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TUTORIAL--- Spot-Fusing vs. Block-Fusing Interfacing, a Modern Tailor's Method

Block Fusing is a method that many modern tailors and home-sewists use to apply interfacing to fashion fabric yardage before the pattern pieces are cut out. Have you ever struggled keeping the interfacing layer from slipping off-grain as you attempt to fuse it to your fabric yardage?  Next time, try this fast, easy, and accurate method that I learned from a Master Tailor, called "SPOT-FUSING"...And it can be done right on your cutting table!
^ STEP 1 ^
First, we need to prepare the surface of the table. The photo above shows my cutting table covered with 2 layers of HEAVY weight muslin (from Gorgeous Fabrics), and one layer of very thick wool (a heavy wool blanket will work as well..I just happen to have felted wool yardage that I use for this technique).  It is VERY important that these layers be smooth and free of wrinkles, so thoroughly smooth them out before proceeding.

 ^ STEP 2 ^
Next, lay out your fashion fabric on top of your "padded" table, WRONG side UP...making SURE it is smooth. What you see in the photo above is 3 yards of 60" wide silk/wool suiting fabric. The cut edge of the fabric is to the left, with the rest of the yardage hanging off the right side of my table. There is no need for weights to hold the fabric in place...the under-layer of wool holds it nicely.  But if you need to, weights can be placed along the top edge (in the above photo, the (top) cut edge is to the left).

^ STEP 3 ^
Now lay your Interfacing FUSIBLE Side DOWN on the (wrong side) of the fashion fabric, making sure it is smooth and on grain. I am using Charcoal-Black Pro-Weft Supreme Light Interfacing, one of my custom-milled professional grade interfacings available exclusively at Fashion Sewing Supply.

^ STEP 4 ^
This is where the Spot-Fusing happens :)   USING a thin PRESS CLOTH, and your steam iron set to a low-wool setting, start moving your iron over the interfacing with an UP and DOWN motion. DO NOT slide the iron, just move it all over the interfacing, pressing with steam for a few seconds, picking up the iron, moving it over an inch or so, and steam pressing again for a few seconds. I start pressing in the middle along one edge, and spot-press to one side until I reach the edge of the yardage, then begin again in the middle and work towards the other edge. I keep repeating this, working my way down and along the yardage, until all the yardage on my table has had the interfacing "tacked" (SPOT FUSED) down. Then I carefully pull the next section of fabric + unfused interfacing so that it covers the table, making sure that all is smooth and on-grain...then repeat the Spot-Fusing process again until all the fashion fabric yardage has been Spot-Fused.  I can Spot Fuse a few yards of 60" fabric in about 5-10 minutes.
Please note that the object here is to just tack the interfacing to the fabric...NOT to fuse it completely..that comes later.

^ STEP 5 ^
After removing the Muslin+Wool "padding" from your cutting surface, carefully lay your Spot-Fused fabric yardage right side up, lay out your pattern pieces and cut them out.

  ^ STEP 6 ^
 NOW is the time when we take our garment pieces to our "official" pressing surface (your Ironing Board or ClamShell Press), and "finish the fuse"...following the complete fusing instructions that come with your interfacing.

And this is why I Spot-Fuse before I Block-Fuse: Why bother spending time and effort completely fusing ALL the yardage, including the scraps that will be thrown in the trash after the pattern pieces are cut ?  By Spot-Fusing, I can ASSURE a perfect fuse and save time by fully pressing/fusing just the actual garment pieces...AFTER the interfacing has first been "tacked down" by the Spot-Fusing :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for detailing this technique. Do you find that by doing this you minimize shrinkage in the yardage? I know that proponents of block fusing state that you do not deal with pieces shrinking with this method.

Marie Roche

11:15 AM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Marie...I always pre-shrink fashion fabrics before fusing, whatever fusing method I use. And I cannot speak for other brands of interfacing, but my interfacings at www.FashionSewingSupply.com are custom-made with special processes and they do not shrink...so it's not an issue :)

11:43 AM  
Anonymous melissa said...

This is such a good idea I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of it before!! Thank you so much!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Melissa...you are very welcome :)
I learned alot of nifty techniques during my Tailoring Apprenticeship...I am so glad I had that opportunity!

12:17 PM  
Blogger a little sewing said...

thank you so much for this tutorial.
I am right on the brink of my next big fusing project and this is exactly how I will proceed.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Robin...my pleasure :)

12:19 PM  
Blogger Nancy K said...

I always come away with some very nice usable tips from you! Thanks and my next big fusing process will certainly be done this way! I have a big padded pressing table, so this is easy for me as far as set up. Now I need to find a used clamshell press like yours! One question though, are you only cutting your patterns out single lay or can you use it doubled for this method?

12:46 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Nancy...and thanks for your nice comment :)

You may most certainly double the spot-fused fabric before cutting your pattern pieces.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Dei said...

Excellent information. I'll use this method in the future because I like productive time-savers.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Gorgeous Things said...

Pam, that is absolutely brilliant!!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Ady said...

That's such a useful tip - thanks so much!

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Pam. This was a very helpful tutorial! And makes so much sense!

6:36 PM  
Blogger valerie carisella said...

Thank you so much for tip! I am a block fuser..this more sensible! I read your blog always, even though I don't have many comments!
Wishing you the very best ~Valerie

7:04 PM  
Blogger BeccaA said...

Thanks for explaining this technique. You make block fusing look doable. I am contemplating a project where this will be very useful. I hope you are doing well.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Thank you for posting this - I am going to try this method. It looks like a real time saver. BTW, I use your interfacings often, and I really like them.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

You have the BEST tips! Thanks!

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Couturette said...

Thank you for sharing this technique. I have struggled countless times with my clam shell, fused folds into the fabric, burned my fingers ... this is going to be much better.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Summerset said...

Makes total sense and less waste! Thanks!

12:17 PM  
Blogger gwensews said...

Thank you for another wonderful way to do something with less stress and more precision! Be well.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant ! I love clean seams and didn't know how to do this. Soooo grateful to you !


1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that´s a real good tip!!!!Thankyou so much for sharing.

12:56 AM  

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