One of the easiest ways to make a quilt top is to fuse the fabric pieces in place to create the design. Fabric fusing is the perfect method for contemporary quilt artists who like to improvise in their quilt making.
To make fused quilt projects even easier, experienced artists fuse a stash of fabrics ahead of time so they can just cut and place their fabrics when they make a quilt. Once they have an arrangement they like, they fuse the pieces into place with an iron. No seam ripping involved!
There are many types and brands of fusible, and every quilt artist has preferences. When fusing fabric, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning to help ensure success.
But there are a few general tricks for fusing and using fused fabrics for quilt making, and Laura Wasilowski and Frieda Anderson, members of The Chicago School of Fusing, know pretty much all of them.
Here is some of their best advice:
1. If you’re using a paper-backed fusible, the rough side is the side with the glue. Lay the rough side onto the back of your fabric.
2. Use a hot, dry iron (the cotton setting) and cover the fusible with a piece of the release paper that comes with your fusible, or, use a piece of baking parchment. This will protect your iron from the glue.
3. Don’t over-fuse; the excessive heat will cause the glue to harden and make the fabric stiff.
4. After the fusible has cooled, use a rotary cutter to trim off any excess fabric that hasn’t been covered with fusible. This way, you won’t end up with any partially fused piece of fabric.
5. To separate the backing sheet from the fused fabric, use what Laura calls the squirrel and swipe method. With your hand flat, burrow your fingertips forward between the fabric and the backing sheet (this is the squirrel part). Go a little way in, then swipe your hand side to side once each way quickly to release the outer edges of the paper. Squirrel in a little more, then swipe again. This will help release the paper whole, so you can use it again for protecting your iron, transferring motif shapes, etc.
Once you have your fabric fused and ready to go, you’re ready to cut, play, and design. In their DVD Improvisational Fused Quilt Art: Create Beautiful Art Quilts the Easy Way, Laura and Frieda teach you how to make a quilt using fusing and improvisational methods. With their expertise and your fabric stash, you’ll be creating beautiful quilt projects using improvisation, fusing, appliqué, and more in no time.
P.S. Do you fuse a stack of fabric in advance, or fuse as you go? Reveal your method and tell me why you prefer it in the comments section below.