Friday, 22 January 2016

Salvage those selvedges!

As sewists and quilters we don't throw much away. We are a bit famous for that! Small scraps of everything go into ever smaller gradings until we are left with cotton fluff and some harder core members of the community will save even that to stuff dolls in the traditional old fashioned way.


Saving scraps is virtuous and it is what crafting is really all about. Somehow we have lost our way a bit and we want coordinated projects with purpose bought fabric and everything matching.

Nothing wrong with that and I would be a hypocrite if I said that I wasn't nuts about lovely fabric just like the rest of the world's sewists. However, have you ever noticed how beautiful selvedge edges and be? Look at some of these...


Now not all selvedges are great looking but if you buy high quality fabrics, you should hit the jackpot every time - I would go so far as to say that an attractive and usable selvedge may be a sign of the quality of the fabric.

Some manufacturers have gone one step further and in recognition of sewists and quilters using the edges to squeeze every drop of value out of a fabric purchase, they have started making the selvedges special too. Got to applaud this move!

Well then, will all that said, what can we do with selvedges and how do we salvage them so that they are usable?

For a start, when you buy fabric, buy the best quality that you can so that you actually get a selvedge! The next thing to do is not to cut it off too narrowly. This would be less than ideal....


If you cut it too narrowly, you will have no seam allowance and you loose some of the selvedge.
I know that the main aim is to use the actual fabric as much as possible but if you cut the selvedge too narrow, you are missing out on your bonus gift from the fabric manufacturer! No cut it with about 2-3 cm of fabric like this....


Now you have something to work with. Find yourself a basket or a container and each time you buy fabric, put the selvedge in and when you have a collection, you can make anything - a search of Pinterest will show you what I mean.

In the interest of keeping this simple, today we are going to make a pot holder using a quilt as you go method and selvedges. It looks clean and modern and it is very easy.....


So what do we need:
a collection of selvedges
22 cm x 22 cm 272 Thermolam wadding from Vlieseline
23 cm x 23 cm backing fabric
coordinating bias binding
And that's it!

And how do we go about it?

Begin by sorting through your selvedges and planning your next move. This project will involve sewing the selvedges on diagonally so make sure that the longest is 32 cm long. You can cut some of the longer ones and use them somewhere else.

Lay the backing fabric down with the wrong side up....


Place the wadding over the top of it....


Pin the bottom right hand bit which is out of the way (we will begin working in the top left hand corner)....


Notice that the selvedges have a finished edge and a raw one (where you have cut)? Choose the nicest bit of the selvedge; usually the bit with the printing on it and lay the machined edge to the top left...


Sew the top left hand corner only.


Now add another one, aligning it nicely and covering the raw edge from the previous one. This is important in the quality of the finished item.


Keep adding strips in this way, selecting nice ones and aligning them well. Some may be thicker than others and this is okay too. this project is designed to evolve and be absolutely unique. It would be very difficult for anyone else in the world to have a pot holder exactly the same as yours!


Keep going until it is time to remove some pins... 


Take the pins out, keeping the back very smooth as you go (your walking foot will help here). This is what it will look like when it is covered completely.....turned ninety degrees for reasons known only to myself!


Trim it back to 22cm x 22cm or thereabouts. It is up to you how big or small you want it. I need a slightly larger one for larger pots but it is your pot holder.


Here it is from the back, all quilted....


But I want round corners on mine. This is optional and you can bind with mitred corners...


If you go down the rounded route, grab something suitable (I am using a bangle) and trace around it then trim the corners....


I have made my bias binding from the same fabric as the back. Make a hanging tab from some of the leftover bias binding...


Then bind your pot holder....


 Slip the tab in the back seam as you bind...


And there we go! A nice pot holder which is functional and practical and best of all, made mainly from pieces that less enlightened people throw in the rubbish!.


Change the way you look at your scraps forever and don't forget to have a look for more ideas on Pinterest. You can make anything from slippers to a quilt or bag!

This little project was made on my lovely new Janome Horizon MC8200QCP Special Edition and frankly I am more than a little bit in luuurve! When I have trained myself up a little bit more, I shall tell you all about it.



See you next time!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx