Selvedges and First Words
A selvedge is the non-fraying edge on the side of fabric. One side usually has a theme name; the name of the designer; the fabric manufacturer; colour dots and perhaps a date.
In the past selvedges were woven more tightly than the rest of the fabric so it was necessary to remove and discard them so they didn’t cause distortion of seams. However, I have noticed in the last few years that the quality of selvedges on 100% cotton quilting fabrics has improved and the names can be quite delightful.
The first selvedge quilt I made was simply a collection of interesting wordings. The design was simple and the colours placed randomly.
My aim: to display interesting selvedge wording in a quilt
- uncertainty about whether selvedges would shrink with washing of quilt
- wording appears very close to non-fraying edge so no possibility of enclosing this edge in a conventional seam
- getting edges to sit flat
- fabrics have varying lengths of wording
- Whenever I bought a new fabric, I cut off a strip [the side with the name and details] at least 2½inch wide and added it to my collection
- I wet several selvedges and ironed them on high heat – no apparent shrinkage
- a simple strip piecing design was chosen and the strips cut to length ensuring the best use was made of the wording
- I used a *quilt as you row* method
- the non-fraying edges were placed over the raw edges of other selvedge strips
- the non-fraying edges were topstitched onto the next strip with a line of straight stitching above the wording and a zig-zag type stitch on the very edge
It is worth keeping selvedges to use in projects.
While you have fun collecting them you will also
learn about different designers and fabric manufacturers.
Next chapter: Sorting Selvedges.