How to Strip Fuse

stripfusing1On today’s How To Tuesday, I’d like to show you how to do Strip Fusing. (Don’t worry, strip fusing has nothing to do with the amount of clothing you are wearing.) It is simply a collage technique using strips of fabric to make a striped pattern.

Here’s How to Strip Fuse:

  • Cut fused fabric into strips measuring about 1/2″ to 1″ wide.
  • Cut the strips on the bias or at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. (Bias cut fabrics don’t fray so you’ll have neater fabric strips.)
  • Use straight or decorative rotary cutter blades or free cut the strips.

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  • Lay a strip of fabric, glue side down, onto silicone release paper or parchment paper or a Teflon sheet. Fuse-tack into place.
  • Overlap another strip about 1/4″ on top of the long side of the first strip. Continue to add strips across the paper.
  • Always overlap darker value fabric onto lighter value fabrics. If you put light value on dark value, a shadow is cast on the light fabric.
  • Continue to add more strips until the set of stripes is the length you want.

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  • After the fabric cools, remove the strip fused collage from the release paper.
  • Cut into any shape you like. Here you see the strip fusing become the grass at the lower edge of the design.

Who’s Feeling Bright and Sunny Today?

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Windy City #11 by Laura Wasilowski

As winter doth drageth on in the northern hemisphere, I am reminded that the days ARE getting longer and there shall be light eventually. But first, I must shovel snow.

fusingtableAnd then enjoy my messy studio where it is always sunny and bright! Why? Because there is fabric to play with and imagination to be explored. Have you fondled your fabric lately? Maybe it needs your personal attention right now. We don’t want our fabric to feel lonely.

Hope your days are sunny and bright!

How to Count When Fusing

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One of the first steps in fusing fabric is to apply the glue to the fabric for 5-7 seconds with a hot, dry iron. Seems simple, right? But I have discovered that in different regions of the country, people count at a different pace. So 5 seconds in Alabama is not 5 seconds in New York City.

Therefore I have implemented the Chicago School of Fusing Method of Counting!

First, pretend you are Lawrence Welk. You are conducting the orchestra in a polka. The beat goes: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3. (Do NOT include the North Dakota “anda” between the numbers.)

  • Count out loud. If you do this rhythm 4 times correctly, a total of 6 seconds will pass. 
  • Now draw a straight line on the non-glue side of the fusible web. 
  • Place the glue side of the fusible web onto the fabric.

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  • Place the hot (cotton setting) iron on the right side of the line.
  • Begin the polka. Repeat after me: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3.

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  • As you begin your 1,2,3s glide the iron across the line so you end up with the line on the right side of the iron by your last 1,2,3. 
  • There! Not only do you have the correct speed for fusing but you can dance as well.

How to Make Waves with Fabric

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Betty’s Bloomers #7 by Laura Wasilowski

Need to make waves with your fabric? The answer is bias fusing. Bias fusing is a method of taking a straight strip of fabric and curving it as you fuse. It is magic! And therefore dangerous. So stand back as I show you how to make waves like those in the vase above.

biasfusing51.Cut a square of fused fabric from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. You are cutting the square on the bias or at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric.
2. Cut a set of straight strips that taper from a point to about 1/2″ across from the bias edge of each triangle.

ironcleaning33. Clean your iron! You must use a clean iron to fuse the bias strips or I guarantee you’ll get gunk on your fabric. Here’s how to clean your iron.

biasfusing64. Iron a square of fused fabric to a Teflon sheet or a piece of silicone release paper.
5. Tack one of the bias cut fabric strips onto the edge of the background fabric.
6. Slowly fuse and curve the bias strip across the background square.

biasfusing97. Continue to fuse more bias strips across the square.

biasfusing78. After the fabric cools, remove the bias fused collage from the paper.
9. Fold the square from corner to corner with the glue sides out.
10. Free-cut a vase shape from the folded square.

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Betty’s Bloomer #7 by Laura Wasilowski

11.Stick some leaves and flowers in the vase, put it on a table, and call it done!

Why Bias is Good

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Spring Leaves by Laura Wasilowski

One of the hazards of making a fused art quilt is the dreaded frayed edge. Fabric shapes with threads sticking out like whiskers detract from your gorgeous art work. You want a close shave, fabric edges that are cleanly cut.

Here are a few tips to avoid the dreaded frayed edge.

  • Use sharp tools. Sharp scissors and rotary cutters give you a nice clean cut. Dull tools fray fabric.
  • Practice cutting shapes in one long motion. Starting and stopping while cutting shapes with scissors leaves uneven, ragged edges. biasfusing3
  • When cutting long and skinny fabric shapes, cut the fabric on the bias. A bias cut fabric is cut at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. Bias cut fabrics don’t fray. To find the bias cut a square of fabric using the selvedge edge of the fabric as one side of your square. Cut across the square from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. The long sides of the 2 triangles are the bias edges.

Happy Fusing! 

How Convenient

fusedscraps It’s so nice to have a stock pile of pre-fused fabric scraps and collages to play. It’s my favorite way to improvise new quilt designs.You could say that all of these fabrics have been fused for my art making convenience.

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Spring Blooms #8 by Laura Wasilowski

Here’s the last design that has sprung from that heap of fabric. It’s called Spring Blooms #8 and is my way of celebrating the spring blooms in my garden. Spring! At last!