The manager at the Beverly's Fabric Store in San Diego told me about a product called Unique Stitch by Dritz (the package says Collins, but I guess it's Dritz).
Basically this is a glue in a tube, for adhering fabric to fabric (like on a hem).
"A stitchless sewing adhesive".
The bond is permanent and washable, but not recommended for dry cleaning.
But what I like to use it for is holding zippers or ribbon trim in place until I can stitch it.
That way I don't need to waste time basting by hand, and what I'm stitching doesn't shift or twist.
I'm not even using my seam ripper for once!!!
The product label says you can use this to permanently add pearls or rhinestones to a garment.
It also suggests appliques, but I personally like the look of stitching in conjunction with fusing for appliques--I think it looks more professional.
I just used this glue when I attached tiny 1/4" ribbon as an embellishment on a little girl's dress.
The glue held the ribbon in place beautifully until I could couch it down with metallic thread.
Now that I've tried this method, there will be no going back to basting--give it a try!
It's very inexpensive too, and it doesn't leave your garment feeling stiff or sticky.