Fusible Interfacing How To
After reading how to do it in countless different books and blogs, I’ve finally tweaked my fusible interfacing method to what I like best.
Here’s the fabric I want to make into a patch. It goes on the table face up, and I cut fusible interfacing to the right size and lay it on top, fusible side down. Now, it took me a bit of experimenting before I figured out which side of the fusible interfacing was the fusible side. A lot of tutorials don’t specify that; the manufacturer’s instructions I found didn’t even explain that. And if you’ve never used the stuff before how would you know? It’s the rough side. I’ve decided that I prefer the second most lightweight interfacing. Again, a lot of project instructions just tell you to use lightweight interfacing, but sometimes I need more specifics. The lightest stuff (sometimes called Sheer to Lightweight) is so thin that I’ve torn it more than once while trying to turn my patch right side out or poke out the corners. At JoAnn Fabric the weight I like is Pellon Light to Medium weight. It’s thin and sturdy.
My sewn patch looks like this:
If I was making something more precise than my labels, like the applique patches in my Christmas Runner, I’d cut my fabric and interfacing to exact sizes. But for my labels I don’t need to, I just sew along the outline of the patch and trim it down to maybe 1/4″ past the seam. But for the runner I cut all my fabric and interfacing together with my ruler and rotary cutter, so my sizing was perfect.
I cut a slit in the fusible interfacing so I can turn my patch inside out (this was before I trimmed all around the edges. Turn the patch inside out and poke the corners out with a stick. I use an orange stick, but knitting needles work, too.
Here’s one of my finished Christmas Runner patches, ready to be fused to my fabric. Place the patch where you want it on the fabric. This depends on where the directions tell you to put it, where you want it, where you eyeball it. But once you have it in place don’t move it around. Pin it with glass head pins if you want (plastic heads can melt to your fabric when you iron it). I don’t pin it when I’m ironing it anymore, but it’s worth it for practice.
Okay, I’ve tried spritzing the patch and background fabric to oblivion, steaming the life out of it, whatever. What I’ve found works the best is to soak a washcloth (I like white because no colors can bleed on to my fabric), squeeze it out so it’s good and damp, and put that on top of the patch (this is when movement can get tricky). I put the iron on the hottest steam setting and iron on top of the damp washcloth. The patch needs a lot of heat for the interfacing to work, but I’ve scorched my fabrics in the past trying to get enough heat and water for the patch to stick. A damp washcloth buffers the heat but gives the patch tons of steam and heat. After 3 or 4 seconds on the washcloth, I take it off and finish ironing straight onto the patch. I move it around a lot, but this final ironing is mostly to evaporate the damp spot left on the fabric by the washcloth. It also ensures that the patch sticks. This method takes tons less time and effort, and it works every time for me.
This is what a patch looks like fused to the fabric:
This one is pinned and ready to be appliqued.
I also wondered why we need the fusible interfacing in the first place? Two big reasons: 1) It gives your fabric neat, finished edges. This is as opposed to just sewing the fabric on with unfinished edges, which would look bizarre. 2) The interfacing fuses the entire patch to the fabric. So maybe you ask why you need to sew around the edges at all if the fusing has locked it in place? If you don’t sew around the edges, the patch can pull away from the fabric with too much jostling. The interfacing doesn’t make as good a permanent seal along the edges as sewing does.