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!
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.
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 😉 )
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).
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)!