Improvisational Fused Quilt Art: No Patience Required

17 Apr 2013

My mother used to say to me, "Patience is a virtue." And I used to respond, "Why?"

tips for cutting fused fabric for quilt art by frieda anderson and laura wasilowski
Fused quilt art by Frieda Anderson.
I am not a naturally patient person, and while I now understand the value of this virtue, I still like to skip to the fun parts whenever possible.

Which is why I was so happy to learn about fusing art quilts when I came to Quilting Arts. In fusing, you don't sew pieces of fabric, together, you prefuse the fabric, cut it into shapes, and then arrange the shapes on the background fabric and fuse in place.

Improvisational fused quilt art is the perfect technique for people like me who want to spend more time arranging the colors and patterns of fabric and less time stitching pieces of fabric together (especially when you impatiently stitch them and then find you have to rip out the stitching because you no longer like how the pieces go together).

By virtue of hanging out with expert art quilters and editing hundreds of Quilting Arts articles, I've learned a lot about the art of quilting with improvisational fusing over the years. And I'm still learning.

But if you're impatient and want to learn pretty much everything there is to know about creative quilting with fusible in about an hour, look no further than Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasilowski's Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video Improvisational Fused Quilt Art: Create Beautiful Art Quilts the Easy Way.

tips for cutting fused fabric for art quilting
Frieda Anderson shows the different shapes you can
make for an art quilt by using a decorative rotary cutter.

In addition to teaching all the basics of fusing and art quilt design, there are so many little tips and tricks these faculty members of their Chicago School of Fusing provide in this video.

Here are just a few nuggets I picked up:

  • Clean cuts with unfrayed edges are crucial to successful fused art quilting. Therefore, Frieda and Laura only use rotary cutters or very sharp scissors.
  • Undulating decorative rotary cutter blades can scuff your cutting mat, so flip your mat over to the back side when you use these blades.
  • If you already have scuffs on the "good" side of your mat, cut your fabric with the fusible side facing up so you don't nick and fray the fabric.
  • Also cut fusible side up if the weather is humid. Otherwise the fusible can become tacky and stick to the mat, fraying the fabric when you pick it up.
  • When cutting with a decorative blade, stand up and put your weight behind it.

Then, as Laura puts it, "You just fuse [the pieces] all up on release paper, let it cool, peel off the release paper, and drop it onto the quilt."

Fast and fusible. Now those are virtues I can get behind.

Improvisational Fused Quilt Art is available on DVD or, for the impatient, you can download the video to your computer right now.


Cate Prato, Online Editor, Quilting Daily and Cloth Paper Scissors Today

P.S. Do you have tips for fused art quilting? Leave your favorite one below.


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Comments

reginabdunn wrote
on 18 Apr 2013 10:29 AM

I didn't have any special rotary cutting blades and needed a zig zagged edge quickly. My pinking shears were hopelessly dull. And I wanted to cut and fuse silk no less. So I folded up aluminum foil to 4 layers thick and cut it about 10 times with my pinking shears to sharpen them. I ironed on freezer paper to one side of the silk and steam-a-seam to the other side of the silk. When cool, I cut the silk and got a perfect clean, zig zag edge on the silk. I peeled off the freezer paper and the release paper from the steam-a-seam and fused away. Perfect.

Linda Tillis wrote
on 20 Apr 2013 7:13 AM

I read the article about decorative blades and immediately wanted some.  I put my "bargain detective" husband on it and right away he found a set of 3 on amazon for a very reasonable price! Can't wait for them to get here.  Thanks, Linda