Save your selvages for a colorful sewing project

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I showed you 4 features on the NQ900 sewing machine that makes sewing easier and I talked a little bit about some other features I’m testing out this week.

The Brother NQ900

Since I’ve been sewing so much with my new NQ900, I’ve been adding lots of selvages to my collection. I never used to save my selvages until I reviewed the book Modern Selvage Quilting by Riel Nason. After seeing all the fun projects in that book, I saved my selvages as I cut into fabrics from my stash.

A basket of selvages

When I cut the selvages off of my fabrics, I try to leave about ½” of fabric beside the white of the selvage. This way I can sew the selvages together and have a bit of color show through. You’ll also see that some selvages have a clean edge and some have a ‘fuzzy’ edge. Most selvages are white, but some of them will have a different base color. For this project I’m choosing selvages with a white color and smooth edge.

Two different selvage edges

The first step for this project was to cut a piece of HEATNBOND Non-Woven Firm Weight Sew-In Interfacing to use as a base for my selvages. I decided to make a little project bag which will open out flat, so I cut my interfacing 13″ x 26″.

Next I drew lines across it, perpendicular to the long edges. I found the center of the interfacing and drew a line on it (and put some x’s on it, so that I would know which one it was). My first strip of fabric is cut 1″ wide, so I also drew lines ½” away on either side of the center line.

Center line marked on HeatnBond interfacing

Next, I cut one strip of fabric 1″ x 15″ and placed it on the interfacing so that the lines on either side of the center line were right along the edges of the fabric. This will be the center bottom of the bag.

The first fabric strip

Next, I selected two selvage strips from my basket and pinned them so that their finished edges were lying on top of the first fabric strip. This ensured that the printing on the selvage would be in the right orientation when the bag is folded in half.

Positioning the first two selvage strips

The walking foot on the NQ900 is perfect for stitching the selvage panel because it evenly feeds multiple layers and heavy layers of fabric, so that the foot sews nice even stitches.

The walking foot

I decided to simply use the preset utility stitch 3, which is a straight stitch in the middle of the foot, to stitch along the edges of the selvage strips. Even though the screen is telling me that I should be using foot “J”, I know that the walking foot can be used with any of the straight or zigzag stitch patterns.

Stitch settings for sewing the selvages

I stitched right along the edge of the two selvage strips securing them and the red fabric strip to the HEATNBOND interfacing.

Topstitching along the edge of the selvage

After the first two selvage strips are topstitched, two more strips are laid on top of them, with the finished edge towards the middle red fabric strip. I intentionally left about ¼” of the fabric showing when I placed each consecutive strip. This made the panel more colorful and interesting. I also selectively used the sections of the selvages that had the most color. These two selvage strips were topstitched and then the whole process was repeated until the entire piece of interfacing was covered.

Using the walking foot

I love how the selvages look when they are all sewn together!!

The finished selvage panel

I’ve seen projects such as slippers, wallets and quilts made with panels constructed with selvages but this week we’re going to be turning this panel into a project bag with vinyl, see-through pockets!

Tomorrow we’ll use the NQ900 to add features such as the handles and the clasp and I’m going to try out one of the machine’s very cool features – sideways stitching!! See you tomorrow!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1:  4 more reasons to love the amazing NQ900 from Brother

Go to part 3: How to sew on a turn clasp to your quilted bag projects

Related posts

5 quick steps to calculate yardage for quilt backing [3 styles]

4 steps to adding a floating block border to your quilt top [easy tutorial]

4 tips for adding flying geese blocks to a border with the Brother NQ900


Claudia-Iaia March 1, 2021 - 3:16 pm
In Italian we call it la cimosa and we never cutting it off when we sew an item of clothing. I am shocked. Why are you taking them off?
Carla A. Canonico March 1, 2021 - 4:32 pm
Ciao Claudia, buona domanda! Here's the thing with selvedges, as per one of our quilters, Claire Haillot,...typically a selvedge is used to move the fabric on the 'printing press', as you might imagine. There are little nails that hold the fabric onto the printing belt, so the selvedge is woven more tightly to ensure the fabric portion intended for sewing and quilting doesn't get damaged by the nails. By the same token, it also means that the printing, curing, and all the other textile processes aren't properly made on the selvedge either, which means that in the long run the print on the selvedge might not show up the same or as nicely as the rest of the fabric meant to be used for sewing. So, as in this post, we tend to love and keep our selvedges. A project made of only selvedges will not have any distortion, as in, being sewn together with other fabric that isn't woven as tightly as the selvedge. Tante grazie per averci visitato!
Anna brown March 12, 2019 - 10:20 pm
Very cool idea will half to give this a go ty.
Jannette B. April 4, 2018 - 12:34 pm
I've been saving selvages for a long time - but I wasn't sure just what I wanted to do with them. This looks like a great project - so I'm off to grab my bag of selvages! Thanks for the inspiration!
Carla A. Canonico April 4, 2018 - 12:40 pm
Yes! Thank you for sharing!
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