Can You Use Fabric Glue Instead Of Sewing? (Plus Tips For Using It)

fabric glue for sewing

Can You Use Fabric Glue Instead Of Sewing?

Fabric glue is a quick solution for repairs that you just don’t have the time or skill to stitch. But just because you can use fabric glue instead of sewing doesn’t mean it’s the perfect solution for all your sewing needs.

Fabric glues have come a long way over the years, but many still tend to leave hard “seams,” which are really the glue tracks where your fabric sticks together. Some of them don’t last beyond a couple of washes. And don’t even get me started on the time commitment required for trying to use fabric glue instead of sewing. You’re better off learning to sew.

The Pros of Fabric Glue

Quick Solution For Minor Adjustments

Fabric glues do serve a purpose as a quick solution to minor adaptations to clothing or fabric projects. For instance, fabric glue is a great way to hem pants or a skirt if you don’t know how to sew. It’s also a quick fix for seams that pull open in inconspicuous places, like under the armpit of your favorite t-shirt.

Ideal For Home Décor

Fabric glue is also a great way to make adjustments to home décor fabrics. If a curtain or a bedspread is too long, a bead of fabric glue is a quick way to solve the problem.

Applique

Fabric glue is also a wonderful way to personalize items with applique. Normally, applique relies on stitches (blanket stitches or a zig-zag stitch) to sew a design onto another piece of fabric, like a towel, curtain, pillow, fabric wall hanging, etc.

When my daughter was young, she liked changing the look of her room based on her favorite toys. To accommodate her desire for change and encourage her creativity, we put together toss pillows and pillow cases that she could use in her room. We used felt and a coloring book design of her favorite Sesame Street character and used fabric glue to attach it to a denim pillow I picked up on sale. When she became a fan of princesses, we bought fat quarters of princess fabric and cut designs out to glue to new pillowcases. These were all things she could help with and enjoy the creation process.

The Cons of Using Fabric Glue

Not For Items Used By Young Children

Don’t use fabric glue on applique products or clothing that will be used by infants or children under ages 3 or 4. If they happened to pick at the edges and pull the applique off, it could pose a choking hazard for those with a propensity to stick items in their mouths. You also don’t want them to lick the glue product.

Long Dry Time

I’ve mentioned that using fabric glue instead of sewing can be a fast fix, and it is…if you don’t count the dry time. You should plan to give fabric glue 48 hours to completely dry. Most fabric glues are set after four to six hours, but they are water-safe after 48. Always err on the side of caution and give your glue more time to dry instead of less.

Seams Can Dry Wrong

If you wear or hang a product that has been glued, the seam can dry wrong which can affect the way it hangs. While that might not be a huge problem on a curtain hem, it can dramatically change the way an article of clothing looks.

I actually know a young woman who created a pageant dress for her toddler using nothing but fabric glue – no sewing involved at all. She even “gathered” the skirt by pinching together segments of fabric with dabs of fabric glue. It was an arduous task to say the least. But she did not know how to sew, she could not afford to buy a fancy dress, so she labored for days over the project because it meant so much to her.

What my friend did not understand when she started this glued dress project is that attaching the “gathered” skirt to the bodice with right-sides facing would be a nightmare. That’s actually how I learned about the dress – she called to ask how to attach the skirt using fabric glue. After looking it over, we decided the best course of action would be to glue the skirt to the outside of the bodice and cover it with a wide fabric bow.

The biggest problem she encountered was that some of her last “stitches” were not quite dry when her toddler took the stage. All-in-all, the dress held together and passed inspection because no one examined it closely during the three or four minutes the child was on stage. I think it’s important to note here that she swore she’d never undertake such a project again!

Tips for Using Fabric Glue

Ultimately, using fabric glue instead of sewing this pageant dress was much more expensive because of the cost of the multiple tubes of glue she used. It would have probably taken less time for her to learn simple sewing than it did to painstakingly glue those seams together.

If you decide to use fabric glue on clothing or other projects, here are a few helpful hints:

  • Start with clean fabrics that are completely dry. If using cotton or natural fabrics, be sure to press them too.
  • Use consistent beads of glue, not dots. Dots tend to spread out and create gaps in the “seam.”
  • If using it to make multiple “seams,” make sure all “seams” are equal.
  • After running your bead of glue, smooth the glue “seam” to evenly distribute the glue.
  • Allow plenty of time for your glue to dry.
  • Do not substitute hot glue for fabric glue. You will burn your fingers when smoothing out the glued “seam.” Even if you can avoid burning your fingers, hot glue dries in hard globs.
  • If you want a permanent solution, make sure to use permanent fabric glue. You can also buy temporary fabric glues for projects you might need to alter again, like letting out a seam or hem later.
  • Read labels and know what kind of fabrics you want to glue. Glue for natural fiber fabric tends to be thicker than glue made for synthetic fabrics.
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