Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jargon of the Week - Selvage defines selvage as:
sel⋅vage [sel-vij]

1. the edge of woven fabric finished so as to prevent raveling, often in a narrow tape effect, different from the body of the fabric.
2. any similar strip or part of surplus material, as at the side of wallpaper.
3. Also called margin. Philately. the surplus paper or margin around a sheet of stamps: The number of the plate block appears in the selvage.
4. a plate or surface through which a bolt of a lock passes.

Also, selvedge.

1425–75; late ME, resp. of self + edge, modeled on MD selfegghe (D zelfegge

The easiest way to find the selvage on a piece of fabric, is to look for the writing. Commercial fabric has the fabric line, artist, color information, fabric name, year, etc. printed along one of the edges. That's the selvage.

When I prewash my fabric, it shrinks at different rates. Why?
Well, the selvage is a tightly woven strip along the side of a fabric. It's made this way to prevent fraying. Because it is so tightly woven, it shrinks at a faster rate than the rest of the fabric.

Now that you have a rough idea of how to find a selvage and what it is, come back next week to learn about what the grain of a fabric is and how to find it.

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