Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Favourite Fusible Webs

Hi everyone:
Pumpkin appliqués done with Shades Soft Fuse
In my last post I showed you the Perky Pumpkins tablerunner project that I was working on. While I was fusing down the appliqués, I started thinking about the various types of paper-backed fusible web that were available to use in these types of projects. There are many different brands of fusible web and they all have their uses, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Let's take a look at a few of my favourites. 
My default fusible web product is 805 Wonder-Under by Pellon
Traced appliqué shapes on Wonder-Under
It's inexpensive, easy to use and does the job for me. I use it for simple shapes and often window it (cutting out the centre portion) on larger shapes or if I am going to be doing some layering. It can be a bit stiff, especially if you are layering, so I wouldn't recommend it for quilts or wearable projects. I use it on non-wearable items, such as tablerunners or wall hangings, so the stiffness that sometimes results isn't really a concern for me. This is how Pellon describes this product:

"The original paper backed fusible web.  Regular weight. Machine stitchable, fuses easily in seconds. Fabric maintains a soft hand after fusing. Great for apparel, home decor and craft projects. Fuse detail areas including hems in denim, facings, applique, cut-work and monogramming. Bonds fabric to fabric or any porous surface.Example: wood, cardboard and much more!"

If I ever need to bond my fabric to a wood background, I'll know what product to use!
I used Wonder-Under for Hoot-mon! and
the appliqués were quite stiff
If I want a product that is lighter and less stiff, I go to my second favourite product, Shades Soft Fuse.

This product is just as the name says - it remains soft and you fuse it down. Unlike most fusible web products, Shades Soft Fuse is 37" wide. This product was developed by Stacy Michell of Shades Textiles.Co., who describes Shades Soft Fuse as "paperbacked fusible web for machine appliqué or hand appliqué quilts". 

Image courtesy of
I usually purchase it at my local quilt shop where they already cut it into 1 metre lengths. I really like the light hand that the fabrics retain after fusing and this is a perfect choice for layering appliqué shapes. It fuses quickly - almost instantaneously - so you don't have to hold the iron on it for very long. The only downside of this product is the price - over $14.00 the last time I purchased a metre of it. Since Wonder-Under is about $5.00 a metre, it's still a better price, even if it is only 17" in width. 
I used Shades Soft Fuse for the pumpkins, stems and leaves
The other product that I sometimes use is Steam-a-Seam 2. There is often confusion about this product because there are actually four similar products available from The Warm Company (Steam-a-Seam, Lite Steam-a-Seam, Steam-a-Seam 2, Lite Steam-a-Seam 2). You need to understand the differences in these products before you decide which you'd like to use. As The Warm Company explains on their website:

"The original, Steam-A-Seam Sticky Back, has the pressure sensitive adhesive (the "stick") on one side which allows for a temporary hold to the appliqué material. It shifts easily on the second material allowing you to quickly reposition your appliqué pieces until pressed with an iron for a permanent bond. Once fused the bond is the same as Steam-A-Seam 2.

Steam-A-Seam 2 Double Stick has the pressure sensitive on both sides which allows for a temporary hold to both the appliqué material and the background material. You can hold your project vertically and the appliqué pieces stay in place and are still repositionable until fused with an iron. Before fusing, tack your project to a wall or try on a garment to check appliqué placement. You're able to reposition pieces while you're wearing them. Once fused the bond is the same as the original Steam-A-Seam."

Image courtesy of
I like to use Steam-a-Seam 2 as you can reposition the appliqué shapes and temporarily "fuse" them down by pressing them onto the background with your hand. They stay in place and you can move them around until you are satisfied with the arrangement before you fuse them down with the iron. I find the Steam-a-Seam products add about the same level of stiffness to the appliqué shapes as Wonder-Under. 

So those are my top 3 fusible web products that I use. There are many more available in your local quilt shop and on-line, so if you aren't totally happy with the product that you're currently using, why not try out some of the other choices?

What type of fusible web product do you use and why? Leave me a comment and let me know.


free indeed said...

THanks for clarifying. I have resisting doing fusible projects just because I am so mystified by all the products out there! I guess I just need to jump in and try them myself, but this was very helpful to give me the general idea.

Chatterbox Quilts said...

I know that it can be overwhelming, but maybe just pick up two different brands of fusible web and try them out to see how you like them. Fusible web appliqué is a very easy and fast technique so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Just remember that you trace the designs in reverse to what the finished appliqué will be - the templates are usually already reversed for you so you just trace them and you're good to go. I always include full-size templates and step-by-step instructions in all my fusible web appliqué patterns to ensure that even beginners can complete them easily. Jump in and try it out - I'd love to hear how you do :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the clarification of all of the Steam-A-Seams! I'm designing a project that will require hand embroidery (of an entire town outline) but want to use machine embroidery for the trees. If you have any hints on types of stabilizers I could certainly use it! Thanks.

Not1knowsme said...

Hi Kim

I like to draw my own shapes, trace my grand children's hands and otherwise write on the fusible webs. Do you have a recommendation for one that is easier to write on for my purposes?

I've always used the Heat n Bond Light because I usually hand applique or blanket stitch my appliques to quilt blocks, however now that I have discovered machine embroidery and arthritis is taking away my ability to do the fine applique I enjoyed, I find blanket stitch my standby to do while listening to a book or a tv show. I use Steam a Seam on a roll, the 1/8" or the 1/4" if I want to do dimensional blocks, say a snowman with stuffing in his tummy or hat, or a purse with a 3D look.

I enjoyed your article very much and much Thanks also for All About Applique for sharing your blog with us.

Ila in Maine

Chatterbox Quilts said...

Ooh, sorry, I don't do machine embroidery (I don't use any stabilizer for my hand embroidery, just hoop it), however you might want to check the Sulky website as they have excellent stabilizers and information on them available there. Good luck on your project.

Chatterbox Quilts said...

I've found most of the fusible webs are similar as far as drawing on them, but I do have a recommendation for the type of pen I use. I use a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point black marker to trace my shapes and find this works very well on any type of paper-backed fusible web. If you've been using another type of pen or pencil, you might find that this works better for you.

Etana said...

I used Wonder-Under by Pellon on the quilt I'm making and I'm almost finished, BUT there is some of the glue from the Wonder-Under showing on some of my fabric front. I expected it would wash right out. It has stuck and I cannot get it off. I am wondering whether to use Glue Be Gone. I tried washing, and I tried Shout Stain Remover. I am so upset. I don't know where to find out how to remove it from the cotton fabric. I hope you see this post! thanks, Etana