (although you’ll need to hand quilt it a little closer together, normally 4″-6″). Great for quilts.
The Hobbs 100% cotton wadding is a bit firmer (it’s got scrim in…). It’s great for hand quilting (quilting up to 8″-10″ apart), and also for machine. Great for quilts, wallhangings, craft projects…
WADDING: To Wash or Not to Wash, by Vanessa, Lady Sew and Sew
We, at Lady Sew and Sew, are constantly being asked whether you should wash your wadding prior to use, or not.
Most manufacturers will state in their “wadding instructions”, that pre-washing is recommended prior to use. Pre-washing your wadding helps to reduce shrinkage as well as take out the oils and resins. Most wadding has been washed many items already to reduce the resins, so this part shouldn’t be an issue. The shrinkage part, is a matter of choice…
Do I pre-wash? Definitely not….
If you do not pre-wash, then yes, there may be a little shrinkage as you wash your quilt once finished. But, the shrinkage is often no more than 3-5%, which translates to that slightly crinkled antique style look that frankly, I really like!
If you pre-wash, then you are likely to do so in a bath tub. When you take the wadding out of the tub, it is likely to be very wet, and as a result, heavy. As you lift it, you’re going to be stretching it, without meaning to. As you stretch it, you are pulling on the wadding, and are likely to make it thinner in places. You don’t want this…..
If you do want to take some of the shrinkage out, then yes, do pre-wash. If you do, then try to wash as gently as possible (for example, hand wash, or wash in the machine on a delicate cycle), then dry as flat as possible. You could even consider a gently tumble dry.
I tend to always be making quilts at midnight, just before a show, so washing is the last thing on my mind!
(The above comments are my opinion only, and should not be taken as the rule!)
Wadding: What to use for a Baby Quilt by Vanessa, Lady Sew and Sew
So many different Wadding types….which one to use?
If you’re making a quilt for a baby that is going to be used around the baby, my favourite is Tuscany Washable Wool Wadding.
Tuscany Washable Wool Wadding has lots of benefits…
- Cool in the Summer, Warm in the Winter
- it’s incredibly lightweight and soft
- it’s hypo-allergenic
- it’s washable, although don’t be silly about it, and boil wash your quilt….
- it’s naturally fire retardant
And for the quilter, it’s great for hand quilting, and also for machine quilting.
If you’re making a quilt for a baby that is to be washed at high temperature, a play mat or similar, then Sew Simple Polyester Wadding is great.
- it has minimal shrinkage
- it’s hard wearing (though beware of your cotton fabrics used for your quilt tops and backings, as the polyester will last longer than these)
- it’s washable, even at higher temperatures
If you want a polyester wadding that has a little more “bumph and bounce” to it, then go for Sew Simple Quilt Lite, Polydown and Hi-Loft Cloud Wadding.
Joining Your Wadding Scrap Pieces together
Batting Seam Tape: Save Time and Money!
Turn your wadding scraps into larger, useable pieces using this 1 1/2″-wide fusible tape. So soft that you won’t know it’s there.
Simply join wadding or fabrics by lining up the edges closely together and iron the tape over the seam. No bulky seams, and just as soft as the wadding for quilting. This is simply brilliant for using up your spare pieces of wadding. Saves time and money, and gives a great finish.
This YouTube Tutorial shows Linda demonstrating that you can this tape on all types of different wadding. Linda was working with us at the Festival of Quilts, NEC, in 2011.