A Few Tips for Sewing with Cotton Gauze

Tips for sewing with cotton gauze.
cotton gauze on one side, quilting cotton on the other, and minky for the binding.

I walked into our local quilt shop last week and my favorite employee walked up to me to ask if I’d seen the cotton gauze they started carrying.

I said, ‘No way! I was hoping you’d start carrying some!’ I had gone into the shop to get some fabric backing for a quick baby blanket I was making for Cole. I wanted something smaller than a quilt to wrap him up in for the short time when walking through the parking lot at church on Sunday morning. Cold weather is coming!

Tips for sewing with cotton gauze.
My intentions were to use some of the plus sign sheets leftover from my triangle quilt, but nothing ever seems to go as planned when I go to the quilt shop.

I have a bad habit of always leaving with more fabric than I intended to buy.

So, instead of leaving with some fabric for the backing, I left with cotton gauze for one side and some Cotton and Steel fabric for the other.

More specifically, I left with some triangle gauze fabric by Shannon Fabrics and the below green animal fabric. It’s from an older line by Cotton and Steel.

Tips for sewing with cotton gauze.
I quickly started the baby blanket at home for Cole, and I learned a few tips about sewing with cotton gauze along the way. The employee at the quilt shop mentioned to me to sew with it as if I was sewing with minky. Half way through sewing Cole’s blanket, I also sewed two burp cloths with the gauze on one side and some thick terry cloth on the other.

Here is what I learned about sewing with cotton gauze:

1. Use lots of pins or try using basting spray. When I quilted the blanket, I pinned every couple inches. I was very thorough, and I had no trouble at all with slippage. I have used basting spray a few times, and I think it could work really well for gauze. (I don’t buy basting spray often…simply to keep the expense down of an already pricey hobby 😉 )

Tips for sewing with cotton gauze.
On the other hand, when I sewed the burp cloths (using this tutorial), I was too lazy to pin them well. I figured I was sewing small pieces of fabric, and I would go slowly, and take my time. Bad idea. I had lots of trouble with the fabrics slipping and going through the feed dogs at different speeds. The gauze kept getting shorter and shorter compared to my terry cloth.

With that being said, I recommend using lots of pins!

2. Use a walking foot. If you have a walking foot, I’d advise using it. If, by chance, you are sewing gauze on gauze, you may be safe using just your standard foot. A kind lady at the quilt shop sewed gauze on gauze with a standard presser foot, and she didn’t have any trouble to note of.

For this blanket, in particular, I used cotton gauze on one side, quilting cotton on the other side, and 100% cotton batting in between. With three layers of fabric and multiple textures, I think the walking foot was a good idea.

I also quilted this blanket with my walking foot and am glad I used it. I quilted the blanket with some basic straight line quilting using the pattern in the green fabric to guide me (I lined up my presser foot with the little row of animal feet printed on the fabric).

Tips for sewing with cotton gauze.
3. Smooth your fabric as you go until you are comfortable working with gauze.
When I sewed the baby blanket, I pinned about a quarter of the blanket with basting pins. I then straight line quilted that small section. I re-smoothed the fabrics to ensure there were no ripples before basting more of the blanket.

I then pinned another quarter of the blanket. I quilted that section, smoothed another section, and pinned another section. I was extra cautious to keep my fabric smooth.

I was so thorough and careful since I had never worked with gauze before, and I had no trouble at all with this blanket. In hindsight, I could have pinned larger areas, but I was unsure about how much slippage I would have.

Be cautious and take your time, and I think you will be just fine quilting with cotton gauze too! I have recently seen gauze hitting the quilt shops online. The gauze is absolutely perfect for thin swaddling baby blankets too (kind of like the Aden and Anais blankets that were my favorite for swaddling)!

Feel free to check out this post as well. I made another gauze + gauze + WOOL batting for my baby. It is quite dreamy and a beautiful texture! The finished blanket is pictured below:

baby quilt made from gauze and wool batting. hand quilted.

(Click here to view the above post.)

Tips for sewing with cotton gauze.

10 thoughts on “A Few Tips for Sewing with Cotton Gauze

  1. Hi Kelli! I was wondering if you can sew baby blanket with gauze on one side and flannel or minky on the other side. Will the gauze shrink when washed and my blanket be all shriveled up on one side, or should I was the gauze first.

    1. Hi Marie, I think you’d be fine sewing gauze and minky or flannel on the other side. I would highly recommend washing all your fabrics first though. I know that flannel has a much greater shrinkage rate than cotton and you wouldn’t want to risk is ruining your blanket after the first wash. You know what I mean? If the flannel shrinks more than the gauze, it would come out of the dryer quite wonky.

      On the other hand, I could see minky being a bit messy to wash without hemmed edges. So maybe a VERY gentle washing or hand wash?

      Is that helpful? Those are my initial thoughts, but don’t hesitate to check around with more experienced quilters who may know lots more on working with varying fabric mediums. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. hi, I’m trying to figure out how different is light weight gauze (100% cotton) from a heavy gauze (100% cotton). I am planning to use gauze as soakers for my cloth diaper insert mainly because gauze dries quicker than fine cotton like flannel. My concerns are 1) does being a “heavy” gauze affect it’s absorbency 2) is heavy gauze easier/harder to sew than light weight gauze? (I’m planning to put it in between layers of microfleece)

    I’ve been searching for answers in the web and I’ve had no luck 🙁

    1. Hi mommythesedays, I sooooo wish I could help you, but I just don’t have enough experience with cloth diapers to really know how to answer your questions. 🙁 So sorry! The only types of gauze I’ve sewn with is the double gauze fabric…very similar to the Aden & Anais blankets. And I don’t even know if that is considered heavy or light weight gauze.

      I hope you are able to find your answers somewhere out there on the web!

  3. I think that gauze fabric is the worst fabric I have ever sewed on. Trying to make baby blankets with Minky backs and it is driving me crazy.

    1. Oh Sandra! I’m so sorry you get so frustrated. Have you tried using basting spray to avoid anything slipping around? Or if you are doing a smaller blanket, could you baste as you go? Quilt a bit in the middle and then re-pin? And then quilt again and then re-pin?

      I hope you can find some joy sewing your blankets!

    1. Hi Robin! Sorry for the delay in my reply…somehow your comment got lost in the spam box. 🙁 Yes! I love the look and feel of gauze as well. I hope to be doing lots more sewing with it in the future. 🙂 Thanks for hosing Monday Funday every week!

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