April 16, 2013

Sewing Secrets: Hype

I wanted to give a little blurb today about a notion that I use - fusible web. There are many different brands of fusible web. Having received a lot of questions about this product, via email, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about it some. Let me give you a little bit of a back story first.
Last year I purchased a Thread's Insider pass (totally worth it by the way) and I found that there were all these videos on Industry Secrets by Louise Cutting. I've become a HUGE fan of Louise (she's a genius!) and would love to one day attend one of her workshops because I think she just has so many great secrets and she goes about making things easy and fast instead of always trying to convert you to the long way of doing something. In one of the video sessions she talked about fusible web and how its one of those tools that she never lives without. Then I used it and I was converted! Seriously, this stuff has sooooooo many uses and I can't even believe that for so long I discounted its existence. So let's talk about what it is and a few myths that surround this product, shall we? Oh yes, we shall.

Fusible web is a temporary baster. This means that you can use it to temporarily baste anything in place. This can take the place of basting something by hand and I say "can" because there are times that you might want to baste by hand. I use this product to temporarily baste a centered, slot seam zipper in place. Can I just say that for years I never used this zipper application because I felt that it was the hardest zipper application to get looking good. I dare you to take this zipper application out of your bag of tricks and try to get those topstitching lines perfectly even on each side of the zipper without the use of the fusible web. Wait, let me up that ante - do it without having to rip it out at least once or 5 times. Yeah. It's really, stupidly hard. Really really. Temporarily baste that sucker in place and ha! The hardest zipper application is now the easiest and I've been using it all over the place lately. Plus you don't have to hand baste it in place and end up getting threads caught in your topstitching that won't come out or getting screwed up because your basting lines aren't straight but yet your topstitching lines are supposed to be. Yup, I'm not a fan of hand basting this sucker in, if you couldn't tell.

Myth: Fusible web will gum up your needle.
Fact: No, it won't, unless you are using it a lot more than the occasional basting in place and I mean a lot more.

Myth: Fusible web can leave permanent web and gum on your fabric.
Fact: It doesn't leave gum on your fabric and its not permanent really in any way. It's temporary. You can even peel it off your fabric if you need to move something somewhere else. I've even used it on silk. Whenever and wherever you use fusible web, just know that its temporary and you need to permanently stitch it in place later on down the road. Plus, to add better to best, you can use the Wash Away Wonder Tape and yeah, it actually washes away after the first wash.

I've since tried new brands of this fusible web: the Clover fusible web and Wonder Tape by Collins. The Clover brand works just like Steam-a-Seam, but I like it better because the tape that you pull away is just easier to pull away. The Wonder Tape is just as awesome and doesn't need steam or heat to set and it washes away, like I just said upstairs there. Slap it on your project, peel off the tape and temporarily baste whatever in place. Voila!

Tomorrow I'll be back to show you a favorite application of this product and hopefully you'll be converted too! Thoughts on fusible web anyone? Are you a convert yet?


  1. I have a package of Wonder Tape that still sits unopened in my sewing room. I am exciting to see tomorrow's post so I can pop open that baby and start using it :)

  2. I too, sooooo appreciate Louise Cutting's expert tips and techniques. She is the best.

  3. Congratulations on the class! I followed the intro just to meet you (no I am not a stalker...in any case I live far away ;o)
    i tried the fusible web on a zipper recently and it´s really practical. Before that I used to baste my zippers...I never trust just pinning. i would say the only down side is price! Other than that...it´s genius!

  4. Patty the Snug Bug used to gush to me about Steam a Seam, but I hadn't found cause to check it out, because I work with so much cotton I never got frustrated hem or zipperwise, but I'm helping a friend with a costume project in a super silky poly blend, and I bet wonder tape is just the thing to help with some of her pinning/basting frustration!

  5. What a coincidence, I just watched a Craftsy class last night - it is a Modern Quilting class taught by Elizabeth who writes "oh Fransson" blog. She did talk about using fusible and warned that it can gunk up your needle. I bet there are students in your class with quilting experience, and that's why they are asking. Being a complete newbie to quilting has shown me that they sew on the machine A LOT more than we do with our garments. One little zipper isn't going to gunk up the needle. I've sewn lots and lots and have nver gunked up a needle. But I think it can happen in quilting. http://tllg.net/l5LC
    So exciting to see you on Craftsy! congratulations :)

  6. I've always wondered about this product and never understood it. I've always assumed as well that it's sticky and would leave a residue. So, I appreciate this post and really look forward to learning about ways to use it.

  7. I am a recent convert! Now I LOVE this stuff!! Last month I used Steam-a-Seam on the wrap ties/neck band on my Pavlova top, about 3m long, and it stitched like a dream. NO pins! I couldn't imagine pinning that lengh and wrangling it through the machine.

    Then last week I was replacing zippers in some hoodies and stumbled upon some Wonder Tape in my OWN stash! I don't even remember using this stuff in the past, must have been decades ago! But it was the BEST thing to keep the new zips in place, with no gumming up on the needles. Worked like an absolute charm.

    I love the Threads Insider membership, I've learned so much watching Louise Cutting's videos. Extremely reasonable price, and Well worth it.

  8. Oh I love this stuff, I always use it when hemming slippery fabrics and knits, it keeps everything nice and neat!

  9. Do you know if this kind of tape is available outside the US? I live in Poland and have never heard of it before nor have I seen it anywhere... I've watched your online classes on Craftsy and I'm amazed by how helpful it may be! I'd love to have it in my sewing box :)

  10. Great post and an avid user of fusible web. I always stock up on the Warm Company Steam-A-Seam 2 brand. Its perfect for the reasons you mentioned, perfect for lining up plaids, great for using as a stay tape for necklines on wovens.... just love the stuff.

  11. I just purchased some last week to hold down neck facings that kept popping out, I thought I was genius but I didn't realise its only a temporary tool! Thanks for the tip.

  12. I have used this stuff for a few years now after reading about it somewhere online. It is great, I use it a lot.

  13. I love Wonder Tape! I use it when I'm sewing in invisible zippers and it is perfect when working with knits. I can't wait to read tomorrow's posts

  14. I used Stitch Witchery for years while I was in the military. Military BDU uniforms require patches...LOTS of patches. Name tape, service (USAF in my case), command patch, unit patch, speciality badge, rank on both sleeves, etc. They have to be perfectly placed and totally straight. Placing them with SW and then sewing in place was an absolutle life & time saver. I never thought to use it in zippers and you are right, top stitching is really really hard.

    I love your class and picked up Ateam a Aeam on my first stop by the fabric store after enrollment. Thank you SO much for the tip! My side seam invisible zipper installed perfectly on the first attempt!

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