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Friday, 24 July 2015

What's A Selvedge? - Selvage Along 2015

Selvedges (British English) or Selvages (US English)?
Obs for me they'll always be selvedges but what exactly is a selvedge?

Why Is It Called A Selvedge?
The term selvedge comes from self-edge and has been used since the 16th century.  It's the finished edge of the fabric that stops the edges fraying.  It runs parallel to the warp threads down the length of the fabric and is created by the weft threads turning back on themselves at the end of each row; a natural part of the weaving process.

Why Don't We Normally Use Our Selvedges?
1: On one edge of the fabric selvedges are usually white and don't contain the fabric's colour or design so are of no use alongside the main print;
2: Selvedges are often thicker and heavier than the main fabric; this can sometimes make them difficult to sew through; and
3: Even if hidden within a hem or seam, selvedges don't always behave the same as the rest of the fabric during washing, they may shrink less and can cause warping.

What Can We Learn From A Selvedge?
Designer, collection and manufacturer information, etc, is displayed on the white selvedge edge in increasingly more and more imaginative ways, including adding licensing info, messages and more.  Here're some examples:

A row of coloured dots shows all required colours have been included during the manufacturing process.  Sometimes symbols appropriate to the fabric collection are used instead of dots - in the pic above as well as dots we have planets, clouds, snowmen and hearts.

Cotton + Steel share lots of info on their selvedges including the season/year.

The above selvedges carry warnings and licensing info.  Licensing info on fabric is something to be aware of if you're considering selling items you make with it - though you can give items made with it as gifts.  There's a lot of debate out there on the internet as to whether or not this licensing agreement is still legal once the seller, who has entered into the licensing agreement, has sold the fabric on to the consumer as the consumer hasn't signed any agreement with the owner of the image.  Personally, I'm just not prepared to run the risk of any legal battles so I'm steering clear of this hornets' nest!

And finally, some selvedges tell you the fabric content and where the fabric was manufactured.

Waste Not Want Not - Selvage Along 2015

These days quilters and sewists are eager to use their selvedges in new and inventive ways.  Keen to recycle, upcycle and avoid wastage we're always looking to find useful and decorative uses for these end scraps. 

Do you save your selvedges?  If you do why not join in the Selvage Along hosted by Jess @Quilty Habit and Renee @Quilts of a Feather.  Intros to the Selvage Along started last Monday and you can click through to the intro posts here and here.  Even if you don't have any selvedges at the moment the Selvage Along runs through to 21st September so, no excuses, start saving your selvedges.

There's a link up on Jess and Renee's blogs today to share pics of our selvedges and how we store them, you can share pics on Instagram too using #selvagealong.

How I Store My Selvedges
Here's my selvedge basket.

I store my selvedges in zip-loc bags divided by colour.

How do you store yours?

How To Make Selvedge Fabric
Click the image below to find out how I make Selvedge Fabric and on 10 August I'll be sharing with you how to make a Selvedge Zippy Pouch, just like this laptop case.

Selvage Along 2015 Schedule
For lots more selvedge fabric and project tutes check out the full Selvage Along Schedule:

20 July - Intro posts @Quilty Habit and @Quilts of a Feather
24 July - Link up your selvedge pics @Quilty Habit and @Quilts of a Feather
27 July - Selvedge Strip Pillow Tute by Jess @Quilty Habit
3 August - Anna Maria Horner Selvedge Feathers Tute by Renee @Quilts of a Feather
10 August - Selvedge Zippy Pouch Tute by Chris @made by ChrissieD
and a midway/check-in linky @Quilty Habit and @Quilts of a Feather
17 August - Selvedge Binding Tute by Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
24 August - Project by Vera @Negligent Style
31 August - Project by Jess @Elven Garden Quilts
14 September - Tute round up on @Quilty Habit and @Quilts of a Feather
21 September - Last linky party - link up all your selvedge projects! @Quilty Habit and @Quilts of a Feather

I'm excited to find out how others store their selvedges.
Have I convinced you to start saving your selvedges yet?

Clicking on an image will take you to a new page of crafty goodness :)

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.

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Linky Parties
This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can  see where I like to share my work.


