Back to School Party: Don’t Blow Your Fuse!

BTS logo 200 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!

Today’s Step 2 of the Dozens of Daisies pattern for Quiltmaker‘s Back to School Party calls for fusible applique. Do you ever wonder which fusible product you should use? The answer is one of personal preference—it depends completely on you.

Fusible products come in a wide variety. They range from featherweight to heavyweight. Some are backed with paper on one or both sides and some have no paper. For these you’d use a sheet of parchment paper or a special pressing sheet to protect your iron.

IMG 6536 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!

This lightweight fusible has no paper backing. It's just one of the many options available.

Some fusible has a tacky quality so it stays put while you arrange the patches on the background. It’s a good idea to try several different types to see which works best for you.

Here’s a link to one with paper: STEAM-A-SEAM 2 FUSING WEB

Here’s a link to one without: Mistyfuse

Sometimes the heavier types adhere best to the fabric, but some very light types also hold very well. One thing is for certain: patches must always be secured to the background by sewing. Fusible just won’t adhere over time without stitching, nor will it hold if an item is laundered.

fusibles8 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!

The circular center is secured with a machine blanket stitch.

The securing stitches can be decorative, such as a blanket stitch by hand or machine as shown above. They can be invisible when sewn with monofilament.

fusibles9 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!

The patch edges in various colors are secured with a straight stitch and cotton thread in just one color.


Or they can be somewhere in between. The stitches can be straight or zigzag in matching or contrasting thread. Using variegated thread to secure fused patches adds another design element. Use your imagination and the sky’s the limit.

fusibles10 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!One thing to consider carefully when choosing a fusible product is how much it will alter the hand of the fabric. The “hand” is how a fabric feels or handles when you touch it.

Some fusibles make the fabric stiff. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your project. If you’re making a baby quilt, stiffness won’t make for a cozy blankie. But if you’re making three-dimensional leaves to embellish an art quilt, stiffness might be just what you’re after.

Here’s a handy tip to reduce the amount of fusible in your project if you don’t want to add stiffness. This works with paper-backed products.

Let’s say you need to fuse a red circle to a background. You draw or trace the circle onto the paper like this.

fusibles1 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!

Then ordinarily you would iron the entire circle to the back of the red fabric as shown below. You would cut on the line and peel off the paper to have a fusible red circle.

fusibles2 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!But in order to reduce the amount of fusible there’s a little trick you can do. Before you iron the fusible to the red fabric, you can cut out the center portion of the circle.

fusibles3 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!Just cut casually about 1/4″ to 3/8″ inside the drawn line as shown below.

fusibles4 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!Remove the center portion and save it to use later if you wish. Then iron the fusible with the hole in the middle to the back of the red fabric as shown below.

fusibles5 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!Cut out the circle on the drawn line. You have fusible around the circle’s edges but none in the middle. Easy peasy! Below are the patches I just made. On the left is the circle with fusible covering the entire thing. On the right is the “lite” version—you can see it has much less fusible.

fusibles7 Back to School Party: Dont Blow Your Fuse!Peel off the paper and fuse away! Try this next time your project has lots of fused patches but you want to avoid stiffness in the final quilt.

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Please come back next week for more tips and tricks, the remaining parts of Dozens of Daisies, and lots of fabric giveaways during Quiltmaker‘s Back to School Party.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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6 Responses to Back to School Party: Don’t Blow Your Fuse!

  1. Lynn Telke says:

    Thank you for these tips. They helped to remind this experienced quilter
    ways to improve her fusible applique skills.

  2. Johanna says:

    Thank you. As a rather new quilter it is nice to get some helpful tips.

  3. MarciaW says:

    Thanks for all the tips.

  4. grace says:

    Great advice and it is so much easier when you see it done, thank-you for this tutorial.

  5. Bev Gunn says:

    Only way to apply applique-my hand done looks great, but my nerves are quite frayed by the time I get done!

  6. Carrie P. says:

    thanks for sharing all those tips.

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