THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

February 3, 2007

Save Those Selvages for Stabilizing

Filed under: Fabric,Tools — Gorgeous Things @ 2:02 pm

Many commercial patterns instruct you to use twill tape or seam binding to stabilize edges. I never seem to have either in my stash, and even when I buy these notions, they rarely come in the right colors for my projects. But there’s an easy, inexpensive alternative:
Save Those Selvages for Stabilizing
The selvage of a silk fabric.

In the case illustrated above, I used the selvage from a burnout silk chiffon. The selvage is very tightly woven, and provides stability to the waistline seam of a bias cut top that I’m working on. It’s important that you use the selvage of a tightly woven, stable fabric, like chiffon, organza or charmeuse. Crepe or similar fabrics will have too much stretch to provide the stability you need. But it’s inexpensive, and you can frequently find it sitting right in your stash.

Happy sewing!



  1. Ann, did you apply the strip to the upper bodice first and then sew the seam?

    Comment by lorna — February 4, 2007 @ 8:54 am

  2. Fantastic idea – Thank you!

    Comment by Marisa — February 4, 2007 @ 11:48 am

  3. Ann, that looks swell! Can’t wait to see the finished piece.

    Comment by georgene — February 4, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

  4. Lorna, that’s exactly what I did. Center the selvage over the upper bodice seamline and baste it in place. Then sew the upper bodice to the lower bodice and press the seam toward the upper bodice. -Ann

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — February 4, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  5. Just a note to expand upon the use of selvedge. In old-world tailoring, the selvege was used to stabilize the shoulder and the bridle of the suit, in addition to providing a heel guard to prevent ‘burn out’ from rubbing against the shoe.

    Comment by J C Sprowls — February 5, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  6. Ohhhh, JC, thanks for posting that tasty bit of info!

    Comment by Mary Beth — February 5, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

  7. Thanks, MaryBeth.

    Now, if I were as frugal as I let on, I’d say something like: “I never buy twill tape”. That’s a lie, though.

    The truth is, I buy it on the spool because the narrow fabric is so darn convenient. PS: I have it in white, grey, and black, too!

    Comment by J C Sprowls — February 7, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  8. I recently started using up my stash of 4mm silk ribbons to stabilize seams. The ribbon feeds up thru the needle plate hole, perfectly centered under the needle. It is all done in 1 step without pre-basting.

    Comment by MaureenTisch — February 8, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  9. Newbie twill taper question–would selvedge from cotton twill work? Methinks it’s too ravelly.

    Comment by Katharine — February 11, 2007 @ 5:53 am

  10. Katharine, I think you’re right – I think cotton twill is too ravelly. You want something that is very firmly woven. A firm woven cotton might work, but it also might add bulk. The beauty of silk organza or chiffon is its very lightness.

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — February 11, 2007 @ 8:25 am

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    Comment by SHAUNA RICHARD — May 31, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

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