Finding the Best Fusible Web Out There

The best fusible web

 

I love using fusible web for applique.  It’s so fun and easy and adds such a different dimension to projects that often couldn’t be done any other way.  I don’t know about you, but whenever I have to refill my personal fusible web supply, I find myself in front of the interfacing rack at a fabric store with my eyes glazing over all the options.  What do they all mean?  What’s the difference between EZ-Steam and EZ-Steam II?  Why are some purchased by the bolt and others only available in little packets over in the notions section?  I never paid much attention to which I chose, so then I’d be very frustrated when I’d make a project and the shapes wouldn’t adhere easily, or would fray after the first wash.

I finally broke down a few weeks back and bought a little of each on available at my local JoAnn Fabrics.  I was going to figure out which of these was the best and which ones to stay away from!  Here’s what I did-

Fusible Web Test copy

I appliqued three stars with each type of fusible web I had on hand.  One large, one medium and one small, so I could see if size made a difference in how well the web worked.  I also tried to use various fabrics- some were the super nice, $12/yard designer quilting cottons, some was the cheap stuff from JoAnn’s, because I wanted to see how big of a difference the fabric quality made when it came to fraying.

I sewed each applique piece with a straight stitch, well away from the edges so we could get a good view of how much the fabric would fray with each web. (the picture above is of the piece before washing) When it was all sewn, I washed the whole thing on medium heat and dried it in my dryer.  And then I washed it again on high heat, and dried it in our dryer just for good measure.  🙂 Here’s what I learned- first the random facts, then I’ll do a run down of each fusible web.

Random Facts

1. The quality of the fabric didn’t seem to change the amount of fraying very much.  If anything, the cheaper, thinner fabrics ended up with less fraying (which really surprised me!).  Maybe because they are thinner they stick to the fusible web better?  I’d have to do more testing on just this subject to be sure.  For now I’m just happy to know that the cheaper stuff still works ok.

2. The smallest stars (about 1 inch wide) did fray a lot more than the others, though I was able to get a few that turned out ok, with the better fusible webs.

3.  The performance of each web seemed about the same on both medium and high heat washings.  (The ones that didn’t stick well or frayed did so on both settings.  The ones that stayed nice did so through both settings)

Fusible Webs Compared

Product Name Ease of Use Amount of Fraying (1 is no fraying, 10 is a lot of fraying) Texture Change (1 is not stiff, 10 very stiff)*
EZ-Steam Good 8 5
EZ-Steam II Frustrating to get the paper off before the final fuse 8 6
Wonder Under Good 7 4
Heavy Duty Wonder Under Web fell off of the paper before I ironed 4 6
Heat n Bond Lite Good 2 5
Heat n Bond Ultra Hold Good 1 7
Lite Steam-a-Seam II Good 8 6

*Please note- I wanted to really be able to feel the texture, so I backed the entire applique piece with the fusible web instead of cutting out the center (see what I mean in this post) which would greatly reduce the stiffness of the piece.

I think in the end, Heat’n Bond won for me.  I was blown away at how little the Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold frayed. (I admit, the fraying is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to raw edge applique.)  It was also the stiffest, but none of them are so thick that I couldn’t sew through them to quilt.  And I think if I cut out the center of the web before fusing the shape onto the fabric, I’d really love the results.

I went ahead and added an enormous visual so you could see each one up close.  These photos were taken after the applique was washed and dried twice.

What do you think?  Is there one I’ve left out that would out perform some of these better ones?  Do you feel like these results are consistent with how a certain product typically performs?  I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert- I’m just sharing what I learned.  I’d love to hear what you’ve learned along the way, too!

Fusible Web Test After Wash copy

Rating: 5

26 Responses to “Finding the Best Fusible Web Out There”

  1. Thank you for sharing! The visuals were helpful!

  2. Jessica, this is so helpful! I had no idea about all of my options, I am embarrassed to say I thought Wonder Under was it. I do like a little fraying for some things, so that’s great you included that criteria. Thanks!

    • Thanks Lisa! I didn’t realize there were so many until I went out and started to buy things for this test. It’s kind of crazy! I agree, some project look adorable with a bit of fraying. I’m glad I finally know what to use when I’m going for that effect, and what to use when I want a clean line.

  3. this is AWESOME! I just found your site after a pintrest search for article of faith punch cards, but I can’t stop playing around here! I’m bookmarking this for sure, and I have to order some of your patterns.

  4. I love HeatnBond. It’s easy to use and takes a lower temperature, which allows me to use a wider variety of fabrics, including lame’ without melting or scorching. However I made a wall hanging with HeatnBond ultra and it was an experience. The salesperson told me there wasn’t any or much difference between the lite and ultra and could be used interchangeably. Wrong. It says on the package to not sew through it, which I saw way too late. My needle got so gummed up, I had to clean it with rubbing alcohol every inch. That stuff holds like a champ and would be great for non-sew projects, but I highly recommend following the package instructions – no sew. I use HeatnBond lite with no problems and the window method. I love it.

    Thank you for this results chart. I have been considering trying a few others and this really helps. I have also heard that mistyfuse works very well and does not change the drape or stiffness, but I haven’t tried it yet and it is not available at Joanns. I have found Steam a Seam to be more difficult to use and it also requires a higher heat.

  5. I really appreciate this article, Jessica! Thank you so much! Candice, I have had really good luck with putting wax paper over needle-gumming things like the HnB Ultra and fabric with the fused-on metallic dots. You can see pretty well through the wax paper and it tears away after.

  6. Great article Jessica. I was also confused with fusible web thing. Thanks for sharing such good and helpful information.
    Happy sewing

  7. Great info and the visuals really helped! Excellent resource. Thanks so much.

  8. Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It was just what I was looking for! Happy Thanksgiving (thankful for people like you)!

  9. thanks!

  10. Found your post on a Google search as I am about to start a quilt based on a cathedral mosaic from the 1400’s. I found your review extremely helpful, as I never do raw-edge applique (primarily because of the fraying).

  11. I appreciated the review of all of these products. Thank you for the effort to put this together for others to benefit from your time.

  12. Katherine Trigwell February 1, 2017 at 1:09 pm Reply

    Hi, your test was really helpful, my problem is that the ones I’ve tried all gum up my needle. Which did you find best for this?

    • Heat n’ Bond lite does ok for me as far as gumming up my needle. I have heard good things about Soft Fuse- I just ordered some to try!

  13. Thank you so much for offering your time and educating us on different fusible webbing! I am new to quilting and my first one has some applique in it, which I’ve never done! I ended up purchasing a 75′ roll of Heat n Bond Lite from Amazon because the reviews were good and even though pricey for that much, ends up being a much better buy. Seriously, when it arrived, I didn’t even know if this was what was referred to as “fusible web”. Thank you for setting me straight!! I’m very relieved now after reading your blog. I will keep it, and get to work on the applique part of my beautiful quilt.

  14. Great information. Can I have permission to print this and use as a handout in a class I am giving on appliqué? I will give you full credit.

  15. Brilliant. Thanks!!!

  16. Thank you for doing this. I had become a fan of Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite until it went off the market for awhile and reappeared remade. The new product is sooo sticky I had to dismantle my rotary cutter and clean it with Goo-B-Gone. And there’s a buildup on my sewing machine needle that will cause skipped stitches if not wiped off regularly. And so, I am looking around again. Looks like Heat n Bond would be a good choice. I’m not familiar with ultra hold but have used their lite product frequently in the past.

  17. Thank you so much, I do appreciate all your research!!

    Rating: 5

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