Why a Fusible Thread?
Great products can make sewing easier and quicker. Fusible thread is one product that fits this bill. Judy Hall explains: At the Craft & Quilt Fairs during 2011, I have presented a short segment in The Sewing Studio entitled “Why a Fusible Thread?” which raised a lot of interest from many sewers who had never thought of using fusible thread before. They are all now converts! I thought many readers who may not have attended a Craft & Quilt Fair this year may appreciate sharing those ideas and some extra tips for those who did attend. Sewers and quilters marvelled at the thought of such a wonderful addition to their sewing notions, I hope you appreciate the versatility of using Fusible Thread. There are several brands to choose from – here are a few.
What is it made of? Fusible Thread is Nylon, made to melt! Yes, Nylon Thread shouldn’t be in your sewing supplies but as a fusible thread it is brilliant. Why do you need it? Fusible Thread is a temporary bond to hold trims or fabric in place allowing for perfect permanent stitching, rather than pinning or gluing. Use it to temporarily assemble or construct your project. How to use it? It is normally wound slowly to fill a bobbin and used in the Bobbin Case or on the Lower Looper of the Overlocker, but it may be also used as the top thread with normal thread or invisible thread in the bobbin. Just never use both in the bobbin and as a top thread simultaneously. If using as a top thread, it is suggested to use a Topstitch 100/16 sewing machine needle because the larger groove of a topstitch needle will accommodate this heavier thread. You may need to loosen the upper tension until the stitch is even and you should avoid the last thread guide just before the needle. Maybe shorten the stitch length just a little too. Iron temperature? Each brand has different suggestions here, so read the label! Normally, use a warm iron if using for a hem as you want the thread to remain between the two layers of fabric to bond them together, not saturate through the layers causing a shiny appearance. For most other uses, a hot iron (as much as the fabric being used will withstand) is appropriate as you need the thread to melt to fuse pieces together. It is advisable to test the fabric being used with the fusible thread. Ideas when you should use it?
- For quick and easy hems on fine to medium weight fabric. Neaten hem on the overlocker with Fusible Thread in the Lower Looper only, or, using a zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine with Fusible Thread in the bobbin only. Turn hem up, using a pressing cloth, press with warm heat until hem is “fixed”. Let cool before testing. Reheat with slightly higher temperature if necessary.
- For armhole and neck facings – as above. These will be “fixed” for the entire facing rather than simply slip-stitching to a seam allowance at the shoulder seam and side seam, for example.
- For facings of an unlined jacket – as above. Looks more professional rather than having them “flapping loosely”.
- For insertion of zippers. Sew a wide zig-zag down either side of the zipper tape with Fusible Thread on the same side as the zipper pull. Baste seam of garment or project where zipper is to be placed. Place zipper on ironing board with zipper pull facing up. Position garment, with right side facing up, centring zipper underneath into desired position. Press to fuse into place. Sew in normal manner then remove basting stitches.
- For a speedy and precision sewn method of applying binding. Sew binding on with a small zig-zag having Fusible Thread on the underneath side of the binding and normal thread on the binding itself. Fold binding over so as zig-zag stitching is covered and fuse into place. Stitch permanently into place by hand or machine. I use MonoPoly Invisible Thread which is heat-resistant, then ditch-stitch using an Edge-Stitch Foot. Completely invisible result!
- For appliqué using lightweight fabrics when lightness and drape of fabric is desired to maintain. No pins, no double-sided fusible interfacing which gives a stiff appearance, no puckers, no movement. Straight stitch the applique shape and cut out close to stitching. Fuse into place. The applique shapes stay firmly in place as you stitch around their raw edges with satin stitch, blanket stitch or other decorative stitch.Once fused, the appliqué shapes stay firmly in place as you stitch around their raw edges with a decorative stitch.
- To match checks and stripes – lay a length of Fusible Thread ON the seam line of the right side of the fabric (this time it is not sewn, just placed on the fabric). Place the other fabric on the top, right sides together, matching all checks or stripes, then press. This holds the two fabrics together so as you may now sew the seam without any movement. Absolute perfect matching!
