just the {fusible} facts ~ misty fuse, steam-a-seam2

MarveLes Art StudiosBlogs, Tutorial 22 Comments

hey peeps ~

first, i’m not an expert at fusibles…  but i have used them a lot!  so i thought i’d share what i’ve discovered, and why i use  different brands, and types, and why and where i determine to use them. {to the best of my skill!} lol

my most favorite fusible is “steam-a-seam 2” the “lite” version of the original.  it was out of production for a bit, but now it’s back, and i am super glad.  this product is slightly sticky, so that once you’ve cut your shape out, it stays where you place it.  which is excellent if you’re working on a wall, but it is also nice to keep your placement firm…. until you fuse it.  which is great for collage! the fusible glue on the back does not become permanent until you decide to iron it with a very hot, steam-oriented iron.  hint:  the name indicates how to make it work permanently… it requires steam!

steam-a-seam2 is great for large flower shapes, like shown above and below on this fat-quarter-size piece of fabric:

when it came back into production, i purchased a large box of it.  the collage quilts i’m making require at least 5 yards, but i’m using more as i’m building up a supply of elements.

steam-a-seam2 has two pieces of paper encasing the glue fusible.  i just pull back the top, and lay it fusible side down, onto the backside of my fabric.

i smooth it out with my hand, and… i also lighly touch the iron surface over it all, just to get a nice bond that won’t easily peel off.

perhaps you want to “piece” a shape you’ve cut out, and this is easily done, too. i sometimes generally cut around it, and then later, specifically cut the shape how i want it to be.

or you can do several at once.  

i cut them very specifically from the web, ensuring there is as little as possible, no {wasted} extra fusible surrounding it, and then iron it very slightly to set the glue until i peel the paper back and use it in a collaged piece. 
{cutting it into a more specific detailed shape as needed}

i save almost all of my leftover pieces in their own bag… they do come in hand now and then, and i do, and have used them lots:

and they can be pieced onto a shape, if you are using steam-a-steam brand.  {this is kinda awkward, but it works in a pinch!} i also do this on a protective teflon sheet, and i highly recommend having at least two of these sheets ~ one on the top and the other on the bottom. {your iron will thank you} and you will be thankful you don’t have to clean your iron!

below, i’ve pressed all the patchwork of fusible pieces onto the backside of this flower shape, and now i will trim it away.

you can leave the paper on until it’s time to use the shape, which is convenient, but one thing that is nice, too, is that if you lose the paper, or take it off, then you can store these motifs in a bag, and even if they stick to one another, they are usually quite easily removed from one another, and the fusible stays intact.

one of the advantages of using teflon sheets to set the glue of the fusible web is that they are so easy to clean up.  you can wipe your finger across the surface, and the leftover pieces are easily picked up {and tossed away}

the next favorite fusible in my supply is “misty fuse” shown below on a roll which i purchased directly from mistyfuse.com, the company. {they had a great sale over new years}.  it is a wonderfully light fusible product, but it is not repositionable as steam-a-seam is.  but! because it is so light, it does not affect the hand of the fabric as much as the others.  {great for wearable clothing you may want to embellish!} you must definitely use a teflon sheet to use this product.  it is flimsy, and will stick to itself {once it gets warm from the iron} so be careful not to let the fused sides touch until it’s cool. 

for small pieces… i still prefer a paper back fusible {steam-a-seam} as it makes these shapes much easier to cut precisely than misty fuse.  misty fuse is wonderful for large motifs, such as tree trunks, or wherever you don’t want fusible to affect the hand of your fabric, especially for wearables.  but my preference is to use paper backed fusible for easier cutting, especially for delicate shapes with lots of curves or details.

