Many of you know me for fusible applique. There are times, however that I dabble in garment making, home decorating and crafts. You might find me making a personalized fabric handbag, a basket or bin to hold my quilting tools, or pretty journal cover that hides a boring notebook. When I veer off the path from making applique quilts, I sometimes need a product other than a fusible web.
As at your local fabric store what to use for fusible web, interfacing and stabilizer and they will wave you off to the Interfacing Shelf to fend for yourself.
There are so many different products on the market today that the quilters are easily confused, and not sure what to buy or to use. If you understand the three classifications of products that you will find at your local quilt shop or fabric store on the “interfacing” shelf. Once you are able to identify each type of product, you can end all the uncertainty of what to purchase and what to use.
All too often when I teach at national quilt shows or quilt guilds my students come to class unprepared. Worse yet, students have “fused” their fabric with fusible interfacing instead of fusible web. When this happens, they are frustrated and behind the rest of the class when they thought they were prepared.
Know what to ask for, and know you are getting the right product to avoid frustration, wasted time and wasted fabric. Learn the terms below and take some time to touch them, feel the differences, and ask the right questions. Once you have learned to identify each general group, you will find it easier to compare between brands within each category. A little knowledge will greatly improve your quilting experience!
Your Cheat sheet of buying
Fusible Web, Fusible Interfacing and Stabilizer
The Cliff Notes: A heat sensitive glue sheet that melts between two layers of fabric to glue them together. Used primarily for machine applique. Often simply referred to as a “fusible”, sometimes called a “double sided fusible”. Common brand names are Mistyfuse, Heat and Bond, Steam A Seam and Pellon 805: Wonder Under.
Sue’s Recommendation: I use Mistyfuse and will explain all the benefits down below.
The nitty gritty details: Fusible webs are designed to bond two layers of fabric together. Typically this is done by bonding (heating) the fusible web to one layer of fabric, cutting out an applique shape, then “fusing” or bonding this layer of fabric (the applique) to a second base layer (the background fabric). The bond is made because the heat sensitive glue or web melts between the two layers of fabric.
Just about every company that makes interfacings makes a fusible web as well. Designers are creating their own branded version of fusible web if they are designing projects that use fusibles. The market is overcrowded with a few fusibles with a dozen branded names. All claim to be the best for one reason or another. Personally, I feel you can’t improve on Mistyfuse, so that is what I use on all my fusible applique projects.
Mistyfuse is the fusible web by itself, with no paper backing. You must use it with an applique pressing sheet in order to melt it to the fabric without melting it on sole plate of your iron.
Other fusible webs such as Heat and Bond and Steam A Seam have one or two layers of paper added to eliminate the need for an applique pressing sheet.
This is why the products are so confusing. You can get the web by itself, the web plus paper or the web plus two layers of paper.
What is Mistyfuse fusible web and why do I like it best?
- Mistyfuse is a fusible created by quilters for quilters
- Mistyfuse was designed to be super soft and strong
- Mistyfuse can be used with or without steam
- Mistyfuse can handle high temperatures and long heat times
- Mistyfuse is “repositionable” by tacking fused fabrics in place using a quick touch with the tip of your iron
- Mistyfuse does not gum up your needle when you stitch your applique
- Mistyfuse has no wasted product
- Mistyfuse eliminates paper waste
- Mistyfuse is less expensive than many others
- Use the Working Forward method to mark your design on Mistyfuse
- When you want to learn all about using Mistyfuse, check out my video here!
The Cliff Notes: A non-woven or woven stiffener made to add body to a fabric. They come in both fusible and sew in versions. Fusible interfacing is attached to a fabric with a heat sensitive glue. The weight of the interfacing varies from very soft (for garments and t-shirt quilts) to very stiff (for boxes, bags and home dec projects) Common names include Stiff Stuff Firm, Face It Firm, Decorbond and Peltex.
Fusible interfacing is often confused with fusible web.
Sue’s recommendation for 3-D projects: Lazy Girl Designs Face It Firm (one side fusible) used in Pillow Boxes and Lazy Girl Designs Stiff Stuff (used in Hearts and More Notions Box)
The nitty gritty details:
The only time a quilter would need an interfacing for a quilt is when making a T-Shirt quilt, or when adding non-traditional fabrics into a pieced quilt. For example, you might want to back a T-shirt with fusible interfacing to keep the knit fabric from stretching. You may add a fusible interfacing to a thin silk fabric to make it stronger for use in a pieced quilt.
Interfacings are commonly used in garment sewing and home dec sewing. Quilters who delve into home dec or three dimensional sewing such as baskets, boxes or bags will need some type of interfacing from the very soft to the very firm.
There is a wide range of products out there on the market for bags, boxes and bins! I take my recommendations from the experts in this field. Joan Hawley from Lazy Girl Designs is an extraordinary bag maker. I take my 3D sewing recommendations from Joan. I have enjoyed using Joan’s Lazy Girl products: Face It Firm and Stiff Stuff for my 3-D projects.
The Cliff Notes: A product used to stabilize stitches to ensure that your decorative machine stitches do not get distorted on flimsy fabric. Common brands are Sulky and OESD.
Sue’s Recommendation for applique: Sulky Tear-Easy stabilizer
The nitty gritty details: I sometimes use stabilizer to keep my stitches flat on the edges of applique. Machine Embroiderers use them to keep embroidery flat and soft to the touch for embroidery on garments or quilts. If you are doing embroidery on your quilts, or decorative machine stitches around your applique, you will need a stabilizer. For decorative machine stitching, you can sometimes get by with cheap paper towels or coffee filters in a pinch. For the best results, however, find a tear away stabilizer that tears away easily leaving nothing behind.
Some types are sticky, some dissolve in water, others are super stiff and can be cut away from the back of your embroidery designs. Some are so soft they can be left in place after embroidery.
Avoid wash away stabilizers unless you are keen on soaking your applique blocks to get the stabilizer out. Avoid leave in stabilizers as they add an unwanted layer of fullness in quilts.
Sulky Tear-Easy is easy to remove and stable enough for simple embroidery stitches and gets my seal of approval for machine applique.
There you have it! These are the products I use in my Rotary Cut Applique projects. Try them for yourself!
Happy Applique! Sue