Friday, May 23, 2014

The Fusible Dilemma

…and the saga continues (sigh).  This crazy story is driving me to the funny farm. It's been almost 2 years in my quest to find the perfect fusible web to replace Steam A Seam 2.

The requirements are: 
  • Has to have a sticky back
  • Layering ability for up to 5 layers of fabric 
  • Can handle being ironed multiple times 
  • All layers can easily be quilted through   
If you can't wait until the end of the blog here's the conclusion: I'm still looking for that fusible. Oh, I think I just screamed!  I hope the neighbor didn't hear me (again)!

First of all, I need to get a couple things straight for all of you in the fusing world.  There are probably 15 different fusible webs on the market today, which means we have a lot of choices and that each quilt artist is using a different fusible web with a different technique in a different way.  This is not your grandma's fusing.  Most of us don't ever draw on the stuff anymore.

Don't assume because you have taken a particular person's class that I or others are using fusible web in the same manner. We’re not!  So make sure when the teacher says on their supply list to bring a certain fusible web, you bring it!

Now, let's get down and dirty about the fusible web dilemma, hopefully without crying.

My first realization is that manufacturers of these fusible products really have no idea how quilt artists are using their product and most of them don't care.  I estimated that last year I sold, in class, to my students, 3,000 yards of fusible web and that's not including what I used on my own artwork.  I’m pretty sure that's more than most shops sell in one year.

I guarantee you that most of the artists out there have never read the stupid instructions, either. We pick it up, we play around and see how we can manipulate it. Then bingo, there's a new book and were teaching all over the world and selling 3,000 yards of fusible web.

 Over the last 12 years I've been using Steam-A-Seam 2.  We all know by now that the Warm Company has taken it off the market. I don't really know what happened so don't ask me. I've heard all kinds of stories ranging from the building burned down to the company went bankrupt, to they all joined a cult and are now wearing purple. But I don't think any of those are true.

So now you, like me, are probably looking for something else to work with.
I have written this blog to share with you some of the information I found out about different fusible webs.  

NOTE: This information may not help you when taking somebody else's class. This is just for my technique and others who share my style. I think you are reading this blog because you've either been one of my students or are about to be or you just want to see what I found out.

Misty Fuse - Misty Fuse is a great product but does not work the way I need it to for my technique.  Now remember, I'm talking about my technique. The problem I had was when I went to do the quilting.  The edges of the Misty Fused fabric started to lift up and curl on the edges as I quilted.  I’d press it down and it would come up again.  I don't like that look. Otherwise, it's a good product with a lot of creative ways to use it - but not for me.

Wonder Under 805 - There are famous art quilters that love this product but I DO NOT! This product does not work with my technique. Remember the requirement list from above?  I have used up to 6 layers of fabric on top of each other and Wonder Under is difficult to quilt through with that many layers and it seems to stiffen up the more I iron it, also. This is not good as I iron over and over.

Heat and Bond Lite – With Heat and Bond Lite you can quilt through it, which is good. I have used up to 5 layers of this product with no problem sewing through it but it does not have a sticky back, which means I have to use straight pins to hold it in place on my design wall and that gets kind of tricky when you have layers on top of each other and then try to move it - often the layers will fall off.
NOTE: If you buy the regular Heat Bond, not the LITE you will really be in trouble because it is too thick.

Soft Fuse - I get asked about Soft Fuse in every class. We did a classroom experiment in one class and found that Soft Fuse was just too thick to sew through when you started layering the fusible fabrics. 

Okay, so what does work?

EZ Steam by Pellon - It is sticky once you iron on the fabric. You can use multiple layers and still sew through it, plus you can iron it many times. The problem is it is really sticky so be careful when removing the release paper because if the sticky side flips back on its self you can't pull it apart like you could SAS2.
DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT buy EZ Steam ll or Lite EZ Steam ll, manufactured by the same company. You may want to reread that last line and embed it in your brain, especially if you're taking a class from me.  It’s a disaster to use. Don't assume that your quilt shop knows my technique or how we are using the fusible web in class, either.

OK, now stop panicking, I know it's hard to find but I have a solution.  If you are taking a class from me you can be guaranteed that I will be bringing bolts of this fusible web with me for each class. Yes, it raises my baggage fee for the guild another hundred dollars round-trip but I can't do anything about the extortion in the airline industry.  

I need you to have the right fusible web so you can be successful in my class and if the guilds don't pay for the extra bag, I pay for it so you will have what you need in my classes. I will also have it by the yard on my web site shop soon so check back. Plus, there might be a YouTube in the future on how to use it and the other products I am talking about.

Thanks for hanging in there with me in this blog.  Email me with questions and check out my new web site.

Happy fusing!


  1. I had a fresh 15 yards of Steam a Seam lite 2 when they went out of business and have been carefully using it a little at a time. I'm almost out, and this article is very interesting. I heard when it first happened that the paper manufacturer who made their special paper had gone out of business and that's what set this off. But I kind of wonder about that after all of this time. Back in February they said they were still working on it, but it's almost June now. I really appreciate your review of these fusibles.

  2. So WHAT is your fusible solution?

  3. I feel the same way BJ. if they where going to come back they would be updating there blog. right?

  4. I just called Warm Company at (425) 248-2424 and spoke with Lindsey in customer service (ext.100). They hope to be back in full production before Fall's quilt market, so maybe September!! Hooray!! She apologized for the long delay and lack of info. They have a new paper supplier who has passed all their tests; the first failed after they restarted production the first time. They are in the process of rewriting their website, which is why they have not updated the SAS status page. I encouraged her to at least update that page with this info. Lindsey thanked me for calling and wants to encourage anyone with questions to call her.

  5. Let's hope because I am in this boat with you! Love your work!

  6. Gracias por toda esta información. Un artículo muy, muy interesante.