Notions: What is the Selvedge?

Apart from being a delicious magazine, the Selvedge on a piece of fabric is the finished edge. Normally this has a woven finish, & often you can see a regular pattern of small holes running parallel with the Selvedge. This would have been where the fabric was held on to the loom whilst it was being woven.

In woven fabric, selvages are the edges that run parallel to the warp (the longitudinal threads that run the entire length of the fabric), & are created by the weft thread looping back at the end of each row. The terms selvage & selvedge are a corruption of “self-edge”, & have been in use since the 16th century.

File:Selvage.jpg1. 2. 3.

1. A woven selvedge, you can clearly see the loop of the weft thread ‘looping back’. 2. Often you will find the colours used in a printed fabric along the selvedge, which will be white, along with the company & fabric name. 3. Artists even make garments from selvedges & I admit to being rather fascinated with them myself!

Interestingly, you should be able to feel that the holes running along the Selvedge have a raised texture on one side, & lie flat on the other. If you can feel the holes this is the ‘right’ side of the fabric. I’m not sure how often this applies when I am making something up as I am often liable to just choose which side of the fabric I like best as the ‘right’ side!! The Warp is the stronger thread, so garments cut with their Grain Line running parallel to the Selvedge should last longer, & hang better.

Happy stitching!

Selvedge Magazine can be found at, the quote is from Wikipedia. Please click all images for links to the original.

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