{below} this is how i work with misty fuse, and i’ve labeled the layers in order, of which there are four:  1. teflon sheet, 2. misty fuse on top of 3. fabric, and 4. another {second sheet} of teflon on the bottom.  now just fuse the whole piece of fabric, using your iron on top of the first teflon sheet:

wait until the fusible has cooled, and then just peel back the teflon sheet from the fused fabric.  if you have fused it long enough, it will peel away easily.  if it has not been set long enough, the misty fuse will not be stuck to the fabric, and if not, just set it again with the iron, laying the teflon sheet back over it. i think it’s important to WAIT until it’s cooled, too.

if it doesn’t stick, then you can see the fusible separate it, as i’ve shown below:

it’s likely you will at times, find a bit of misty fuse on the sheet; especially if you are just fusing shapes by themselves, and this is normal, and easy to just wipe off:

clean your teflon sheets, using a leftover piece of batting, wiping it across the surface on both sides:

you may think you don’t have any fusible on the sheet, as it’s hard to see, but you can feel it, i guarantee you!  just wipe your hand across the surface… and then wipe it clean.

with the lite steam a steam2, sometimes if you don’t set it well enough with the light press of your iron, it will not come away from the paper, so just set it again:

this is not what i prefer to do, but it does work with all your leftover pieces of steam-a-seam2! {which i had to do until my order came in!}

misty fuse comes in many different colors; black, white, ultraviolet to fit whatever need you may have.  and it comes in many different sizes, too.  mostly, in quilt shops, you will see it in a package similar to the one below, where the product has been folded up.  the only place i know to get it by the roll, is directly from the company itself.

and, as you can see, once misty fuse is fused to the backside of your fabric, it has a slight sheen to it.  now all that is required to permanently set {most fusibles} is a very hot iron to permanently set them to the fabric. remember that steam a seam products require steam, too!

i still prefer steam-a-seam2 for my collages, as they are wall quilts, and a bit of stiffness is an advantage in my opinion.  i love the repositionable quality about the fusible, too, especially for collage, but both are great products.  

i have used pellon products as well, and like the regular and light {sticky} backed ones, but they aren’t as well-suited overall.  and if you press more than two or three times, these products lose their ability to fuse.

hope that helps some of you have posted questions, and i thank you for asking!  the best fusible is going to be what you get comfortable with, but i also encourage you to try new products, as you may just find they are perfect for your project or technique!

Comments 22

  1. When I use Misty Fuse, sometimes it doesn’t stick at all, or it sticks for a minute and then the whole piece pops off my work. Am I pressing it for too long? Have you ever had this problem?

    1. Hi Carole, well, no, I haven’t had that problem. It is a very light fusible, so I would try a light dose of steam… and see if that helps it stick better. Or perhaps google the question? There may be others who have better experience with that issue than I have… sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  2. Hi there. Thank you for being a Mistyfuser! I thought I might chime in on this helpful post and add some information. Mistyfuse is repositionable! If ironed very lightly, or just “pinned” with a poke with the tip of a hot iron—it can easily be removed and repositioned. I also understand about liking the stiffness of paper for cutting out some shapes. That’s easy too…. iron the Mistyfused fabric to parchment paper and then cut it out. The advantage here too is that it’s a lot easier to draw shapes on parchment paper when there is no fuse on there to work around. The parchment paper is also how we easily transfer designs without having to reverse them first. (The directions for “working forward” come in every package and in the small brochure that comes with the bolt.) And one last thing…. if pieces are falling off it is more likely that you haven’t ironed enough. Mistyfuse can take more heat and ironing than most fusibles. It’s actually hard to iron it away because Mistyfuse works a little differently than other fusibles in that it isn’t a surface bond as many fusibles. Instead it works like fingers that run into fabric and winds onto fibers to create a bond. If there is sizing it might keep it from doing that successfully. Leslie’s suggestion to add steam is right on. Mistyfuse works with or without steam, but the steam helps work around sizing that might be on unwashed fabrics. Thank you Leslie for this wonderful post.

    1. Thank you–thank you, for the wonderful tips!!! I am so glad to learn more; didn’t realize how it fused by sending it’s glue fibers into the fiber of the fabric. How kind of you to take the time to write them for us all–I’m so glad you responded; I will try those tips!!

