Selvages – Tell a Story

The saying…. every quilt tells a story has been true since the beginning of the needle & thread. The selvage also tells a story. (some say selvage some say selveldge – potatoe or potato or papa if you are in Spain, right Joanna?)

wikipedia defines selvage as: In a woven fabric, the selvage (or selvedge) is the uncut edge of the fabric which is on the right- and left-hand edges as it comes out of the loom. As such it is ‘finished’ and will not fray because the weft threads double back on themselves. The term also refers to the unfinished but structurally sound edges of flat knitted textiles.
Very often fabric near the selvage is not usable as it may have a different weave pattern, or may lack pile or prints that are present on the rest of the fabric requiring that the selvage fabric be cut off or hidden in a hem. Not usable…. if they could only see how selvages are being used.

The selvage is so full of information. It shows how many screens it takes to print that fabric. It tells the order of placement for each screen.
(have you checked out the selvages on some of the chain fabrics?…not very many dots there)

I like to sew a piece of the selvage on the back as I am adding the binding. I then whip stitch it down to the back of the quilt. What does this do? Mainly it just helps me remember what collection was used in the particular quilt. I don’t use this as the label but it does document the quilt for historians down the road.
So imagine how intrigued I was when I discovered Karen Griska’s book, Quilts from the Selvage Edge. Her blog is a must read. I invited her to make a project for the moda bake shop using the scrapbags. Have you heard of the Moda Bake Shop?

A couple of years ago, the theme of the Moda booth for Quilt Market was Selvages! Small world! So I started saving some of the moda selvages. After visiting with Karen, we thought we would both do a giveaway. I have come to grips with the fact that I am never going to make anything from the selvages I have saved. So I am going to give them away here. Just post a comment and talk about it on your blog. I will draw 3 winners Saturday the 14th. Karen is giving away the pillow she made for the bake shop. Go to her blog for details to win the pillow.

Karen said it was okay to include selvages of any width or length, so I did. It seems as if I have been wrapping that ball for days. I think the winner will be pleased. Images may appear larger, so I photographed the “Selvage Ball” alongside some of balls that were laying around my house. (the basketball is a kids size) 2 of the winners will receive their selvages in a gift bag. I don’t think I can get any more balls made. Can’t wait to see all the selvage projects out there.


  1. Ruth B says:

    I don’t have a blog….oy. Hope that doesn’t disqualify me. I will tell my friends about it though…does that count? I love the selvages stuff I’ve seen, including the pillow at the bake shop. I want to make one!
    ruthrberke at yahoo dot com

  2. When I first read about things made with the selvage, I thought it was completely insane. But now that I have seen all of the pattern options, I just LOVE the look. It would help me get started on a project to win your lovely selvage ball.

  3. Quilt Hollow says:

    I tell you, the selvage thing I didn’t get until I started seeing all the wonderful projects! I’ve got one long piece of selvage for anybody who wants it. I’d been tossing them all out!

  4. Alanna says:

    I recently discovered your blog and “selvages” and I think they are so special and indeed tell a story! You’ve so inspired me to try new projects!!! Your lovely ball would help me get started! Blessings ~ Alanna in DC

  5. Stephanie says:

    It’s amazing since I started blogging how I’ve learned selvedges are coveted. Makes me sick at all those I’ve thrown out as trash over the years. Anyway…I LOVE selvedges and have made a journal, bookmark, and tea wallet so far. I drool at Jodie at Ric Rac’s amazing creations.

    I’ll share your giveaway on my blog…even though it makes my chances of winning smaller. :o)

  6. Mimi says:

    OOooh, yes!!

    I’d absolutely LOVE to WIN the selvage ball. I promise to keep it away from my kitty…Tiger Lily…she loves to play ball!

    Sure hope my luck comes through!


  7. dee says:

    I would love to win that gorgeous ball of selvages. I can’t wait to have the time to make a selvage project. I started keeping them in a big glass jar a while back. They look like candy. Bright colors and pretty dots.

  8. Julie says:

    Planet selvage. When I first looked at you photo I suddenly had a vision of the earth wound with selvages. Then I saw the golf ball. I’d love to win a ball. I’ll share it on my blog.

