Types of quilt wadding – so many these days but they all have different purposes. Even the Americans and English cannot agree on a name – it’s batting in America and wadding in England. It’s the filling in your quilt sandwich – quilt top (patchwork), wadding, quilt backing.
I really am going batty over batting. All because I decided that my new wearables, my quilted jackets and coats must have natural wadding that was breathable. That narrows the choice down somewhat as you will see.
You might choose your wadding based on many different factors such as price, fibre, environmental considerations, loft (how thick or thin, it does not necessarily equate to more or less warmth) etc. You get what you pay for. Since I am a girl that not only likes a little luxury, but deserves it; I’ll start with
The height of luxury. It tends to come in two types – if you are lucky enough to get pure silk, grab it with both hands, no matter the cost. It is breathable therefore will keep you cool in summer and relatively warm in winter. It does however seem to be very rare. I bought from The Silk Route some years ago and have now used it all. I am devastated that she no longer stocks it as people do not want to pay. It was very reasonable just 26 pounds and made three jackets. Very thin, easy to quilt. Great for clothing and quilts alike. Drapes well.
So this time around I had to settle for Hobbs Premium Silk Blend. It has 10% polyester. Not keen on the look, very smooth and unsilk-like. It is about the same quarter inch thickness (loft) as the pure silk I had. Hope it is as good as they say. Next on my list of must haves is
Still quite luxurious but much cheaper than silk, wool wadding again is natural and breathable thereby meeting my two tests for ‘will I like this wadding?’ It will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter, without bulk. Some people say it beards, I have never had that problem. Watch the loft, it can be 1cm thick, which is great for some purposes only. Good for hand quilting and also hand tied quilts. Absorbs moisture without feeling wet.
This used to be my go-to when I first started quilting. However it is not environmentally sound, especially when the amount of water used is taken into account. It is not breathable either, so I am not sure why so many of us use it in quilting other than it being reasonably cheap and very available. It is usually thin. It also comes in blends with polyester, but I prefer it on its own. It absorbs moisture and stays wet, it does not wick away moisture like wool.
If you want more stability, look for needle-punched.
Look carefully at the wadding and get it the right side round so that you do not push the wadding through your quilt as you go.
Also often found as blends. Although it is touted as more environmentally friendly than cotton, that is very debatable. As a natural fibre it is breathable, drapes well and absorbs moisture. It is usually low loft. Like wool, it is said to wick away moisture.
Manmade fibre from plastic that is not breathable and the only quilting that should happen with this abomination is a wall or art quilt if you must not bed or wearables. Available in different loft but it does not drape well. It does not shrink. It can beard. It is best avoided as it is usually not from renewable sources and is the most environmentally unfriendly.
Buy pre-washed if you do not want to wash it. Most non pre-washed will shrink 3-5% on the first wash and some people hate that crinkled look, whilst others love it.
So when you look at different types of quilt wadding, you now know what to look for.
PACKS OR METRES
Wadding is sold either in set sizes in packs such as crib, single, double, king or by the metre. I always prefer to buy by the metre. It’s more economical and you can get really wide widths. It really is worth while shopping around as prices vary hugely.
Make sure when you buy you get the right types of quilt wadding for all your quilt projects. Here are my quilted jackets with silk wadding.
Tune in next week to see which wadding I used in my quilted coats.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021