WHAT IS IT?
Selvedge, or selvage, refers to the edges of fabric that run along the lengthwise grain. Both spellings are correct. Selv-edge makes it easy to remember that the word refers to the edge of the fabric. On woven fabric, the selvedge is tightly woven and does not stretch. You may see tiny, evenly spaced holes running along the selvedge; this is from the machinery that stretches and finishes the fabric.
Selvedges of different fabrics
Selvedge with dots for matching colors
WHEN DO YOU USE IT?
When you are pinning your pattern pieces to the fabric, you can use the selvedge to line up the grain line. Fold the fabric in half, selvedge to selvedge. Pin one end of the grain line to the fabric, measure from the grain (page link) line to the selvedge and then pivot the pattern piece until the other end of the grain line measures the same to the selvedge.
Cut off selvedges and use them as stay tape (page link). Because the selvedge is stable and does not stretch, it is excellent for reinforcing straight seams. It won’t bend around curves well, so use it for straight edges like shoulder seams, pocket openings and waistlines. Selvedges of lining fabric are especially useful as they are lightweight and won’t add bulk.
Tips + Notes
- The selvedge is more tightly woven than the rest of the fabric, so do not cut any of your garment pieces with the selvedge included. Make sure the pattern piece is located off of the selvedge area.
- Some fabrics will have information printed on the selvedge, such as the fabric’s designer or the year it was produced. This information is useful if you want to locate more of the same fabric.
- Little colored dots may be printed on the selvedge, one for each of the colors in the fabric print. Use these colored dots to choose matching or contrast fabrics or lining colors.
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine