Why do we “Take off the Selvages” when we sew

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Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips from SewVeryEasy, my name is Laura. We often talk about removing the selvages from the fabric. Well, let me show you why we need to remove those selvages. Here’s a piece of fabric where you can see the difference in the selvage and the fabric itself. The selvage, which is the edge that doesn’t fray, has a very tight weave to it. The fabric has woven threads going in both directions. There’s so many threads per inch, the edge is a lot tighter than the main body of fabric, which makes this pull in tight. It needs to be tighter because the fabric is on a machine to have it woven. This gives it stability as it’s being made. You can see some wrinkles or some folds right along this edge. They’re not going to press out, because this edge is tighter than this. That tightness is going to pull that end of fabric, so it’s important that you cut off the selvages on both edges. To show you the difference, I’m going to cut the selvage off so we can compare the difference. The selvages are usually about a half an inch. I’m going to cut right to the end of that ruler. When I take that selvage off and smooth out the body of the fabric, you will see a difference in the length. This already wants to curve. Because this selvage is a lot tighter, it curves. It can’t lay flat because it’s too tight. You can see how flat and perfect that body of the fabric is. When I go to match up those edges there’s going to be a difference. The body of the fabric is going to be a little bit bigger than that selvage, because the selvage is really tight. Now when you cut your fabric, you know that your sizing is going to be true. Keeping that selvage on is going to distort the squares right at the beginning of your rows. If you’d like to wash your fabric, wash your fabric with the selvages on. Then when it’s dried, before you press it or after you press it, trim off those selvages. Sometimes it’s better to trim it off first, especially if you see that that fabric is not lying flat. Once it’s trimmed off, press the body of the fabric. Then you’re ready to go and cut out all of your quilt squares. It just keeps that quilting very precise. That is why we like to trim off our salvages first. Thank you for joining me today on Tuesday’s Tips. Feel free to subscribe and, as always, come on back. Let’s see what we’re sewing next time
in the sewing room. Bye for now!


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