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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Steam A Seam 2 Review

I've always wondered what technique people used to keep their wool applique pieces in place while stitching. I've tried a couple of different techniques... first was regular straight pins... ouch... then smaller applique pins (for cotton fabric)... ouch... then quilters safety pins (the slight curve made for easy pinning, but the thread always got caught on them)... then I tried some fusible webbing. The first brand I tried simply would not fuse the wool pieces together no matter how long I held that iron on it. So, I gave up the idea of fusible webbing.

But, I kept on hearing about the Steam A Seam product line and how it had been getting rave reviews. So, I figured I'd give it a try. There are different varieties... so be careful which one you choose. I meant to buy the Steam A Seam Lite... but accidentally picked up the Steam A Seam 2 instead.

As we know... experimenting costs money. So, I figured I'd try this stuff out with a FREE wool applique kit. This Christmas Pinkeep is designed by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings. They gave these away to their customers during their Winter Open House in 2010. Lucky for me, they included the online customers too! :-)

To my amazement, the Steam A Seam 2 did a wonderful job of fusing the wool pieces together. This kept everything in place so that stitching was a breeze! The product was easy to use, did not mess up my iron, did not leave sticky residue on the needle and was pretty easy to sew through... The only drawback was that it did add some rigidity to the appliqued pieces. Hopefully you can see what I am referring to in the following picture...

This is fine (for me) with this pinkeep piece as I will most likely fill it with cotton and use more as a pillow tuck anyways. The Steam A Seam 2 would also be good if making small, unstuffed wool ornaments to hang from a tree or garland. But, for pieces that will be handled more (like a quilt or table runner) I think I would prefer not to use the fusible webbing... and just stick with the small applique pins and be more mindful that they are there.

Or, maybe I will try the Steam A Seam Lite one day...


  1. Thanks for the tip! I want to get more into applique. I've made a couple of pieces, and it is relaxing, I find. This stuff looks good. I didn't like the jab of the pins either and often just tried to hold the piece down or basted it first. Still, things were sometimes crooked...imagine that! LOL

  2. Thanks for the review. Your applique is looking wonderful.

  3. Nice review! Your little piece looks great

  4. I have never used that one. The new thing I am using is wonder under regular, much lighter than the first type I bought and easier to sew through.


  5. Believe it or not, I took a class with a famous designer, and we were instructed to use a STAPLER to secure our pieces! And you know what? It works! The thread does not get caught on the staples, there is no pressing so the wools don't flatten (which can happen) and they are easy to take out. Just bend the piece at the staple, and the staple can be esily removed with no damage. Just like with certain pins, don't leave them in for a long time, or they can mark the wool. But for a temporary hold, it really works. I do this for things I take to work on at lunchtime, etc. I don't get stabbed!

  6. Sharon,

    I have used a product called Trans-Web fusible. Works great on cotton, but wool sometimes not so well. My friend said to use steam and I have but still comes undone. When doing applique, I was told to just use the fusible around the edge. In other words, trace your pattern and then cut out the middle leaving about 1/2" or so of fusible. This keeps it from being stiff all the way thru. The Trans-Web does not make it stiff like the Steam-a-Seam. Anymore, I just pin, but am definitely going to try the staple method.

  7. Sounds like Patijane and Kathy have great alternative suggestions, but I'm still going to suggest you try windowing. Basically, you cut out your applique piece, then cut the center out of it. so the piece in your work is like a window frame. It might be tricky with small parts, and I definitely intend to try Kathy's stapler suggestion and to look for Trans Web....

    You did a great job on this piece!

  8. Great info about steam a seam. I have never used it but use heat and bond with a steam iron and never did like how the iron imprints are left on the wool.
    I think I like the stapler idea a lot.
    I was going to send you some warmth, but this morning it is only 46 degrees. Lots of stormy rain last night.


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