Irons: Which to Choose to Fuse

ironWhat’s the most important tool a fuser can own? Why an iron, of course! Without a hot iron, the fuser may have to join the Hot Rock School of Fusing in order to fuse fabrics.

So what is the best iron for making fused art quilts? Do you go with the expensive version with all the bells and whistles or the inexpensive version found at your local garage sale? Does price guarantee a good iron?


Waffle Irons by Laura Wasilowski

Here are my suggestions for picking out irons for all you fusing needs:

  • Use an inexpensive iron from your local retailer for applying fusible web to fabrics. Never fill it with water. If you drop it or it stops heating, you can discard it with few regrets.
  • Don’t worry about the steam holes on an iron. If you are only using it for fusing (not steaming), the holes won’t be a problem. As a good fuser you know too glide the iron when applying fusible web (rather than holding the iron in place) so the holes will never appear.
  • Beware of the garage sale finds. Some bargain irons are treasures and some may have broken heating elements and can scorch your fabric or even start a fire! (Ask me how I know.)
  • An iron needs to hold the cotton setting temperature while you are fusing. Automatic shut-off irons may drop in temperature when you step away for a minute. In some cases you have to bother with unplugging the iron to get it heat to the cotton setting again. (I hate automatic shut-off  but it has saved my life several times.)

ironforsteamingAnd this is important: invest in a good steam iron. After making your design, steaming the quilt top to the non-scrim side of the batting sets the fusible glue. Steaming makes it easier to stitch and bonds the fabric into place. This tank iron from Rowenta has been by my side for over 4 years and kept me from joining the Hot Rock School of Fusing.

11 thoughts on “Irons: Which to Choose to Fuse

  1. I just bought a new iron this weekend. My old one didn’t have an auto-shut off.

    My husband went downstairs to get something, and came back up and asked me when the last time I had been in my quilt room was “5 days ago”. The iron had been hot and plugged in the entire time.

    Thank god it didn’t spark or fall!

    • The automatic shut off is a bother but also a necessity for me. I’ve done the same thing Jessi, leaving the iron on for days at a time.
      My friend Frieda has her iron connected to the light switch circuit so when she leaves the studio and turns off the lights, it will turn off the iron too if it’s been left on. Smart girl!

  2. The timing of this post is perfect! My 10-year-old Rowenta just blew a fuse and I’ve been using my retired 30-year-old Black and Decker to get by, but I need to get a new iron. Ol’ Black and Decker does have an auto shut-off, but that hasn’t worked in over a decade and the temperature control isn’t very accurate either. In fact, I have to unplug it to turn it off. Time to let it go back into retirement – it worked hard and deserves it… Thank you very much for the tips!

  3. I love my Rowena iron, but I need a lighter iron…do you find the tank iron Rowena to be lighter since the iron isn’t made heavier by holding that water??

    • The tank iron feels lighter to me but it also has a hose and cord attached to it that kind of drag across what you’re ironing. Love the way it steams.

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