As many of you know, Steam a Seam fusible web products have not been produced for at least the last 6 months. The paper manufacturer that provided the parchment release paper shut down. The same paper was not available elsewhere, so they were forced to find an alternative. A new Steam a Seam product was released in summer 2013, but there were problems with the new backing paper. The company has announced that it is seeking an alternative and will not release the product again until they are sure the problem is resolved. You can read updates on the situation at this site: http://warmcompany.com/sas-update.html
I am confident that Steam a Seam products will be back on the market once the problems are solved. The product is an excellent one and the company (The Warm Company) that produces them are not a one-trick pony. They make several products, including Warm and Natural batting.
I have used nothing but Steam a Seam Lite for more than a decade. Lately I've been thrust into chaos trying to teach classes without Steam a Seam products. Over the Easter Weekend I made my SAQA donation quilt using Pellon Lite EZ Steam II instead. I thought I was going to write this blog post with a new found respect for this alternate product, that is until I made the quilt samples for my Northcott fabric line last night. I was enamoured over the Pellon Lite EZ Steam II recently because I built my entire SAQA donation while away from home and not near an iron. Here is the big difference between Steam a Seam products and Pellon Lite EZ Steam II: NEVER TAKE AN IRON TO YOUR PELLON LITE EZ STEAM II UNTIL YOUR DESIGN IS BUILT. It is so tacky that everything adheres without ironing, and in fact, if you iron on the wrong paper side (matte parchment like side) you will never get the paper off! Tutorial below on how to use it.
Over the years I have been asked many times why my raw-edge applique does not fray. My response has been two-fold: a) I use a high thread count cotton in my hand-dyes that is similar to the cotton used in commercial batiks, and b) the fusible holds it together. Then last night I tried to make my sample using my Northcott fabrics and I have now discovered what people are talking about. Pellon Lite EZ Steam II is just way too tacky and sticky to work well with commercial fabrics. It actually contributes to fraying. Here is a photo of what happened when I pulled the backing paper off the very sticky fused fabric using Pellon Lite EZ Steam II on such a delicate part of my quilt!
Well no worries, because I still had a bolt of Steam a Seam Lite in my closet from way back when. Not even enough to supply a class, but enough to supply me for quite some time. That is how I solved the problem. PLEASE NOTE: I AM USING STEAM A SEAM LITE (THE LIGHT VERSION OF THE STEAM A SEAM PRODUCT THAT ONLY HAS ONE BACKING PAPER). I believe the Steam a Seam 2 products, with the two backing papers, might contribute to fraying as well because of the extreme tackiness. The piece starts to fray as you are pulling the backing paper off. The more tackiness, the more pull on your fabric. Please scroll down below the photos in this blog post to read about the different types of Steam a Seam. There are four, and a lot of confusion out there about them. I have included the information I have been giving students in my classes to explain why these fusibles with pressure-sensitive, re-positionable adhesive are so helpful to building a design with many little parts. BUT, they may be too much for designs built with commercial fabrics and delicate designs, unless like me, you use the ones with less tackiness (Steam a Seam Lite in my case). In my last blog post I shared photos of the two quilt samples I made last night using Steam a Seam Lite. That worked better because it is far less tacky, but always tacky enough for my needs.
When I use Steam a Seam Lite, I trace my reversed design to the paper side of the fusible web, cut it out roughly, iron to the back of my fabric, then cut out on the line. There is not much stress on the fabric when I pull the backing paper away because the Lite version is not as sticky as the two-sided version.
Here is a tutorial on how to use Pellon Lite EZ Steam II.
The product comes with a paper on each side of the fusible web. One paper is a heavy, waxy, freezer-type paper. The other side has a light, matte, parchment-like paper.
Trace your reversed design to the matte paper side.
Roughly cut out the design and pull off the heavy shiny paper side.
Finger press the fusible to the back side of your fabric. The matte parchment like paper will remain facing you. Never iron on this parchment-like paper. You will never get it off!
Cut our your shape on the line.
Here is the shape cut out.
Remove the parchment paper and place your sticky backed shape on your quilt top. Watch out, it will be really sticky! You can build your design with no ironing. Once you are happy with the design press to make it permanent.
That fusible (Pellon Lite EZ Steam II) works great on tough, high-thread count cottons and large pieces, but I strongly suggest you find some Steam a Seam Lite for delicate pieces like this:
In fact, if you can, maybe choose a fusible without tackiness for delicate things like this, until Steam a Seam Lite is back on the market. A product like Shades Soft Fuse or Wonder Under Lite. I want you to be successful with your fusing, so that is why I put this blog post together.
Now here is the information from the hand-out I give to student regarding Fusibles with Pressure-Sensitive, Repositionable Adhesives.
FUSIBLE WEB PRODUCTS
With Pressure Sensitive, Re-positionable Adhesive
What is so special about Steam a Seam fusible web? It has a re-positionable, pressure-sensitive adhesive that enables your design to stay together while you build it. Each piece is still re-positionable until such time as you make it permanent by fusing it with an iron.
Steam a Seam products have not been produced for at least the last 6 months. The paper manufacturer that provided the parchment release paper shut down. The same paper was not available elsewhere, so they were forced to find an alternative. A new Steam a Seam product was released in summer 2013, but there were problems with the new backing paper. The company has announced that it is seeking an alternative and will not release the product again until they are sure the problem is resolved. You can read updates on the situation at this site: http://warmcompany.com/sas-update.html
STEAM A SEAM PRODUCTS
STEAM A SEAM PRODUCTS
There are four types of Steam a Seam fusible web:
Steam a Seam: regular weight fusible with one backing paper (not as sticky as Steam a Seam 2, but still has some pressure-sensitive adhesive)
Steam a Seam 2: regular weight fusible with two backing papers (sticky on both sides of the fusible web)
Lite Steam a Seam: light weight fusible with one backing paper (not as sticky as Lite Steam a Seam 2, but still has some pressure-sensitive adhesive). This is the one I prefer. I don’t need two backing papers, and this one is sticky enough for my needs.
Lite Steam a Seam 2: light weight fusible with two backing papers (sticky on both sides of the fusible web)
All of the above come in 12”, 18” and 24” widths. Remember to store your Steam a Seam in an air-tight container. When it is exposed to air for a long time the backing paper comes away and makes the fusible harder to work with.
ALTERNATIVE CHOICE: PELLON EZ STEAM:
In the mean time, the only fusible I am aware of, that also has a repositionable, pressure-sensitive adhesive is made by Pellon. Do I like it as well as Steam a Seam? No, but right now it is the best alternative. EZ Steam only comes in 12” width, and there is no one-sided version of light EZ Steam.
Pellon EZ Steam: Regular weight fusible, one backing paper
Pellon EZ Steam 2: Regular weight fusible, two backing papers (sticky on both sides of web)
Pellon Lite EZ Steam 2: Light weight fusible with two backing papers (sticky on both sides of web)
This product was designed so you would never need to iron it until you press your final design in place. It is so tacky that it adheres to the back of your fabric just by finger pressing. Note that it comes with two backing papers: one is heavy and shiny, much like freezer paper; the other is light and matte, much like parchment paper. You will need to trace your design to the matte (parchment paper side). Cut your design out roughly, leaving a bit around the traced line. Remove the heavy, shiny paper, and position your design to the back of your fabric, press with your fingers, and pull off the parchment paper. Never press the parchment paper and fusible to your fabric because it is almost impossible to remove! Now you can place your design in the appropriate place on your background fabric. It will stay in place until you are finished, but can be re-positioned at any time up until you finalize things with an iron.