I’ve been getting a LOT of questions lately asking me if it’s really ok to just straight stitch around the edges of the pieces in applique with fusible adhesive. People worry that they have to zigzag to make everything durable.
The best way to answer that is with a picture!
This is a close up of one of the cats on the quilt I made for my daughter almost two years ago. She uses it all the time – usually on her bed, but also dragged to sleepovers and occasional stints in the yard. I have no idea how many times it’s been through the washer and dryer – but it’s definitely been washed a LOT.
Look how great it still looks! There’s just a tiny bit of fraying on the edges. A very tiny bit.
This is mostly because the quality of the fabric is excellent. The fabrics that you buy in independently owned quilt shops are better quality than just about anything you can get at a Joann’s or a Hancocks, which is itself higher quality than what you get at a discount store like Walmart. A higher thread count and tighter weave makes for less fraying – and a more durable quilt overall.
If you’re using good quality fabric, you can definitely use a simple straight stitch around the edges with no worries.
One note – if you’re using flannel – even an excellent quality flannel – the small amount of fraying will be more visible because it will be white, so you might want to zigzag those edges as an artistic choice. But as far as durability goes – you’re good.
One more note – all of this is assuming you’re using the right weight adhesive. I use Heat-n-Bond Lite for my quilts. You can see the results of my testing here and you can buy the same adhesive I use here.