Wadding comes in all shapes and sizes; by the roll, by the metre, pre-cut, cot, queen, king…
In this post I am breaking it all down to help ensure you get the correct sized wadding (or batting to those from the US) for your project. I will look at how to work out how much wadding you need, comparing bed sizes from all over the world and figuring out which pre-cuts fit the bill.
If you are new to quilting and want to understand your option more, check out my glossary post. If you are unsure about which material to use, read this post first. In my final instalment I will be discussing colours and pre-washing, so keep a look out if you want to know more.
Choosing the correct size of your wadding pack can get particularly confusing, especially with the sizes of King/Queen/Double beds varying from country to country. Plus, we generally like to have our patchwork quilts to be generously sized so that they overhang on the bed. This chart may come in useful to those of you who are still trying to figure out what size you want your final quilt to be.
Even with mattress sizes down, figuring out the width of your quilt can still be pretty frustrating (coming from someone who is allergic to maths).
You probably want your quilt to overhang on both sides of the bed, and just how much depends on the depth of your mattress and personal preference, so remember to add length to the sides. You may also want the quilt to cover your pillows and even fold back over again, in which case you need to add extra length as well as width.
The most essential thing to remember when measuring out your quilt is to allow for excess wadding. The general rule of thumb is to add 4-6″ or 10-15cm onto each side (see diagram below). FYI, the same rule applies to your backing fabric.
This ensures you are not short of wadding after quilting, and you have excess that can be trimmed off when you are ready to bind.
Pre-cut wadding is sold in sizes that are approximately the same in length and slightly wider than US mattress sizes, as quilts are usually designed with the intention of hanging over the sides.
Even if you are working to standard bedding sizes, it is unlikely you will find exactly the right size of packaged wadding that you are looking for. Instead look for a piece that is large enough that you can cut it down to the correct size. You will find that wadding cut-off’s never go to waste!
Below is a chart displaying the approximate size quilts made for UK bed sizes. Whilst the final size will vary depending on the depth of your mattress and how much you want it to over-hang on your bed, this chart can give you a rough idea of what size wadding you will need, though don’t forget to add on those extra 4-6″!
By comparing this chart to the wadding sizes available as pre-cuts, you can see that the sizes are not a perfect match and you may have to over-buy to ensure you have enough, but in this case it is definitely better to have too much than not enough.
If you are intending to make a lot of quilts, buying wadding by the roll is an efficient way to do it as you can cut the piece to exactly the length that you need it, meaning less wastage.
Wadding Rolls come up to 30 yards long (27 metres) in set widths. You can choose between Runner (18″/45cm), Queen (92″/233cm) and King (120″/304cm). You can find a range of wadding rolls on the Cotton Patch website here. Please be aware the rolls are generally to order so call first to check for availability.
If you’ve got yourself into a bit of a pickle and your wadding is just a touch too small, or you have several larger pieces of wadding hanging around, you can use wadding tape (also called batting tape) to stick the pieces together and create one large enough for your project.
My favourite is Marti Michell’s Fusible Wadding Tape, which won’t gum up your machine and is soft enough to be able to hand-quilt through.
You simply iron the fusible tape onto two pieces of wadding that you want to join, ensuring that they do not overlap, and voila! Two become one.
I hope you have found this post helpful and enjoyable, check out the rest of my Ultimate Wadding Guides to learn more.
For a detailed look at all of the waddings available at Cotton Patch, please have a look in our wadding e-book.
If you have any questions, would like to know more, or have some top tips that you would like to share with the community, please let me know in the comments!