Sewing & Pattern making Terms


Selvedge, also spelled as “selvage,” is an essential term in the world of sewing and fabric crafting. As seamstresses and pattern makers, understanding selvedge is crucial for working with fabrics effectively. Selvedge refers to the woven edge of the fabric that runs parallel to the lengthwise grain. These finished edges are designed not to fray, making them a valuable part of the fabric. In this article, we will explore the significance of selvedge, its characteristics, and how it influences the art of sewing.

Selvedge Unraveled: The Fabric’s Finishing Touch

The selvedge is more than just an edge; it is the fabric’s finishing touch. Let’s take a closer look at the significance of selvedge:

  • Structural Integrity: Selvedges are tightly woven and provide structural stability to the fabric, preventing fraying and unraveling along the edges.
  • Identification: Selvedges often contain essential information about the fabric, such as the manufacturer’s name, fabric type, and color code.
  • Grain Alignment: Selvedges run parallel to the lengthwise grain of the fabric, ensuring a stable foundation for cutting and sewing.

Characteristics of Selvedge: Beyond the Basics

Selvedges boast unique characteristics that distinguish them from other edges of the fabric. Here are some key features:

  • Smooth Finish: Selvedges have a smooth and neat finish, showcasing the precision of the weaving process.
  • Slight Variations: Occasionally, selvedges may have slight color or pattern variations compared to the main body of the fabric due to the manufacturing process.
  • Width Consistency: Selvedges maintain a consistent width throughout the fabric, ensuring uniformity and stability.

Utilizing Selvedge in Sewing Projects

As a seamstress or pattern maker, incorporating selvedge into your sewing projects can enhance the overall outcome. Consider the following applications:

  • Selvedge as a Seam Finish: Selvedges can be used as a clean and fray-resistant edge finish for seams, especially on fabrics that tend to fray easily.
  • Selvedge for Bias Tape: Cutting selvedges on the bias creates a sturdy and unique bias tape for binding edges or decorative details.
  • Selvedge for Guides: Utilize the selvedge as a reference point for grain alignment during fabric layout and pattern cutting.


Selvedge is a valuable asset in the world of sewing, providing structural integrity, identification, and alignment for fabric. As a seamstress or pattern maker, understanding the importance of selvedge allows you to make informed decisions while working with various fabrics. Whether it’s using selvedges as seam finishes or creating unique bias tape, incorporating selvedges into your sewing projects can elevate your craftsmanship and attention to detail. Embrace the charm of selvedge, and let it guide you in creating beautifully crafted pieces with stability and finesse.

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Melissa Villegas
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