As quilters we strive to use the best materials, tools and products so our quilts will be beautiful and stand the test of time. Sometimes though, a product which might appear to be high-quality might not be at all. Recently, I found this out the hard way.
I’ve been working on a new sampler quilt comprised of various blocks constructed using different techniques and stitching methods. I had planned to do fusible machine applique on some of the blocks. But since I don’t store fusible web for any length of time (because it has a short shelf life and can become quite brittle when exposed to environmental factors such as light, air, heat and humidity), I didn’t have my preferred brand of fusible web on hand here in my studio. I thought, “That’s okay. I was gifted with a roll of name-brand, fusible web in a faculty goody bag recently. I’ll use that instead.”
As Julia Roberts says in the movie, Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”
I assumed since this was a highly recognizable, name-brand product it must be high-quality and would produce quality results so I skipped the step of testing the product first. I did, however, read and follow the instructions carefully. I traced the Hawaiian-themed applique shape to the paper side of the fusible web, cut it out loosely around the traced edges, and fused it to my expensive, beautiful piece of batik fabric. Then I carefully cut out the pineapple shapes on the drawn lines with precision scissors.
I immediately noticed the fusible web was pulling away from the fabric. Yes, I had pre-washed the fabric. No, I didn’t use steam in my iron when I applied the fusible web to the fabric. I followed the application directions for this product to the letter.
I tried using my iron to “re-fuse” the portions which were pulling away. The product stuck to my iron’s non-stick sole plate more than it stuck to the fabric. Grrrrrr.
Still, I persisted. I got the entire shape cut out and carefully following the instructions for this particular product, proceeded to fuse the applique shape to my pre-washed and starched, background fabric.
In the areas where the fusible didn’t fuse, I supplemented by using a glue stick on the outer edges. What a pain and a mess! At this point, I should have simply started over. But I persisted, thinking to myself, as Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work.”
I carefully stitched around the applique edges and my sewing machine sewed like a champ, doing everything it is supposed to do. But the results? Terrible. Sloppy. Sub-par. And all because of the poor quality, name-brand, fusible web.
So while I was teaching at Road2CA this past week, I bought two large rolls of my favorite, tried-and-true fusible web, Soft Fuse in the vendor hall.
If you’ve never used this brand of fusible web for machine applique, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is simply superb. Just look at the results:
Stitching around the small, pointy edges of the leaves was a breeze and so much fun thanks to my Janome 9450 and a great fusible web! There are no puckers and the stitches are flat and evenly spaced.
And while you’re here, I invite you to check out today’s Janome life post, which is rather near and dear to my heart. Click here.
So the moral of this story? Don’t assume a name-brand product means it is made of high-quality materials. Test any new-to-you product on sample fabrics prior to putting them into your blocks and quilts. You’ll be glad you did.