Tuesday, 5 January 2016

TECHNIQUE: Quilting, Wadding, Batting (or whatever it's called)

I have a confession, I have no idea what the correct name for this technique is (if you know, please tell me!), but it's what I use to join a layer of wadding or batting to one or more pieces of fabric and this is one technique where the overlocker is far superior to your sewing machine. It strikes me as odd but this is a technique that's almost never shown in normal overlocker books. I've used it for a gazzilion costuming techniques, particularly character costuming and props, but it's also absolutely ideal for crafts.

Overlockers make sewing oven mitts and absolute breeze! I whipped these Christmas presents up in a couple of hours

Threads: 4 threads is best
Tension: Normal
Stitch Length: 3 ish. If your stitch is too low it will struggle with the fabric
Differential Feed: my machine preferred a slightly higher than average differential feed, about 1.5, which helped keep the different layers together
Knife: ENGAGED!!!
Foot Pressure: 1
Cutting width: theres a lot of bulk there so you may want lower than normal

Stitch Length 3, Diff Feed 1.5
Foot Pressure 1

Tension is in it's happy place

When to Use:

This is a great costuming technique, especially making character costumes or cosplay where you want to make fabric backed in a light foam or wadding, but it's perfect for bonding pretty fabrics to wadding. I made up some over mitts today using it, but it's great for bags and a bunch of craft projects.

What I love about this is that you cut and bind at the same time so you can easily sandwich wadding between two layers of fabric in one easy step, you don't need to worry about carefully measuring each piece, and because you can see each layer of fabric you prevent the bottom layer having a mind of it's own and getting lost or skewy underneath.


Step 1: cut out fabric to finished pattern. 

Step 2: lay fabric on wadding and pin it. Cut around loosely so that you have around 3-5mm of wadding visible all the way around. Don't be a perfectionist and don't measure, it's all going to be cut off so as long as you can see the wadding it's fine.

Step 3: lay two layers on top of backing fabric and pin through all 3 layers(I've used calico as it's inside my oven mitt and won't be seen), and cut loosely around the wadding so you can see around 3-5mm of calico around the edge of the wadding

You'll end up with something that looks approx like this, pinned loosely together through all layers of the fabric. If you keep your pins in the centre, you don't have to worry about running over them with your machine.

As you can see my cutting isn't perfect, an approx shape is fine

Step 4: Overlock your fabric. Line up the knife of your overlocker with the edge of your fabric, so that it basically cuts of the wadding and calico layers to be flush with the top fabric. The wadding and calico will be trimmed off to make exactly the same size pieces as the top fabric, and will join and bind them in one simple step.

This photo also shows you how I turn corners using this technique. The best thing is to run right off the edge, lift the foot up and reset your fabric so that the chain will be cut off with the new stitch. In this case you end up with a little loop at the end that you can leave, which I do because it's very secure, or trim and finish if you need.

The eagle eyed among you will also see that in this piece didn't quite get my curve perfectly lined up with the edge of the fabric, but it's enclosed in a seam and the stitch lines are through all layers so I can afford to be a little bit forgiving

Once I've gone all the way around each piece, I can then use them as single pieces of fabric and make up my project.

In this case, I used my sewing machine to join my pieces. Much easier than trying to sandwhich difficult curves and 6 layers of fabric in your overlocker. Here's the finished product!

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