How To Choose Quality Quilting Fabric Using Selvage Markings

Posted by Judy Taylor on

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.

The edge of the fabric with printed information is called the selvage.  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!

Quality quilting fabric will have several color markings in the selvage (usually 8-12).  If you find a fabric that has less than 3 color markers in the selvage, it doesn't necessarily mean that the fabric is poor quality, but it is a warning that it will be hard to find other fabrics to match that particular fabric for your project.

When cutting up your fabric for your project, save those selvages with the selvage markings.  You can use those selvage scraps to make smaller projects like zipper pouches and make-up bags....

Or sew them together to make quilt blocks.  

You might be surprised at what bright a beautiful quilting projects these selvages can make.

The number of color markings in a selvage can help you choose good quality quilting fabric.  But there are 3 other ways to test for good quality fabric.


On the end of each bolt of fabric, look for the name of manufacturers and distributors who are continually offering quality quilting fabrics from talented designers.  You can always trust companies like.....


With quality fabrics, you should not be able to clearly see the print pattern of the fabric on the back of the fabric.  It should be whited out somewhat leaving a blurry look on the back of the fabric.  Fabric that looks the same on the back as it does the front is usually not good quality fabric.  Of course, this see through test excludes batiks which are printed on both sides.


And of course, you can always tell good quality quilting fabric by the feel.  If the fabric feels thin or stiff from over-dying, it's probably not a good quality fabric.

So remember the 4 rules of quality fabric when shopping for fabric for your next project.....selvage color markings, manufacturer, see through test, and the feel.  And don't throw away those selvage scraps, but instead turn them into bright and beautiful quilting projects.

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