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At HowToSew.com you’ll learn how to start (and finish) basic sewing projects. Check out our free sewing patterns and tips for sewing, and get started!

What is a Selvage?

 

A selvage is the tightly woven edge of a fabric. It prevents the side edges of the fabric from raveling or fraying. Don’t use the selvage in your project! The selvage, because it’s densely woven, is sturdier than the rest of the fabric, so it can be more difficult to sew through. And, the selvage can shrink during washing and drying leaving you with puckered and distorted seams.

 

How to identify a selvage edge:

 

On this fabric, the selvage isn’t printed. It’s the white strip at the edge.

selvage

 

 

 

Sometimes it’s harder to distinguish the selvage. On the polka dot (top fabric), the selvage isn’t printed. On the solid green (bottom fabric) the selvage matches the rest of the fabric.

selvage

 

If in doubt about an edge, try to unravel the threads. If the threads won’t come apart, it’s the selvage.