Make a Beautiful Fused Art Quilt
If you don't have the patience to applique with a thousand and one tiny stitches, fusing is the solution! Fusing makes your work go faster, so you can enjoy the fun part, which is always creating.
In fact, you don't have to have any sewing experience to create a fused masterpiece. When you fuse, you use your iron instead of your sewing machine, so creating is faster and more fun.
Many artists use improvisational techniques, including free-hand cutting and placing to create works of art on the fly. However, I prefer using a simple pattern that I draw myself. The possibilities are endless.
What Is Fusing in Sewing?
To make an awesome fused art quilt, you will need some pretty fabric, maybe batiks or hand-dyed fabrics that have great marbled patterns and are dyed all the way through. You'll also need some basic sewing supplies.
- A rotary cutter. I like Olfa products and use their 45mm cutter for large cuts and the 18mm blade for fine work.
- A cutting mat, again, Olfa is my favorite brand.
- Fusible interfacing (Pellon Wonder Under is my favorite see my recommendations below)
- A hot iron
- Ironing board
- Marking tools, such as self-fading ink, graphite pencils, and tailor's chalk.
These other options for accessories can make your fused projects easier.
- A special mini iron with a long handle is great for fusing tiny pieces
- A Teflon pressing mat. Bo-Nash makes a semi-transparent fiberglass mat with a non-stick coating that is perfect for fusing.
You can find all of these tools and supplies through Amazon. If you need to purchase a rotary cutter and a cutting mat, these are available together in a nice package for a nice price.
What Is Fusible Interfacing?
Similar to a stabilizer, fusible interfacing is a sheer material that adds extra body to the fabric. In sewing, fusible interfacing is used to create collars and cuffs with stability and a slight stiffness. In quilting, it's a fast way to connect two or more pieces of fabric without glue to stitches.
Fusible interfacing is made from long nylon fibers (polyamide) that are woven into a thick mesh that looks similar to dryer sheets. Once heated with an iron, these nylon fibers melt slightly and provide a solid bond between multiple pieces of fabric.
In addition to bonding fabric, fusible interfacing can be painted and attached to the surface of an ethereal effect.
Fusing is a simple process.
- First, place your interfacing on the back of your fabric. The rough side should be in contact with the fabric, and the paper should be facing out.
- With your iron on medium or the wool setting, gently glide across the paper, making sure the interfacing attaches without bubbles.
- Carefully pull back a corner of the release paper to ensure the interfacing has adhered.
- Cut out the desired shape and press it onto your background.
- Use a damp pressing cloth over your pieces to ensure the final fusing is complete.
Fusing Tips and Tricks
Solid color fabric and hand-dyed fabric work best because the color goes all the way through the fiber. Printed fabrics and printed batiks are only printed on one side, which can make uncolored fabric fray and stick out of the edges.
I like to cut my pieces with the paper backing still on. However, many people like to pull it off first. Experiment to see what works for you.
Resources and Notable Art Quilters Who Fuse
- Fibermania from Melody Johnson
Melody is one of my favorite art quilters of all time. I know you'll love her fused art quilts too plus she shares so much on her blog. Check it out!
- FrieStyle with Frieda Anderson
This super design blog is some another member of the awesome Chicago School of Fusing.
- Tutorials and Tips from the Chacigo School of Fusing.
If you want to know all the do's and dont's and all the tips and tricks of fusing, you can find them here. Straight from the source.
- Fused Art Quilts from Emily Parson
Visit Emily's site and take a peak at all the beautiful botanically inspired art quilts.
Learn From the Best
Learn fusing tips from the best. Laura Wasilowski is the queen of fused art quilts. She's a great person to learn from and has a wonderfully funny personality. Laura's book, Fusing Fun! Fast Fearless Art Quilts, covers all the techniques you need to make awesome art quilts! This is just one of her many great books on the subject. You might also like to check out titles by Frieda Anderson, Karen Eckmeier and Rose Hughes.
© 2011 QuiltFinger
nanashouse 202 on December 23, 2019:
i was wondering about the fraying in the washer too. does anyone answer this?
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on May 27, 2014:
@marsha32: That's a good question. It would definitely prevent the edges from fraying, but I don't know if the fusible would peel up after washing. I typically use the raw-edge technique for items that aren't meant to be washed. It would be worth testing out to see what results to expect and if one fusible works better than another.
marsha32 on April 10, 2014:
I love the heat n bond lite.
I've never used it without also stitching around the edges.....will it stay on through washings?
Wanda Fitzgerald from Central Florida on May 21, 2011:
Great detailed instructions on fusing. Your fused creations are inspiring. Added to the quiltiing neighborhood squidoo angel lens.