    2. Hi Iris,
      New Mistyfuser here. Making an antique handkerchief quilt and used Pellon fusible interfacing to firm up the flimsy fabric. Now I want to fuse the handkerchief to the background all cotton quilt block, but I am having trouble. The Mistyfuse has to go on the back of the hankie- where the interfacing is, but when I tried a sample a got a ton of wrinkles in the hankie and a mess. It didn’t seem to want to stick to the interfacing. Is there a solution?

    3. Thank you for this great information. I purchased a package of Misty’s on the recommendation of a friend and I’m about to use it in a project. These wonderful tips from both you and Leslie will help me go forward confidently.

  3. Love using steam a seam 2 also. My problem occurs when I’m trying to quilt my project. My machine keeps skipping stitches. I’ve tried different needles too! I’d appreciate any suggestions.

    1. Kathy, it’s more than likely that you’ve not steamed your fusible thoroughly! This is one of the most common complaints–and mistakes. I posted a video about steaming my collages, on my Facebook page, MarveLes Art Studios . I always steam at least three times, {sometimes more}, both from the front, and from the back prior to adding batting and backing. The more steam you apply to Steam A Seam Lite 2, the drier the glue gets, and the better/easier it is to stitch through. Fusible that’s not steamed thoroughly causes the needle to gum up and can cause skipped stitches. Also, as far as preventing skipped stitches, I only use 90/14 TOPSTITCH and TITANIUM coated needles from Superior Threads and I personally use a polyester for the top thread {either a 40 or 50 wt} and a cotton for the bobbin in a 50 wt. That’s my formula and it works really well… and I’ve quilted over 200 collages! Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you for these tips. I just finished a quilt top that had several applique pieces. When I tried to stitch around the edges of the pieces and add details to the applique with additional stitching, I saw that the thread was periodically sticking to the needle and resulting in skipped stitches. I switched to the titanium needle I had in stock ( 80/12) and stitching improved though not a 100%. One of the applique pieces was really impossible to stitch on even with the titanium needle, so maybe the fusible was not steamed thoroughly.

  4. Thanks Leslie. I so appreciate your advice. I’ll get the iron out and steam it again, once or twice whatever it takes. Btw, I am not using steam a seam lite. Not sure if that makes a difference or not.

  5. For applique does S-A-S need stitching down or will sufficient steaming hold fabric down in Children’s quilts? Thanks

    1. LITE SAS 2 really does best stitching it down, but I have found, when fusing it to t-shirts, and also with quilts—it washes very well… with very little fraying. Properly Steaming the SAS, at LEAST THREE TIMES, will greatly add to that versatility!! In fact, I will be doing a tip on this very thing on my Facebook page, MarveLes Art Studios. These are my observations: fraying depends on the fabric manufacturer! Moda fabrics appear to fray very easily—Art Gallery fabrics do not, and neither do batiks. With clothing, I wash the article of clothing, inside out, and if needed, put it in a hosiery bag. Hope that helps!

  6. Thanks so much for your detailed explanation of the differences between Steam A Seam 2 and Misty Fuse. I am taking a class at an upcoming quilt show where the instructor specifies Misty Fuse. I suspect she prefers it because of your comment that it does not affect the “hand” of the fabric as much as the Steam A Seam product. I have a large amount of the Steam A Seam that I purchased to make a Laura Heine project….I may not use it at all for that project because I want to hand embroider the pieces down. Yet to be determined…. I just purchased the Misty Fuse from their webpage. Now I need to find a Teflon sheet. I used to wonder why folks need all of these toys to make a beautiful project. Well, they really don’t, but the toys sure do make the ‘making’ easier. I used to buy the remnants of fusibles from the JoAnn remnant rack. I have a lot of small pieces of a variety of fusible. Yes, I will use it. But for this project, I will use what the instructor lists on the class requirements. Thanks again for your wisdom.

  7. I am using Steam a Seam 2 with cotton fabrics. Has anyone tried using a Cricut Easy Press for the initial fusing? It works very well with fusible interfacings for bag making.

  8. Thank you for this great information. I purchased a package of Misty’s on the recommendation of a friend and I’m about to use it in a project. These wonderful tips from both you and Leslie will help me go forward confidently.

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