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Wadding For Quilting

What Is The Best Wadding For Quilting?

Doughty Brothers provides quality wadding for quilting projects, regardless of the type you’re looking for or how large your project may be.

Wadding, also known as batting or padding, is one of the most essential parts of the quilting process. It affects the durability of the finished product and can provide the warmth and snugness that everyone looks for in a quilt. The wadding also gives the quilt its overall shape and structure.

It’s hard to give a ‘one size fits all answer to the question of which is the single best wadding, because there are a variety of different factors to consider. The fibre you use, for example, has a huge impact on the way your quilt turns out.

Waddings for quilting are made from different fibres and materials, with each one having its own set of characteristics that makes it suitable for particular applications.


Cotton is normally the primary choice of wadding, especially if the main fabric being used to create the quilt is also cotton. Cotton wadding for quilting is easy to work with when using a machine to sew the quilt. This material also has fire-retardant properties, which makes it somewhat safer.

 As far as you possibly can, find out whether the cotton used for the wadding has been cleaned via the Ultra Clean process. This drying process removes most of any foreign matter that’s tangled up in the material, which means you will be working with almost pure cotton. This process also leaves all the natural oils and waxes remaining on the fibre, which makes it water repellent. 

The only problem when working with cotton is if you are sewing it by hand. Cotton can drag into the needle, which makes it harder to create a consistent form throughout the quilt. It’s a more convenient option if you’re using a sewing machine.


One of polyester’s pluses is that it is often the cheapest alternative to any natural fibre. This is great if you’re on a tight budget and would like your money to go further. Polyester is also easier to work with if you’re making your quilt entirely by hand because it doesn’t have the same drag that you’d experience when working with cotton.

It’s also easier to wash polyester than more natural fibres. This makes it a better choice if you want to be able to use and wash your quilts frequently.


Wool is the ideal choice if you’re making your quilt to be used in very cold climates because it has amazing thermal properties. It’s perfect for lap quilts and bed covers. What’s more, it’s also a natural fire retardant, just like cotton. 

Some people are allergic to wool though, so make sure you know who’s going to use the quilt you’re making. If you’re selling the quilt, label it properly. It will still serve as an allergen even if the wadding is encased between layers of other fabrics.

 It is also not the most ideal of options if you tend to wash your quilts frequently, so it may be better to select a different material if regular use and the need for washing are a likelihood.


Bamboo makes a great wadding for patchwork quilts if you are looking for a more sustainable material. Bamboo doesn’t need any pesticides or fertilisers in order to grow and thrive. Even when the fibre is extracted from the plant, no chemicals are used. The process just uses water and some pounding.

This material is extremely soft, though, so experienced quilters tend to mix bamboo with cotton to at least add a degree of the body to the quilt. However, this softness does make bamboo an ideal fibre if you want your quilt to drape nicely over your bed or other furniture instead of looking too stiff and formal.

Bamboo is also said to have antibacterial properties. This makes it perfect if you are mindful about potential exposure to dirt and bacteria, especially if the quilt is going to be used by a child or an invalid.


Sometimes, different fibres are blended together to give you the benefits of two different kinds of material in a single wadding. The combination of cotton and polyester is one of the most common blends available, usually mixed at an 80:20 ratio. As mentioned earlier, cotton and bamboo also make a great combination, usually mixed in a 50:50 ratio.


Polyester foam is more commonly used in wall hangings and tote bags. It’s a great material to work with if you use a machine for your quilting projects, but it’s not ideal for hand quilting. 

The great thing about foam is that it makes your quilt lines more distinctive, leaving you with a beautiful finish.

Insulating wadding

Insulating wadding is ideal for quilted products that are exposed to heat all the time, as well as products that are meant to keep things cold. Some examples are oven gloves, lunch bags, and wine coolers. This material feels like felt and often has a silver thermal layer that looks like aluminium. Its heat-resistant properties allow it to maintain a specific temperature beneath the surface.

 Here at Doughty Brothers,we offer a wide range of quilt wadding for all your quilting requirements.

Common Issues When Choosing the Wrong Type of Wadding

What happens when you choose the wrong type of wadding? There are a number of potential problems that could leave your final product less than satisfactory. 

Shrinkage is one of the most common problems, especially when using cotton wadding. 

Cotton can shrink by anything from 1% up to 5% when washed. If you want to avoid this, it’s suggested you wash the material before using it in your quilt. Simply soak it in mild detergent for around 15 minutes, then lay it on a flat surface to allow it to dry naturally. Avoid putting it into the washing machine or dryer.

 Shrinkage can add to aesthetics though, so for some quilting enthusiasts, the shrinking effect is considered an advantage. It gives quilts an antique look, which is perfect if you’re a fan of classic designs. 

Bearding is another common problem, especially if you buy low-quality wadding. Because the fibres are not properly bonded, you’ll see strands of wadding working their way out of the covering fabric. 

If you want top-notch results, why not buy your wadding from us? We sell only high-quality wadding here at Doughty Brothers, giving you the assurance that your quilting projects will turn out just as you’d hoped. Call us on 01432 353 951 or browse through our wide collection of different fibres and materials to pick the one that works best for your project.


What is quilt wadding?

