Sunday, November 19, 2017

Glue, Fusibles, or Pins? That is the Question

Putting together a collaged quilt can be done in many ways.  Before sections make their way to the sewing machine everything has to be held together in some way.  There are those who swear by glue, others who use pins--thousands of pins like the amazing Merle Axelrad , and still others who are devotees of fusibles.  I have tried them all.

For me, glue wins the prize--and not just any glue, but Elmer's Washable School Glue.

I have tried glue sticks, and Aleene's Tacky Glue, but Elmer's School Glue--NOT regular Elmer's--works best for me.    I found glue sticks way too messy, and Aleene's Tacky Glue way too sticky.  When Aleene's Glue sets it is there to stay, which can be a good thing, but I change my mind a lot.  I need something that holds all those little pieces  together, but that can be pulled apart without fraying or distorting the fabric.

Also, if I accidentally splodge glue in the wrong places--which I'm prone to do, Aleene's makes pretty permanent shiny spot, but Elmer's can be sponged off pretty easily.  I've heard that Elmer's School glue is not glue so much as a thickened starch, which is what makes it washable.

large section held together with glue only.
The piece hanging on my design wall is about a third of my quilt and at this point, only Elmer's glue is holding it together.  

small squeeze bottle with very small metal tip, sold by Amazon
Heat setting the glue is what makes it work.   I put a thin line of glue on the edge of the fabric (thinner than can be made with the bottle of glue itself) and I heat set it with a hot iron.

I bought this little bottle with the great nozzle on Amazon for a couple bucks.  I've been using it a couple years and it seems up to the task.  Some times I have to run a straight pin down the spout to clear out the dried glue, but that's the only issue I've ever had with it.  I like the control, and as you can see it takes very little glue to hold things securely.

I have tried using lots of different fusibles--Wonder Under, Misty Fuse, Soft Fuse, and found them all to be a pain in the neck.  Once you press fusible down, it is DOWN.  You will not be pulling that piece off without a disaster.  I've tried to not press anything until I had all my little pieces where I was sure I wanted them, but then I needed a million pins to keep things in place, which distorted the fabric, and made it harder to keep everything flat.  FLAT is what I want most. 

ALSO, as I pinned and moved the construction around, I wrinkled it.  YIKES! It's not FLAT!   So I'd press it without thinking...and attach hours of my work to my ironing board cover. Grrrr.

School Glue is made for fools like me.  It's easy to use, holds when you need it to, ease enough to take apart if needed, and can be cleaned up with water, plus it's cheap and available literally everywhere. 

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