Monday, October 24, 2016

Fuse, glue, adhere

Reposting: originally posted 8/29/13 - some stores have changed, disappeared, popped up... I have discovered some new ones, and some more options have appeared since then...

Why write this post?

Because you can't deny the time and anguish-saving fabulousness fusing or gluing something properly can bring, as an alternative to hand-stitching...


I am glue-challenged.  My fear of adhesion, the process, my inability to properly launder, my disappointment when it fails, frustration when I press, maintain, and secure things to other things, has long made me seek other solutions, in an effort to  avoid all of the products associated with it.  But these are the things I have tried and loved/liked/dealt with, whether for clients, or for myself. 

Now, I share my experiences with you, and invite you to share your own.

So, here are some things I've tried, and how they have worked.  Chime in on this one, 'cause all input helps here...

One of the best sources for glue of all kinds is Manhattan Wardrobe Supply, because of their wide range of glue options and constant, healthy supply of products in the brick and mortar store!

The official spiel:

E-6000 is a unique adhesive formulated to meet high-performance industrial requirements. It adheres to more surfaces than virtually any other adhesive. E-6000 has exceptional adhesion to wood, metal, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, masonry and concrete. Not for use on Styrofoam. It also adheres strongly to leather, rubber, vinyl and many plastics. Because it is abrasion-resistant E-6000 may be used on high-wear surfaces. E-6000 maintains its flexible bond in cold temperatures and may be used to bond items subject to vibration. The clear E-6000 is not formulated for exposure to sunlight. For these applications, paint over E-6000 after it has cured.

In my experience:

This is great if you have a costume to assemble.  When stuff needs to stay put, without the real considerations of real life issues, like laundering and stiffness after adhesion, this stuff is great.  Not a lot of need for it in my life, but come Halloween, that stuff is gonna get a lot of use!

This glue is a general-purpose glue for school, craft, and household use. Sobo withstands multiple freeze-thaw cycles and dries fast and clear.

Got craft projects and/or kids?  This is the fiber artists equivalent of a stronger Elmer's Glue, in my opinion.  Works great, if that's what you need!

Barge cement

Great for leather, rubber, fixing your shoes, and in my experience, some home dec purposes, too!  This stuff is super strong, and professional quality.

Aleene's Tacky Glue

The official spiel:

Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue™ is the most recognized and trusted crafting adhesive. The familiar gold bottle is found in almost every household in America, and the line of Aleene’s Crafting Adhesives includes glues for every imaginable purpose. The famous Original Tacky Glue™ is considered the ultimate in glues because it is incredibly versatile and reliable. This popular formula is also available in a jar with a built-in brush and an easy-to-squeeze tube. Aleene’s® Brush-On Tacky Glue™ gives you quality Aleene’s® Tacky Glue with the convenience of a built-in brush. And the easy-to-squeeze tube makes application super easy. Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue™ * dries clear and flexible * cleans up with water * is the #1 choice of crafters! The nontoxic formula is recommended for all craft and hobby surfaces, including: * paper * fabric * ribbon * arts and crafts

In my experience:  A temporary craft glue.  Think holiday ornaments, kids' projects, and party decorations.

Other sticky stuff...


Just my own preference, but I don't use much fusible interfacing.  When I do get interfacing of any kind, I get mine from Steinlauf & Stoller. I am usually buying small quantities, so they are the best option for me. The rest of the time, I use woven interfacings, and sometimes fabrics that aren't necessarily sold as "interfacing", when I'm sculpting a garment.  Really depends on my opinion on whatever the garment requires.  Too much to explain here, but I do notice drastic differences in interfacing quality from store to store, so really, don't just buy it anywhere.  I've learned the hard way.

It gets far more complicated, though.  You might want to do something special, and you need something that only a really tough or specific fusible product can do for you.  I just had a very happy experience with thick, firm Fuse-A-Shade, which I bought from a local Jo Ann store (yes, really), and it was perfect!  Jo Ann is also good for shipping elsewhere, if you're not in NYC. Also easy to find Wonder-Under, Stitch Witchery, and spray-on or heat-set adhesives (turning something previously not fusible, into something fusible). 

A note about JoAnn, and why I mention the store here on this blog:

While the NYC garment district has a wealth of notions, tools, and things you can use, Jo Ann's products can help bridge the expertise gap, bringing some no-sew ideas to life, making use of the fabulous fabric you find in the garment district's stores. Not a betrayal of my mission here, but rather, a complement to it.

Also, see my post on Quick Fusing, if you want to bond or fuse yardage!


