Ok, so are you quite as sad as me? Those lovely fabrics we invest in. You wander around the shop, reaching out a hand to stroke lightly across the smooth cotton surface. Home your purchase comes (always a little more than you intended, just in case, yes?)
Finally, and this can be after several weeks (months/years), the new project is to begin. Ohh the excitement, the planning, the cruising of Pinterest or magazine pattern surfing. The first cut and you’re off. But, what about the selvedges? Some are so pretty these days they are almost a waste to put them in the bin. So, you cut them off and put them to one side. What can we do with them?
Well, I’ve used them for many different projects. I even have fellow quilters saving them for me, especially if they have, as is becoming more common, a more interesting design. Bunnies, stars, rockets; you can expect anything these days. But what to do?
When cutting selvedges off my main project fabric I do, I confess, cut a little more fabric these days to gain a bit of pattern with the selvedge. This gives a little more play with any future use and won’t impact on your quilt you bought the fabric for in the first place. Hey, we’re getting two for one! I now pop them to one side, waiting until I have enough to play with. Smaller ideas include pin cushions, mug rugs or candle mats. Larger ideas include table runners, cushions or even full quilts. A great idea (I’ve not tried yet but it’s another on the list) is to make individual blocks. How to? I hear you ask. I tend to take a foundation piece of fabric such as plain cotton, but you could use something like stitch and tear, and then place the strips, one at a time, across the surface, sewing each in turn. And here’s where you can have a bit of fun – use your decorative stitches on your machine. Zig zag, flowers, hearts, stars; whichever you want, just ensure you catch the edge of the selvedge as you go. Different threads can also add a bit of sparkle and who doesn’t like a bit of sparkle?
The other thing you can do is to select your fabric carefully, just like for a quilt. My dad always said poor planning makes for poor performance (or something very similar.) Think about saving all your reds and greens for a Christmas item. Pretty Easter colours for Easter egg shaped mats. Make a larger square of selvedge pieced fabric and then cut them to shape. There really are many ways to use those selvedges.. After all, that’s what Patchwork is all about – the original reuse and recycle craft.