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Quilting: What Is Fusing and How to Do It

QuiltFinger creates her own patterns to make beautiful fused creations.

My fused creations.

My fused creations.

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.

Fusing Tools and Materials

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, including:

  • Scissors
  • 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.com. If you need to purchase a rotary cutter and a cutting mat, these are available together in a nice package for a nice price.

It is the so-called fusibles that make fusing what it is! These are materials made from synthetic web and resins that melt and bond under heat. Try it! You'll like it!

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 1-2-3

Fusing is a simple process.

  1. 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.
  2. With your iron on medium or the wool setting, gently glide across the paper making sure the interfacing attaches without bubbles.
  3. Carefully, pull back a corner of the release paper to ensure the interfacing has adhered.
  4. Cut out the desired shape and press it onto your background.
  5. 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

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.

Great Books About Fusing From Amazon

© 2011 QuiltFinger

Comments

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.