How to Choose the Best Wadding for your Quilt

Last week I wrote a post on the blog about how to choose fabrics for the top layer of your next quilt project. In this week's 'Learn to Quilt' section, I am focusing on Wadding (also known as Batting in the US), which is the middle layer of a quilt, in between the top and the backing.

The wadding or batting provides softeness and warmth and depending on the type you choose, it will affect the final look and feal of your quilt.

What you need to know about wadding

Types of wadding

There are different types of wadding (batting); from wool to cotton and bamboo, as well as particular blends. In my case, I use almost all of the time a mix between cotton and polyester, commonly known as the 80 / 20 wadding or batting blend. The 80% refers to the cotton amount found on the wadding and the 20%, to the polyester part. 

Low loft 80/20 cotton and polyester wadding

This blend has always worked well for me so far. The price is reasonable, it is washing-machine friendly, good for people with allergies and it is available almost everywhere.

As well as the 80 / 20 blend, I have also used bamboo wadding in the past. I have to admit that this wadding was incredibly soft, thin and oh, so nice to quilt with! but pretty expensive too. If you are a beginner, opt for a balance between quality and a good price.

Bamboo wadding at Cloth Kits

What to look for when choosing and using your wadding

  • Loft: this refers to its thickness. I always prefer a low loft (thinner) wadding as I find it more manageable for the quilting part. 100% polyester (which I strongly recommend NOT to use) has a higher loft.

Credit: Fabric and Flowers

  • Warmth: a wool wadding will be extra cosy and it is quite easy to work with. I would use wool if I wanted to make a special quilt for a bed to use, not only for decoration, but for giving actual warmth when using it.

  • Colour: most waddings come in a light cream, off-white colour. If you are making a quilt with very dark tones, there is also black wadding available.

Black Hoobs Heirloom wadding

  • Drape: softer waddings work better to make quilts for a sofa or bed, while stiffer ones, will be best for wall hangings, for example.
  • Wadding has a right and a wrong side. For example, if you place it wrong side up, there might be tension issues with your thread. You will know the right side because it has dimples. The wrong side showcases little balls.

Credit: Apqs Forum

Credit: Patchwork and Poodles

  • You can find wadding by the yard or metre but also in pre-cut sized packages. These are useful when you are making a Double, Queen, King... sized quilt and the measurements required on the pattern match (more or less) the ones on the pre-packed wadding. Some popular brands are: Quilter’s Dream, Pellon and Hobbs.

  • Last, always check the wadding instructions to see how far apart the stitches (or quilt stitching lines) need to be when you are quilting your quilt. It is important to quilt as recomended by the brand for best results.

    For example, some wadding might suggest to quilt no more than 3'' apart in between stitching lines, which will result in a denser, less flexible quilt. If it says 8'', you will get a softer quilt.

Credit: Learn how to quilt

Some quilters like to press the wadding (I have never done it, I has always be too scared to do so), which will depend on the brand as some don't allow for pressing. If your wadding has creases, extended on a bed or on the floor or a table for a day or so to eliminate them.

And that is it for today! I hope you found this new post interesting and useful on your quilting journey.

Keep following for more. 

Happy quilting!


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