Applique: Fuse or Not Fuse?

If there is one technique that makes applique better, it is fusing the applique fabric to its base.

In my haste, I am guilty of skipping this essential step. Most of the time, adding fusible web to the back of applique fabric ensures a professional finish when pressed.

Light versions of fusible web work quite well without making the applique stiff. Brand names include Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and Heat and Bond Light.

Lite Steam-A-Seam has an added benefit when machine embroidering. It is pressure sensitive and allows you to easily position and move applique pieces. Also, you don’t have to use temporary adhesives to hold them in place.

When You Should Fuse Applique Fabrics in Place

Clothing appliques, like the Denim Jacket project, benefit from being fused.

That helps the embroidery look crisp and new through wear and laundering.

In the Applique Towel project, a fusible web was not applied to the applique fabric before tacking it down.

That was because decorative stitching inside the applique helped to keep the fabric flat against the towel.

That’s not to say that you can’t fuse the applique if you like.

When Appliques Should Not Be Fused in Place

Cotton fabrics fuse the best, partly due to their substantial weave and partly because they can withstand high heat.

Do not fuse appliques made of fabrics like fleece. Had I fused the  Bunny Pull Toy Shirt, it would have melted the polyester fleece.

The Reading Pillow was another project that would not fuse well. Even though the base fabric was 100% cotton, the fox applique was made of fleece. High heat necessary with fusible web would more than likely melt the cute fox.

Do you fuse your appliques or not? If so, what fusible products do you use?