Decoding Selvage Markings

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Have you ever noticed the printing along the bottom edge of your fabric? Believe it or not, this printing can help with your projects! They’re not just branding for the manufacturer; they’re actually a series of clues and quick tips to help you pair up fabrics for a bigger project.

Unlock the mystery of your selvage markings along the fabric edge. These colored spots can actually help you coordinate fabrics for your project. The Sewing Loft

The edge of the fabric with printed information is called the selvage (also spelled selvedge). It normally has the name of the fabric or line it’s from, the designer or manufacturer, and a series of colored circles. The color markings highlight shades within the print and make it easy for YOU to find similar shades to bring into the project mix. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish one shade from another within the actual pattern of the fabric, so the selvage marking makes it easy by pulling out the individual shade. Think of it like paint swatches for the fabric project, or the individual crayon colors used to color this masterpiece!

Unlock the mystery of your selvage markings along the fabric edge. These colored spots can actually help you coordinate fabrics for your project. The Sewing Loft

To make the most of your fabric, hold up this selvage edge with its colored markings to another fabric’s selvage. If two of the colored dots appear to be the same, then the colors might work well together in your project. This is also a great way to choose a solid or tonal fabric print for your project – simply match up the color of the solid or tonal to the color of one or more dots from your patterned fabric’s selvage edge. And there you have it – a perfect match!

Once you’ve used your selvage to help you in this project, you can actually save it for a project all on its own! We’ve put together a list of over 25 projects you can make with the actual cut-off selvage edges from your fabrics. Check it out!

Ever looked at the edge of your fabric and think how pretty the markings are? Well, this list of 25+ Fabric Selvage Projects will make you wish you've saved them. The Sewing Loft


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  1. anneweaver1974 says

    Great post! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post that links to your selvage posts here: –Anne

  2. sewnbyashley says

    Ohhhh I love the selvage projects idea!

  3. Virginia Cofty says

    I am trying to purchase more fabric that I made a gift from and all I have is a small piece with the selvage and it has bicycles on it. I was hoping to get the designer from that in order to locate the fabric. I can’t recall where I purchased it.Any info would be appreciated. Thanks Virginia

    • Hello Virginia,
      I am not sure what fabric you have but if you bring the selvage to your local shop they might be able to help you.
      Or you can share a picture of it on my Facebook page and perhaps someone will recognize it.

  4. Monica Johnson says

    Can anyone tell me why a cotton like fabric is marked “not intended for children’s sleepware” along the selvage edge?
    I’m not connected to a website but should would appreciate an emailed explanation

    • Hello Monica,
      That is a great question. Cotton fabric is not labeled for children’s sleepwear due to flammability issues. I hope that helps when making your fabric selection.

  5. Sandra Genyry says

    Wow! I’ve been sewing for over fifty years and didn’t know this. I always thought the dots were just some code for the manufacturer. Very helpful information because getting the color palette right has always been a struggle for me. Thanks!