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What you should know about fusible web

by Jennifer Houlden

Today is applique day! Applique is one of my favorite ways to embellish a quilt. My favorite method of applique is with fusible web and stitching everything down with the machine. If I had to do needle turn applique which I think is just gorgeous we wouldn’t finish this project this week let alone this month. I’m going to jump right in and get down to business with what you should know about fusible web.

Prior to starting to build the flowers I added Rick Rack to the quilted runner. The green rick rack would be the stems for each flower. And by having it run the total width of the runner it wouldn’t matter which way you were looking at the runner as there would be no top or bottom. It would look the same from either side.

Rick rack sewn to quilted runner

Rick rack sewn to quilted runner

What fusible do you use?

There are many different manufacturers of fusibles on the market and each one says it’s the best. Today, I’m going to work with and talk about the HeatnBond family of fusible web. Even the choices within the HeatnBond family are many.

HeatnBond fusible web products

HeatnBond fusible web products

HeatnBond Fusibles

Ultrahold – this product is a no sew product and has a very strong bond and work swell on medium to heavy weight materials

Lite – this product is made especially for light and medium weight fabrics with a special formula for securing these fabrics onto other fabric surfaces – they then can be machine or hand sewn around the raw edge

Feather Lite – this product has a strong bond and is very light weight resulting in very little stiffness added to the project – great for layering applique shapes

These three products come either as a sheet, on a roll or by the yard. And to make things easy to distinguish the different products each package is a different color. Ultra is red, Lite is purple and Feather Lite is blue.

After reviewing the three different products I decided to use the Lite version of HeatnBond.

HeatnBond Lite fusible web

HeatnBond Lite fusible web

What you should know…

1. It’s very important to read the manufacturers instructions regarding how to use the product as each product is a little bit different and requires different heat settings.

2. It’s recommended to pre-wash all fabrics prior to applying fusible but do not use fabric softeners.

3. Use either a low or medium heat setting depending on which version of HeatnBond is being used – heat is what activates the adhesive.

4. No steam is required.

5. Make sure to only iron for the amount of time instructed as over heating can reduce the efficacy of the adhesive resulting in poor adhesion to the fabric.

6. If using thicker fabrics than cotton extra time is needed to activate the adhesive.

7. All the products are washable.

Using Fusible

The paper back products make it easy to trace or draw the design right on the fusible, cut it out and then fuse to the fabric.

The fusible sheets allow you to print the image on the paper with an ink jet printer. This saves time especially if the shapes are small and there are many of them.

It’s recommended to use a Teflon pressing sheet with fusible to protect your ironing board and iron from any unwanted residue. Nothing will stick to Teflon and if glue gets on it all you have to do is wipe it off.

If unwanted residue does get on the iron it can be removed with a fabric softener sheet – yes it really does work but the iron has to be hot to remove the glue so watch that you don’t burn your fingers.

Creating the flowers

I chose to use HeatnBond Lite which I fused to the back of a rectangle of each fabric before cutting the circles with the TrueCut 360° Circle Cutter.

Fusible fused to back of fabric with remaining fabrics folded neatly

Fusible fused to back of fabric with remaining fabrics folded neatly

Peeling off the paper backing is easy and smooth. I could have left the paper on to cut the circles but I didn’t want to dull the blade prematurely.

When shapes are drawn on the paper they are then cut out on the line and by doing this the glue is then right to the edge of the applique piece which prevents any unwanted fraying.

Peeling paper backing off

Peeling paper backing off

I like to build the flowers right on the pressing sheet so all the pieces become one big piece and are easier to place on the background and work with.

I arranged the circles on the pressing sheet to create a flower with two centers. Originally I had only planned on having one center but then I liked the blue in the middle. In hindsight I should have used the Feather Lite version as now my shapes are a bit stiffer than I wanted with the 3 layers of the Lite version.

Circles arranged in flower shape

Circles arranged in flower shape

Placing a second pressing sheet over top of the applique pieces I followed the instructions and heated the shapes for 3-5 sec to bond them together to create one shape.

Second pressing sheet on top of flower

Second pressing sheet on top of flower

After the pressing sheet had cooled I used a plastic spatula to lift the shapes off the pressing sheet. When using the Teflon pressing sheets they get very hot, so be very careful handling them before they cool.

Lifting the shape off the applique pressing sheet

Lifting the shape off the applique pressing sheet

This is a great way to build multi-piece shapes and designs and by doing this it allows for easier placement of the whole shape on the background fabric.

Once all the flowers were made I fused them to the quilted runner.

Flowers fused to quilt top

Flowers fused to quilt top

Stitching down the edges

With the thread choices made for each color of fabric I stitched all the edges down with a free motion satin stitch. This is one of my favorite stitches to use when stitching around applique shapes. Other stitches that can be used are zigzag or blanket stitch.

Sulky Blendable threads to match each fabric color

Sulky Blendable threads to match each fabric color

The Sulky Blendables cotton variegated thread looks great and makes each edge stand out.

Free motion satin stitch around flower

Free motion satin stitch around flower

Often times when stitching through multiple layers of fusible a gummy residue can build up on the machine needle. I didn’t find this to happen with the HeatnBond fusible.

If you do find that there is a gummy residue from the fusible you’re using just wipe your needle off with an alcohol wipe and continue on stitching. The gummy residue can cause skipped stitches.

Wow, that’s a lot of info on what you should know about fusible. I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you. It really is a very easy technique and lots of fun with so many ideas and projects to create. Make sure to join me tomorrow for some great tips on binding and finishing the piece. Happy Quilting!



Linda September 10, 2018 - 1:18 pm

Lightweight heat-stitch quilt ( polyester ), are these quilts soft enough to cover up with? Are more for looks

Leslie July 26, 2015 - 9:54 am

Thank you for the info!

You were very helpful 🙂

Leslie July 16, 2015 - 7:37 pm

Hey there!

I have a quick question…………………..what are the pros and cons about using light weight fusible interfacing on my quilt pieces.

Any information you would be willing to share would be wonderful.


Jennifer Houlden July 17, 2015 - 7:36 am

Hi Leslie There really is no need to interface your quilting pieces as the quilting cottons are easy to work with and if you do not press with steam then there should be no distortion. Interfacing is used on stretchy materials to prevent distortion in quilting such as knits or other clothing materials such as light weight fabrics to give them some stiffness. I just finished a memory quilt made from clothing – all of those pieces were interfaced with a light fusible interfacing to prevent stretching. The 4 commercial fabrics in the quilt I did not interface. If you are doing a lot of bias work you may wish to interface those pieces so that they don’t distort. I personally do not enjoy working with interfacing on the pieces as they are harder to press – the interfacing can melt when pressing if the iron is too hot and you need to use a damp pressing cloth. The other reason to use interfacing is if you are using a really light fabric with a dark fabric and need more substance to the light fabric to prevent the dark showing through. All in all for the majority of quilts I would say just use the fabric as is with no interfacing. Hope this helps. Happy Quilting!


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