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Forum > Beginner's Forum > MUST you cut off the selvage? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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MUST you cut off the selvage?
I can't believe it never occurred to me to wonder!
VolcanoMouse
VolcanoMouse
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Date: 7/13/12 8:14 PM

A friend casually mentioned to me that she always cuts off her selvages for fear that 1. they'll show if she stitches wrong, or 2. they'll warp in the wash. This stunned me: I've been leaving me selvages on-- and in many cases blessing them where they saved me the effort of finishing a seam-- since I started sewing. Oh lord. Have I been Doing It Totally Wrong?

I tried to Google the question, but most of what I found came from quilting forums. Is the answer the same for garment making?

marec
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Date: 7/13/12 8:18 PM

You are the designer and get to decide what to do with the selvage. I used the selvage in this jacket as a feature on the front jacket Some people save cool looking selvage and use as trim!!

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Elona
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Date: 7/13/12 9:24 PM

I always pre-wash my fabrics. That way, if the selvedge (or anything else) is going to misbehave, I know it before cutting into the fabric.

That said, I think there may have been five times in the decades I've been sewing when the selvedge went weird, and on those occasions, I either clipped it to release the tension--or just cut if off.

If your selvedges haven't been giving you any trouble, then you're not doing anything wrong (although, as I say, I do favor pre-washing to eliminate surprises).

CRUST
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Date: 7/13/12 9:31 PM

I have some vintage reproduction jeans with retained outseam selvedge and fairly narrow seam allowances that, with the unsaforized cotton, seem to have contributed to the legs twisting clockwise. I like it.

Vintage Joan
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In reply to VolcanoMouse <<
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Date: 7/13/12 9:32 PM

Quote:
Have I been Doing It Totally Wrong?

No.

I once posted on this site that I had cut off my selvages for some reason, and at least one person said, "Why would you do that?"

I don't cut off the selvages, but I try not to include any selvage fabric in my cut-out pieces, because they're a different weight than the rest of the fabric, and often more tightly stitched. I have sometimes lapped over into the selvage a tiny bit when I've been short of fabric, but as long as that little bit isn't as wide as a seam (i.e. won't accidentally be seen peeking out of a seam in the finished garment), it's fine.

-- Edited on 7/13/12 9:37 PM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

heathergwo
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Date: 7/13/12 9:37 PM

I agree with the others. I've NEVER cut off my selvages and never even thought about doing so. Why would you???

And like Vintage Joan, I've been thankful they are there a time or two as that last few millimeters allowed me to fully cut out a pattern piece knowing taht the selvege would be in the seam allowance and not ruin the garment.

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sings2high
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Date: 7/13/12 9:50 PM

I always prewash my fabric and I used to leave the selvage on, until the day a blouse that was selvage self-faced and fused down the front shrank progressively and unevenly, leaving me with a nasty looking mess down the front and the blouse was completely unwearable. So, yes, you can leave the selvage on, and most of the time it won't matter at all. But don't take the chance on really expensive fabric or if it's something that you are pretty sure you'll want to wear for a decade or so.

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Measure twice, cut once. While this saying is useful in many ways, I have no qualms about editing my posts.

UFOs completed in 2014: 1 - woohoo! finished my oldest UFO - an apron cut out in the mid-80s with a pattern from the mid-40s! and the bias binding promptly disintegrated in the wash! Ok, it was from my Great-Grandmother's stash, which means it was bought anytime from the 1910's to 1970's.
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Scrnme007
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Date: 7/14/12 0:32 AM

I do remember something about removing selvages in quilting, but in garment sewing I just avoid the selvage when cutting out the pattern pieces. Unfortunately, I too Have been short fabric and if I absolutely had too I'd use the selvage. It actually worked to my advantage when I had to cut my waistband along the edge .... I didn't have to finish that edge! But now I'm going to investigate further... it's probably better to take off the selvage so the edge weave isn't tighter than the core fabric. Thanks for the reminder!

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Lena Merrin
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Date: 7/14/12 2:26 AM

The only time I cut off the selvage is when I am working with some knits - the selvage gathers the fabric up.

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CM_Sews
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Date: 7/14/12 3:53 AM

In quilting, you want to cut off the selvedges because they are such a tight weave (compared to the rest of the fabric) that they would be difficult to quilt through, especially if you are quilting by hand.

In garment sewing, the selvedges can shrink differently than the rest of the fabric. I've prewashed and had selvedges that shrunk up smaller, "gathering" the edge of the fabric, and I've also had "wavy" selvedges that shrank less than the rest of the fabric, perhaps because the weave was more dense. If the selvedges are stable after prewashing, I may include them in a garment, depending on how the pattern pieces fit on the fabric.

There are no sewing police, so do whatever works for you. On the other hand, be aware that there is a chance you could have problems.

CMC

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