  1. I love selvages, but really don't have that many! I applaud all who keep them and especially those who make amazing things from them!

  2. Neat storing system! Nice job Chris!

  3. Great discussion on selvages! It's just a shame not to save and use the selvages that have special things on them!

  4. Thank you for this very thorough and well-written explanation on selvages!

  5. I don't tend to keep my selvedges beyond a little scrap so I can remember what the fabric line was but these do look like great projects - using fab rich nose to tail!

  6. What an informative post! Thanks for sharing all this great information. I've been following the hop, and look forward to all that's in store.

  7. interesting post Chris. I only keep my selvedges while I am making a quilt to help match fabrics and for the info for blogging. I might start collecting though now.

  8. Great post Chris! I'm following excited this selvage journey! I have a good box full of selvages; don't have time for them now but I'm looking for all the great ideas you will share! x Teje

  9. My selvages are in a big basket that lives under my sewing machine cabinet. I use them to make accessories for my knitting bag. I want to make a Sew Together bag, and I have made the Triple Zip Pouch that is available on the "Quilter's Table" blog.

  10. Personally, I've always thought of them as a sign of Quality Fabric. I'm fond of picking up cotton [or linen, wool] Remnants at thrift stores and having an informative sevedge is a PLUS! - And, I like the colour-dots too. Quite helpful if you're needing to match the fabric with another.

  11. I keep the selvedge with the details on along with a swatch of the fabric and on a card details of where bought, that way can buy again or source if needed

  12. I'm not a sewer, so have zero material stash, but I still found this post interesting. I'm sure there will be plenty of imaginative makes formed from these selvedges x

  13. This was really an informative post. I help many new sewing enthusiasts and they never know what the selvedge is. I now have even more information to give when I explain! Thanks.

  14. Woah, now that is good organisation!
    I've see selvedge crafts, I think I saw a bag made from them and thought is was a really fun idea. I'll be interested to see what you make from all yours!

  15. Great post, I hadn't noted all the different information held on the edges! I store mine in a denim bracket - nowhere near as organised as you:) I love the fact I have a record of the fabric I have bought, just in case six months later I decide I need to buy some more!!

  16. Wonderful! I store my selvedges in a big, tall pickle jar on a shelf! It has gotten pretty full too....there is a quilt by Krista of PoppyPrints that I have been saving them for :) in the meantime, I have made a cushion for my sewing chair from selvedges :)

  17. I started saving selvages about a year ago. I used to cut really close to the edge, which made them unusable in these types of projects. But after seeing some neat selvage quilts, I've been cutting them a bit wider, and have started a salvage triangle quilt. Fun! I don't have tons of them - they're jammed in a ziploc bag.

    Thanks for the info on them. Interesting stuff!

  18. I marvel at those who have the patience for collecting, sorting, and storing such little snippits! When I get too overwhelmed with tiny scraps, I have to toss them. Wow! I really like your selvedge fabric.

    (selvage, hmmm, I know that we Americans can be a little silly ... maybe the d just got swallowed)

  19. I have many selvage edges saved. Not quiet enough to do anything with, but soon. Thanks for letting me know about the Selvage Along. I found you on Freshly Pieced.

  20. Great post Chrissie! Time to pull out my selvage pieces and make something!

  21. Wow, I never thought to save my selvages! I will, however, admit to using them when they are hidden in a seam...I know...bad! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty with us this week!

  22. ...not sure if i sent you this already but here it goes again thanks for sharing your beautiful quilt ideas at my last Fabulous Friday, I am taking a break from this party and doing another party where I co host and its called Dream Create and Inspire. Stop by if you have a few minutes
    Thanks Maria

  23. Fascinating! I don't sew but can see where saving these and putting them to use would be a lot of fun and makes something unique and beautiful.

  24. Great post - i'm always so grateful that i keep them when trying to reorder fabric!! But they make great projects in their own right too:)

  25. I'd never heard the term, this is a who new concept to me. Thank you

  26. This is such an awesome post! I loved the closeups with the super secret espionage codes hidden in the selvedge. I also loooove the re-use of the unwanted scraps, am heading off to your selvedge fabric tutorial right now!

  27. I love that you use every bit of the fabric Chris!!!


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Chris Dodsley