- Aligning perfect patchwork seams – as above.
- Place a length of Fusible Thread inside the crease of pants to keep the pleat crisp, and then press.
- Place a length of Fusible Thread Inside each fold of a pleated skirt to hold in place, then press. Saves having to “pin-stitch” or “edge-stitch”.
- For basting – simply to hold anything into place such as trying on a new pattern for fit before sewing permanently. Or, to hold a patch into place such as over a knee before slipping the trouser leg onto the freearm of your sewing machine. Is helpful for sewing on all four sides without the usual struggle.
- Try it for machine trapunto.
- For a narrow rolled hem – straight stitch on the right side of the fabric 1/2” in from the fabric’s edge having Fusible Thread on the wrong side of the fabric. Press hem up using stitching line as a guide with crease just above the stitching line. Trim back to 1/8” from the crease and turn up again. Using regular thread in both the bobbin and the top, sew the folded crease with straight stitching.
- To hold piping cord into place – lay a length onto centre of the wrong side of the fabric to cover the piping cord. Fuse piping cord to hold into place. Fold over to make covered piping and stitch in usual manner with a zipper foot and appropriate needle position.
- To make chenille sticks – Chenilling is very popular and can be made so quickly with Fusible Thread. Stack layers of fabric on top of each other. Sew parallel lines on the bias using Fusible Thread in the bobbin and regular thread on the top, each approx. one presser foot width. Cut the strips apart and arrange the chenille sticks onto your project in your chosen design. Iron them into place then stitch through the centre of each chenille stick to permanently attach. Wash the garment, spin dry and the chenille sticks will become fluffy and cuddly. A chenille brush may also be used.
- Use Fusible Thread in the lower looper and decorative thread in the upper looper for picture framing table runners or placemats.Baby Lock has an excellent project making a Tablecloth and Napkin Set using Fusible Thread for perfect placement of scalloped edges. Fusible Thread on the underneath side of the scalloped frame holds the scallops perfectly in place so as permanent decorative stitching may be sewn without pinning or any movement.
- Lazy Girl Designs has beautiful bag patterns and on a recent blog, her “Katy” Handbag was used to illustrate how a quilting design was used to decorate the bag with Kreinik Fusible Braids, but you could make your own as follows
- To make beautiful braid for this project , simply overlock over narrow ribbon using decorative thread in the upper looper and fusible thread in the lower looper. You could also use a wide zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine to achieve similar results. Lay the fusible side of the braid into desired placement for your design, cover with a pressing cloth and press. Permanently stitch in place using your sewing machine and monofilament thread. http://www.lazygirldesigns.com/blog/katy-bags-handbag-pattern/how-to-embellish-with-fusible-thread
- Use with foils – You can either manually arrange the fusible thread on top of your fabric or use your sewing machine to stitch the thread in place. (Wind the thread on the bobbin and stitch from the back or use the thread through the eye of a 100/16 topstitch needle.) Then place a piece of metallic foil paper (available at art supply stores) shiny side up on top of the fusible thread. Place an appliqué pressing sheet or piece of parchment paper over the foil paper. Press with a hot iron (no steam) so that the foil and thread will fuse to the fabric. Make sure you use the edge of the iron, sliding across in one direction then again in the opposite direction. Allow to cool completely then pull the paper away from the design.Here is a very simple swirly random design that any novice can successfully play around with.
Personalize your purchased T-Shirt, Sweatshirt, Jeans, and Bags with NO SEWING AT ALL.
This one is sewn: Trace design onto light tearaway stabilizer, or manually draw a simple design. Place stabilizer underneath your fabric. Sew design using Fusible Thread on the right side of the garment and MonoPoly in the needle. i.e. Fusible Thread will be in the bobbin and stabilizer will be uppermost as you sew. Apply foil as described previously. Punch with Judy holds demonstrations at the Craft & Quilt Fairs across Australia. Many of the methods mentioned above are FREE Tutorials on Punch with Judy’s website: