Sewing with Selvages

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Have you noticed how pretty the selvages on your fabrics are? A selvage is the finished edge of fabric, and it is tightly woven which means it does not fray. It runs the entire length of the fabric bolt. Selvages are very handy! Information is usually printed right along that edge. This can include the fabric designer, the company, and the name of the print or line. This makes it easy to identify the fabric. Sometimes the selvage also features a line of circles that include all of the colors in that fabric to help you choose coordinating colors.

Many people consider selvages to be garbage, cutting them off and throwing them away without a second thought. Did you know that you can sew with them? Think twice before you throw those pretty edges away! You can use your selvages to make unique projects.

star quilt
Photo via Twin Fibers

Here are a few tips for collecting and sewing with selvages:

  1. Before you start cutting into your fabric for your next project, cut your selvages off so that they are at least 1-2 inches wide. That way not only will you see your selvage, but also a bit of that pretty fabric.
  2. Store them in a clear container in a visible place. I like to keep mine in a tall Mason jar on my shelf; that way I’m reminded to sew with them!
  3. Before sewing with your selvages, be sure to starch and press them well. They can be pretty wavy, but a good press should take care of it.
  4. A fabric foundation base works perfectly when sewing selvages together. This allows the woven edge to remain fully exposed while keeping the selvage strips from distorting. Muslin works great for this, but you can also use whatever quilting cotton scraps that you may have laying around. Just be sure that the foundation fabric doesn’t show through the selvage strips.

You can make so many things with your selvages! Bags, zipper pouches, pin cushions, quilts of all sizes, and more! Sometimes I like to use the selvage edge as part of my envelope pillow backs. That way I have a fun finished edge that requires no hemming. Here is an example !

Need more inspiration? Check out these pincushions by Live a Colorful Life and these string quilts by Quiltville ! Are you ready to get sewing ? Start small with a pincushion or a snack mat. If you are looking for a tutorial, head on over here to learn the basics on sewing with selvages while making a functional mug rug . For more fun with scraps check out the online Bluprint class Scrap Quilting: Big Techniques from Small Scraps .

Come back to the Bluprint blog tomorrow for fun tips on organizing your quilting projects from start to finish.

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Sewing with Selvages