Which wadding should you use? It is called wadding or batting but it’s all the same. There are quite a few different waddings on the market and it really does depend on what you are making as to which wadding you should use. Also the look you want to have when your project is finished. One thing is for sure is you should always use a good quality wadding if you are making a quilt. Cheap wadding does not wash and wear as well, and nothing is worse than having spent hours making a beautiful quilt to have it go misshapen or to beard because the wadding hasn’t held together well. This does not happen with a good quality make because they have been tried and tested before they come onto the market.
Wadding comes in natural, black and white. The natural colour is fine for using with any coloured fabrics. If you are using black fabrics then I would go for black wadding, but if you are using white fabrics then I would go for white wadding which will give it a brighter appearance.
Bearding is what can happen on a cheap wadding. The fibres tend to separate and push through the top layer making your quilt or project misshapen or uncomfortable to wear or use.
Wadding is available in different weight and thickness which is called the ‘loft’. A low loft means it’s thin and a high loft is thick.
Low loft can be just a warm as high loft.
Most quilters use a low loft as its easier to machine or hand quilt. A high loft would normally be used if you want a puffier appearance and are going to hand tie, it’s too hard to hand or machine quilt as there is too much bulk.
Scrim is a thin grid of synthetic stabilizer or binder which is needle-punched into the wadding to stabilize the cotton fibers and prevent them from bearding when quilted and separating when the quilt is washed. A scrim adds strength and also stops the wadding from stretching and distorting. When a 100% cotton is with a scrim strictly speaking it's more 95% cotton 5% polyester, but because the difference is so minimal it will be classified as 100% cotton.
With no scrim when quilting the stitches must be closer together to keep the fibers from separating and bunching up during washing. Wadding with no scrim is wonderful for hand quilting.
Wadding that have a bonding agent which is usually an acrylic resin (it's like a glue) is sprayed onto the wadding to bond the fibers together. This will stabilize the wadding and prevent bearding. Some waddings are only surface bonded which means that only the outer surface of the wadding has been bonded and the inner fibers are loose. Others which are 100% bonded means that the resin is sprayed and mixed throughout the entire product. A cotton bonded wadding can become an 80% cotton 20% polyester product due to the added resin.
Needle-punched waddings have been mechanically felted together by punching them with hundreds of needles. This causes the fibers to intertwine and bond together. Needle-punched waddings tend to be denser and have less loft compared to the bonded waddings.
All quilt waddings have a different drape and give the finished quilt a different feel and look when finished.
With cotton waddings expect the shrinkage to be between 2% - 5%. Shrinkage is not a bad thing, it will give the desired look and characteristics of an antique quilts when washed. If this is not the look you require then you just wash the wadding before it is quilted so it is pre-shrunk before using.
Cotton wadding falls into the low loft category. Although they feel thin this is deceiving once quilted. Most good quality cottons have been bonded which means they have had a very light application of adhesive added to each side of the wadding which holds the cotton fibres together so they won’t shift or beard. The wadding is stabilized so it can be quilted further apart.
Quilts made with cotton wadding can be used throughout the year, because cotton does not hold heat so you will feel cooler in the summer and warm in the winter. Cotton absorbs and traps air. This cushion of air will keep you warm on a cold winter night.
Sew simple Cream Rose 100% Cotton
Needle-punched 100% cotton, without scrim. Excellent for both hand and machine quilting.
Very soft and drapes beautifully.
Shrinkage only 1-2%
Sew Simple Super-Soft 100% Cotton
Needle-punched natural cotton, with scrim. Great for both hand and machine quilting.
Hobbs Heirloom Natural 100% Cotton with scrim
Needle-punched with a think polypropylene binder.
The scrim binder provides additional strength which enable the product to be hand or machine quilted as close as 1/4" and as far apart as 10".
Shrinkage is between 3-5%
Polyester wadding is lighter than cotton but it will also keep you warm without the weight. The polyester fibres are stronger and more stable and can withstand repeated washings.
Sew Simple Super-Soft 100% Polyester
Needle-punched with scrim. Excellent for hand and machine quilting
Shrinkage 0-2% depending on heat of wash
More of a denser polyester but still soft
Hobbs Polydown 100% Polyester
Resin bonded, siliconized polyester. Quilts beautifully by hand of machine.
Washes very well. May be quilted up to 6" apart.
Soft polyester fibres
Quilter's Fusible Wadding 100% Polyester
Iron on wadding which is fusible on both sides. It has resin on both sides which eliminates
the need for pinning and basting saving quilter's time and effort. May be quilted up to 6" apart.
Cotton and Polyester blend
This wadding is really the best of both worlds. You have the benefits of cotton and the stability of polyester. This wadding feels slightly thicker and normally comes in 80% cotton and 20% polyester. It’s easy to hand or machine quilt and it will keep you warm without the weight. For warm or cold days with this wadding you’re covered.
Hobbs Heirloom Premium 80/20 Cotton
Lightly neele-punched with a soft resin bond. The combination of these fibres creates
a stong and durable wadding which is very easy to work with. Heirloom is wonderful to
hand or machine quilt. It can be quilted up to 3 1/2" apart.
Hobbs Heirloom Fusible Cotton Blend 80/20
Iron on wadding which is fusible on both sides. It is made the same way a Premium 80/20
except for a fusible resin in the spray bonding process. The resin eliminates the need for
pinning and basting saving quilter's time and effort. May be quilted up to 4" apart.
Cotton and Bamboo Blend
Cotton and Bamboo wadding is naturally anti bacterial. It is very soft wadding and is normally 50% bamboo and 50% cotton. It has a lighter feel to it because of the bamboo. This is a more eco friendly wadding which drapes beautifully.
Sew Simple Super-Soft 50/50 Bamboo Blend
Lightly needle-punched, no scrim. Environmentally friendly as no chemical resins or binders.
Excellent for hand or machine quilting, can be stitched up to 8" apart. Beautiful drape.
Lovely and soft wadding
Handling and Care of Wadding
Always read the care label which comes with the wadding. Some cotton wadding can shrink up to 5% where polyester wadding shrinkage is minimal.
If you use cotton and want a more antique look to your quilt then wash after you have quilted, but if you want your quilt to have a flat appearance then wash the wadding before you quilt it.
Any folds you have in the wadding if its pre packaged then an easy way to get rid of them is to remove the wadding from the packaging, gently unfold it and place into the tumble dryer on a very low or no heat setting for a few minutes, this will make a big difference!!!