How Do I Choose the Best Fabric Glue?

Anna B. Smith

To choose the best fabric glue, customers should determine whether they want a temporary or permanent hold, and select the glue that works best with their type of fabrics. Each bottle of glue tends to list the types of fabrics or other materials it can bond to without damaging the surface of the project. Not all materials are approved for use with every type of glue. This adhesive can be used to attach separate pieces of fabric to one another, or to other materials, like wood, beading, and metallic surfaces. It is usually available for purchase in local craft stores and through Internet ordering.

Fabric glue.
Fabric glue.

This type of adhesive is usually available in washable and non-washable formats. Washable varieties of fabric glue are designed by the manufacturer to withstand multiple trips through a washing machine. These types of glue typically do not require special care, such as hand washing or line drying. This type of glue may also be referred to as liquid stitching and is frequently used to attach hems and add beading detail to clothing. Not all types of washable fabric glues may be dry cleaned, and those wishing to use this method of cleaning on their finished, glued projects, should first read the manufacturer's labeling prior to purchase to determine if the bonding agent can be dry cleaned.

Some types of fabric glue require special care, such as hand washing or line drying.
Some types of fabric glue require special care, such as hand washing or line drying.

Non-washable varieties of fabric glue are formulated to dissolve when they come in contact with water. These types of temporary glue are often used to tack pieces of fabric down for placement purposes prior to using a more permanent means of securing them, such as sewing. This technique is often referred to as basting. Non-washable glues are a popular choice amongst fabric artists, who use multiple layers of fabric to create wall hangings for display that are not designed to be used daily or washed.

Fabrics made of suede and leather often require the use of a specialized type of fabric glue. These fabrics are less absorbent than materials like cotton, nylon, and rayon, and require a stronger bond. The necessary fabric adhesive is usually labeled for use with these specific fabrics, and can be used to attach a variety of other materials, such as beading, fringe, and metallic studs. Customers should carefully read the product labeling to determine what type of care is required for these glues as many are not washable, but can be dry cleaned.

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Discussion Comments


@heavanet- You should probably use a permanent fabric glue and forget about having your jacket dry cleaned. Though this is probably not the option you prefer, sometimes you have to make sacrifices with special items like your embellished jacket.

Another option might be to have your glued-on embellishments replaced with the kind that are sewn into place. A professional seamstress should be able to do this for you at a reasonable price. Once you have your jacket's embellishments permanently sewn onto it, you won't have to worry about having it dry cleaned or getting it wet.


@heavanet- I think your best bet is to talk to your dry cleaner before you attempt to use any fabric glue on your jacket. He or she may be able to give you a good option that will allow you to dry clean your jacket and still get it wet if you need to.


I have a jacket that I need to use fabric glue on to repair some embellishments, but I also need to dry clean it from time to time. I don't like the idea of using a non-washable fabric glue because the jacket frequently gets wet. What should I do to fix the problem without ruining the jacket or messing up the embellishments?

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