  9. craftydiane says:

    I love the selvage ball! I have so been wanting to make something out of selvages but so far don’t have very many to use. This would be a great opportunity for me to get lots more selvages!
    Have a Blessed day,

  10. Thearica says:

    I could just kick myself, over and over, for throwing these away all through the years…I am a fabriholic and no telling how many balls I could make if I had every selvage gone to the garbage can! eekkk…

    I would love to win one of the gift bags or the ball either…I have ordered some paperweights, after seeing selvages put on the bottom of one while blogging one day! I am going to a retreat to meet 70 other quilters who I am friends with on the HGTV Quilting and Needlework Forum and I would love to make them all one of these.

    I wish everyone luck! and I hope I win too!

    Thank you for a great give-away!!

  11. Teri says:

    When the selvage revolution started, I said I wouldn’t follow. Needless to say, I have now done a few projects. I love seeing all the selvage ideas on the blogs. I hope I get picked so I can add more variety to my collection.

  12. Kathy says:

    I have been saving selvages ever since I came across Karen’s blog and saw the “Red Zinger” quilt. I would LOVE to have more to add to my selvage stash. Pick me, Please!

  13. Carrie P. says:

    This is so cool. I have been saving my selvages and have only made a couple pin cushions but I am getting more and more ideas. I am posting this on my blog right now. Great giveaway.

  14. Alisa says:

    I too have been intrigued by salvage. For some reason I just love them. Thanks for pointing out the book. I simply must own it. Your work is lovely!

  15. Tami says:

    Quilting with selvage edges is BRAND NEW to me!! In fact, the first time I saw it was on the Moda Bake Shop blog (the pillow) that you mentioned in your post. I actually posted about how cool it was on my blog that day. I thought about all the yards and yards of selvage edges I have cut off and tossed…that will SO not happen any longer!!

    I have already started collecting selvage edges from material I have recently tossed, as well as from my little personal stash. I can’t wait to start making projects. I LOVE the shabby-sheik look. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your extra selvage edges!!

  16. SewSew34 says:

    I am not a blogger, at least not yet, but am very interested in the selvage look. I especially like the dress and would like to make one like it. I plan to purchase the book. I have been donating my scraps and selvages to a group that makes pillows for an animal shelter. Guess the kitties and puppies will just have to have thinner or fewer pillows as I plan to save my selvages from now on. Thanks for this opportunity.

  17. I recently took a string and crumb-piecing class and I fell in love with using selvages. I’m working on strip/crumb pieced blocks that will eventually become a duvet cover (to replace the very worn one on my bed) and I plan to incorporate many selvages. I’d love to win this ball!

  18. Dawn says:

    I’m really starting to convert over to this selvage saving thing!! It’s amazing what one can do with a selvage! So yours would give me a good head start!! Thanks!

  19. Cyndy says:

    At our Quilt Guild one of the gals brought in a purse that she made with sevages and it was so cute. If someone would of told to make a purse with sevages I would of said: “You want me to do what!” I’ve always looked at the sevages after I cut them off and wonder “What could I do with these?” Now with all these great ideas, I know what to do. It would be great to win these.

  20. Oooh, I would sooo love to win some of those wonderful selvages! I just visited a quilt shop in a town closeby and what did they have on display as soon as I opened the door? A selvage quilt! It was wonderful! Thank you for the chance to win. ~ Deb

  21. asheridan says:

    It would be great to win these! I’m saving my selvages in a 1-gallon ziploc bag and this would just about fill it up so I can make something with them!

  22. I’m a new quilter, the first one finished and second one in progress, so I don’t have a lot of selvages. But I like to save them untill I’ve enough for something and the selvage ball will help a lot.
    I don’t have a blog yet.
    Bye bye
    Bernadet from the Netherlands

  23. OMG….I have never used my selvages yet but am trying to collect enough to make something. I am thinking I need this book as inspiration and of course the knowledge as I was just wondering about how tiny the seam allowance must be to save the writing. You will be a life saver for some lucky lady (crossing my fingers and toes).

    Happy sewing,

  24. I’ve been harvesting selvages for over a year now ~ and hope to start a quilt later this year. I used some to make a Priority Quilt for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative late last year ~ 9″ x 12″ overall. Love the ball you’ve shared ~ very cool! And yes, Karen’s selvage blog is GREAT fun to follow.

    My blog is


  25. Wendy says:

    Love the ‘planet selvedge’ image! Thanks for offering them. I’d love to add them to my own teeny tiny collection, and start sewing with them.

  26. Thimbleanna says:

    What a fun giveaway! If I win, I’d send them to Ms. RicRac ’cause she does such fantastic work! When I grow up I want to be able to make a dress like that selvedge dress she made! 😉