In Sewing, What Is Fusing?

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Fusing is activated by the heat from an iron.
Fusing is activated by the heat from an iron. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Fusing is an adhesive material with a variety of functions that you can use as an alternative to sewing. The material is available in woven or non-woven sheets, shapes and strips. Each type and use has a number of benefits, but also a few disadvantages. With fusing it is simple to create sturdiness in fabric, hemlines and iron-on designs.

Use

Fusing often serves as alternative to sew-on interfacing, which strengthens, supports and adds shape to fabric. To use it, place the resin side of fusing the back side of the fabric, and heat it with an iron according to the directions on the package. You can use fusing strips for hemming, in which case you sandwich it between the new hem and the back of the fabric before applying the iron. Fusing can also attach patches or designs to various fabrics. Pre-shrink fusing before use, as it is likely to shrink during the fusing process or in the wash.

Identification

It is important to purchase the correct kind of fusing for fabric, as there are many fusing types in crafts, such as with glass or plastic beads. Fusing is available in various sheets, shapes and strips. Other names for fusing include fuse-in, fusibles, fusible-web or webbing, fusible fabric, fusible cloth, fabric fuse and fusible interfacing.

Advantages

Fusing creates firmness, which adds support to medium-weight fabric without the use of a sewing machine. Also, the material doesn't need to be basted before use. This is the process of attaching long stitches before interfacing that will later be removed. In general fusing is faster than sewing and easier to use.

Disadvantages

Fusing can damage lighter fabrics, especially ones that can't be steamed, such as gauze and seersucker. The material is also destructive to napped fabrics, as the fusing process flattens the napped effect. The fusing process can also make fabrics too stiff once the fusing agent has dried. You need to follow the specific directions on the package, as some require dry heat while others require steam. In some fabrics the steam renders the fusing ineffectual. For these reasons, test fusing on a fabric scrap before applying it.

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