I am not an expert, by any means, on fusible web products. But over the years I have learned a great deal and hope that this information can help you decide which product to use in your future projects.
The primary use of a fusible web is to adhere fabric to fabric. Fusible webs are sheets of glue that can be ironed onto fabric most often for appliques. We carry several types of fusible web products and here are the pros and cons of each one that we carry. I first want to say that each of these products is excellent. They all have their place in the quilting world depending on the effect you want to achieve and how you want to use them.
All fusible web products are double sided. Some are sandwiched between two layers of paper (Steam-A-Seam), while others only have one paper-backed side (Heat 'n Bond).
We carry both the regular and light versions of Steam-A-Seam. The best characteristic of this product is that it is repositionable. Once ironed onto the fabric, it maintains a slight stickiness that allows you to position your pieces directly onto your fabric. You can easily lift it up and reposition as needed. It doesn't become a permanent bond until you apply heat.
Because of its repositionable quality, Steam-A-Seam can gum up your machine needle and cause problems. You can try using a non-stick needle and a Teflon, or non-stick, foot. Frequently cleaning the glue off the needle also helps.
Steam-A-Seam is a slightly thicker product and it will add bulk and stiffness to the final product, even when using the light version.
You can use Steam-A-Seam with the Scan 'N Cut. Make sure it is ironed down well on the fabric you are cutting out. It it isn't, the webbing will stick to the mat and tear away from your fabric. This is my least favorite product for the SNC, but excellent for traditional applique.
This product is about $5.83/yard.
RNK's repositionable webbing is also, as the name suggests, repositionable. You can build your applique directly onto your fabric and move it as necessary. It becomes permanent once heat is applied. Because of its repositionable quality, it also has a tendency to gum up needles when sewing. This product is best used for machine embroidery projects. The product is thicker than others and puffy. It adds dimension to machine embroidery applique. You may need to clean your needle frequently to get the build up of glue off.
I do not advise using this product with your SNC. This product has different layers that make it thicker and puffy. The layers pull apart, leaving some on your mat and some on your fabric. If you do use this product, place the fabric side on your mat and reverse your design.
This product is more expensive, averaging about $8.00/yard
Heat ‘n Bond
Once ironed to fabric Heat 'n Bond creates a slick sheet of glue. It does not have the sticky quality that the previous products have. Applique layers are built on an applique sheet and then transferred over to the fabric. Because it doesn't have that gluey, gummy quality, it is more needle friendly.
One of the problems with this product is that it loses its adhesion quickly if it isn't stitched down right away. Build your appliques on the applique sheet and put them aside until you are ready to iron them down and stitch them onto your fabric.
Because this is a lighter product, Heat 'n Bond does not add much bulk or stiffness to your fabric.
This is one of the best products to use with the Scan 'N Cut. It cuts beautifully and is easily lifted off the mat.
The price is very reasonable, running about $2.50/yard.
Misty Fuse is an extremely lightweight webbing that doesn't change the hand of the fabric. This makes Misty Fuse an excellent choice for garments and quilts. It is not repositionable in the same sense as the above. You need to build the applique on a pressing sheet. The glue doesn't accumulate on the needle. Like Heat 'n Bond, it does lose its adhesion if not stitched down right away, especially around the edges. I've not tried it yet with the SNC, but think that if you place the fabric side on the mat and reverse the design, it should work quite well.
This product runs about $3.00/yard and is made in the USA!
There are certainly more products on the market than just these that I have featured here. These are the products that I currently keep in stock. But I am always on the hunt for other products. If you have a favorite fusible web, please tell us what it is, why you like it, and how you use it.