There are an amazingly large bunch of people who glue rhinestones.  I won't even ask why... but I have do some ideas, people...  Anyway, Joyce Trimming has got you covered for that stuff.  If you can't go in person, see their website.

Crystal Rhinestones...

M&J Trimming is a wonderland.  Visit the Swarovski counter, and I defy you to leave without a bag of something.  Silver foil backing, with adhesive already in place.  Easy to apply! If you need a Hot Fixer tutorial, M&J offers an instructional video on their site! 

Monograms and well, just letters...

M&J and Jonathan Embroidery both offer some great fusible letters.  They stay on so securely, you don't need to worry!  And, you've gotta check out the rhinestone script letters M&J offers.  If it didn't require so many letters, I would love to spell out "High Maintenance" across a cashmere sweatshirt... but people wouldn't know I was kidding, so...

And a personal Mommy recommendation from me...

I have learned to pre-fortify the knees of my son's jeans with iron-on patches BEFORE the hole begins.  Yup.  That's what it is to have an extremely active boy!  (He's no longer a "little" boy, but man... it's still true!)


  1. Great info here! I need to look for Barge glue to have on hand for shoes.

    You asked for some more input:

    For repairing tight places (like on jewelry), I use G-S HYPO CEMENT. It comes with a metal needle point so you can apply one tiny drop at a time. I got mine at JoAnn, but I think I've seen it in NYC, too - maybe M&J?

    For fusing, quilters like MISTY FUSE because it's so light. It comes in white, black, and ultraviolet-resistant, so the quilt on your wall is less likely to have darkened fused places decades later.

    HEAT 'N BOND is OK for general craft use. It comes in Lite and Ultra. You can sew through Lite but not Ultra (not even by hand). But Ultra is good if you're going to leave raw edges, like applying letters to banners that aren't going to get hard use or get washed. ("Happy Birthday," etc.)

    STEAM-A-SEAM and STEAM-A-SEAM 2 are wonderful for all kinds of sewing, and quilters use them for applique positioning. They're thin tapes that are sticky either on one side or two, and you can sew through them. They don't have a permanent bond until you iron them, so you can reposition things first. They can also fix a hem in a hurry, although the repair doesn't hold up well in the wash later. But in a pinch, when your husband is holding the car keys, waiting for you...

    PRYM FABRIC GLUE STICKS are also good for positioning things. You have time to move your work before the glue dries, and it's water soluble. I use that or any other fabric glue stick as a "third hand" sometimes, to hold an edge down as I sew. Really good for when you can't pin.

    A lot of my quilting friends have been using ELMER'S SCHOOL GLUE on their applique projects, or for holding quilt binding down before sewing. They like it because it washes out later. I haven't had to resort to it myself, so I can't say how it acts on fabric. But I do hear a lot of talk about it, nothing negative.

    Iron-on patches -- the best sources for these that I've found in NYC are SIL Thread and Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. Manhattan has a wide selection of patch colors & fabrics. I had to do a jeans fix for my son one time while we were in the city, with the hotel iron & patching from SIL. I remember how my mom used to patch our pants knees from the inside, before we wore anything out. Sears sold "fortified" jeans like that, too, when my son was little.

    I know what you mean about JoAnn. Even with one near me and all my supply shopping in NYC, I had to order something from their website yesterday, something that wasn't available elsewhere, not even in their own store. But it will be combined with some NYC purchases!

    One last glue thought: I'm on the lookout for a tube of GUTERMANN "CREATIV" HT2 TEXTILE GLUE, for gluing fabric to metal purse frames. That was on my NYC shopping list last month, but I never spotted it. :(

    1. As always, an absolute WEALTH of information from you! I'll look for the Gutermann, and tell you where/if I spot it!

    2. Thanks -- the glue may only be available online, though. I meant to ask around TGD to see if anyone was importing it. That may be the sticking point, bringing it into the country. But so much comes into NYC that I thought it would be the place to ask.

    3. After a pretty good search, this is the only way I have found to obtain it in the US.

  2. I am one of those crazies who glues crystals one by one. My daughters are figure skaters and glue on crystals are cheaper especially when you use hundreds at a time. E6000 is my glue of choice. I am lucky to have a wealth of stretchy fabric options at nearby MaryJo's in Gastonia, NC. I am so envious of your access to the garment district and it's many options.

    1. Fabulous! I know Mary Jo's in Gastonia, because my father's family is from there. True, there's a lot of stuff to explore in the garment district here, but wow, it can also be overwhelming... And addicting!


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