Wadding is the layer of material in between the quilt surface and backing fabric. There are various types of wadding you can choose between, and it’s often this choice that determines the appearance of the finished quilt. One of the first choices in terms of wadding is the thickness you would like for your finished product.

Which wadding to use for your quilting project?

If you are planning to start stuffing for quilting projects but aren’t sure which wadding to use, these are the main types available:

  • Cotton wadding.
  • Polyester wadding.
  • Wool wadding for quilts UK.
  • Bamboo wadding.
  • Wadding blends.

Can you quilt without batting?

You can, but it’s not necessarily a good idea. It’s preferable if you compromise: if you’re making the item for a warmer climate, for instance, you can use less batting or choose a thin summer-like fabric to insert between the bottom and top layers.

How many inches should be between quilts?

When using padding for quilting, most projects require eight to ten inches between quilting lines. Some people prefer to quilt every four inches. It’s part personal preference and part practicality – if you’ll be washing your quilt often, for instance, it’s better to add more quilting stitches.

Can you wash cotton wadding?

Yes, but take note that cotton and bamboo batting are known to shrink when washed. It’s often recommended you wash your wadding before you use it in a project to get the shrinking done beforehand. If you want your quilt to look crinkly, then by all means wash it, but if you prefer no shrinkage, stick to wool or polyester.

Should you wash batting before quilting?

Most batting can be prewashed if you choose, although it’s not always necessary. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure, but the most modern quilt battings are made to withstand shrinking or reduce the possibilities of shrinking to a minimum.

What is the warmest batting for quilts?

If you want your quilt to be snug and warm, the best batting to go for is wool. This is well-known by hand quilters for offering cosywarmth and is also easy to hand quilt. Wool has an airy loft which makes for highly defined quilting stitches, and is the best choice for warmer quilts.

Can you join wadding together?

Yes. Line the edges up closely together to join the fabrics or polyester wadding for quilting. Then, iron tape over the seam. This avoidscreating bulky seams and makes the join just as soft as other parts of the quilt. Joining wadding is an ideal way of using up any spare pieces of wadding.

How do you choose wadding for quilts?

Quilting wadding’s thickness and weight are measured by its loft. A high loft wadding means thick, while a low loft means thin. If you want your project to have a relatively flat finish, choose a low loft wadding like bamboo. If, though, you’re making a luxurious quilt, choose a higher loft wadding like wool, which is usually the thickest batting.

Which side of batting faces up?

Most batting has a right and a wrong side, just like other types of material. If your lining for quilting has been needle-punched when manufactured, you’ll see small pinholes on the surface. You want your sewing or machine needleto go in the same direction. The underside of the batting often has more pills and slubs, which can cause bearding.

All About Batting – A Guide To Choosing The Right One

Here are some of the best wadding for quilting fibres: 

  • Synthetic. Some examples of such are recycled plastics, polyesters, and so forth.
  • Natural. This includes cotton, soy, wool, silk, bamboo, etc. 

You can often combine two types of wadding depending on the look of the quilt you want and how it will be used. 

The thickness of the various types of wadding is referred to as high or low loft. High loft wadding gives a thicker and fluffier quilt. Low loft makes a thinner one,with less weight and fewer layers to it.

Several QualitiesOfBatting That You Should Know

Below are some of the batting qualities you need be aware of:

  • Bearding.This is when fibres from your batting work through the outer fabric of the quilt. It’s often most noticeable when using darker fabrics. Try to select a batting colourthat works with your quilt colour.
  • Drapability.This feature is affected by the density or sparseness of the quilting. For a softer drape, thinner batting and denser quilting are a must.
  • Grain Line.Batting can have grain lines like fabrics. Try to match the lengthwise grain of the batting and backing to avoid distortion.
  • Resiliency. Some battings like polyester resist creasing and return to their original form when unfolded. This is perfect if you want a quilt with a puffy look.

Ways To Choose The Right Quilt Batting

If you are planning a quilt project, here are some factors that will help you choose the right wadding for quilting by the metre:

  •  Environment.Consider where the quilt will be used and use that to guide you on the warmth level, weight, and loft needed for your quilt.
  • Appearance.Do you want your quilt craft to look puffy, flat, or crinkled? Different types of wadding will offer different effects, so use this to guide you towards the right material.
  • Budget. We’re all on a budget and some types are cheaper than others – so this may play a part in your final choice.

A Brief Guide ToMakingA Quilt

A quick overview of the quilt-making process using quilt batting:

  • Choose appropriate tools. Precision is important if you want a symmetrical quilt; the materials you use are important if you want your quilt to last, so don’t compromise on these throughout the project.
  • Preparation. Wash your fabric and batting if required, iron the fabric, measure and cut it into your chosen design.
  • Quilting the fabric. Pin the fabric together to make it easier to sew it in your chosen design. Machine or hand-stitch the fabric together. Iron the seams.
  • Finishing your quilt. Cut filling for quilting of a type that matches your quilt’s purpose – wool for extra warmth, polyester for frequent washing, and so on. Insert the batting between the quilt top and the backing material. Baste it by pinning the layers together or using a basting spray. Finally, sew the layers together.

For more information on quilt wadding UK supplies and to choose the one that’s right for your project, shop here at Doughty Brotherstoday.