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 the yellow fabric pictured, the selvage isn't printed. It's the white strip at the edge.
  • Sometimes it's harder to distinguish the selvage. On the green fabric pictured, the selvage matches the rest of the fabric.
  • If in doubt about an edge, try to unravel the threads. If the threads won't come apart, it's the selvage.