Sunday 1 June 2014

Snazzy Selvedge Storage

I have been collecting selvedges for quite some time now as you can see from this overflowing basket. Over the years I have struggled when throwing out scraps & selvedges but decided one day - no more - why not keep them & find some creative ways to use them. So, here is a tutorial for using selvedges to make some colourful storage containers.
The tutorial is for the oval shaped container, but the principles of construction apply to the other shapes as well.

Materials Needed:
Selvedges (need to have at least 1" of fabric on them & more effective if it's the part with the words)
Fabric to attach selvedges to (base fabric).
Wadding or pellon - I used a stiff bag lining so the containers would stand up
Fabric for lining
Equipment Needed:
Rotary cutter & mat
Sewing machine (normal foot, 1/4" foot & walking foot when sewing with the wadding)
Needle & thread

Audition your selvedges (if desired) = I used pink tones for oval & square container & bright bolds for the pencil tin. Can be selvedge with wording or selvedge with full colour. 
Iron selvedge pieces - can spray starch if desired.

Decide on size of finished container which guides which sized selvedge block to use in construction. The choice is yours depending on what you want to use your container for. By using squares to design the containers, you end up with a chevron pattern forming when you join the squares together.
For the oval one I made 4 x 5" squares, for the square one I made 4 x 6" squares, for the pencil tin I used a 5" x 11" rectangle. 
(Note: If you don't want to construct squares or a chevron pattern, you can simply attach the selvedges directly onto the wadding as in the pencil tin or base of each container.)

The oval bin:
Cut out 4 x 5" squares from the base fabric. If desired, draw a diagonal line on the base fabric as a guide for placing the selvedges on a consistent angle.
 Stitch selvedges on to base fabric one at a time. It is personal preference whether you leave any of the fabric showing or butt the selvedges up close together. (I couldn't resist showing the gorgeous pattern of each fabric)
Once you have sewn selvedges onto all 4 base squares, trim away excess fabric.
Layout the 4 squares to form a chevron pattern ensuring the wording of selvedge faces the same direction for each square.
Join squares with a 1/4" seam then attach the rectangular strip to the wadding with quilting- for this sized container I needed a wadding strip 5" x 18 1/2" (I quilted down seams & on the diagonal).  Then join short ends of quilted wadding with a 1/4" seam.
Mark out a base in desired shape (I used my 'bendy' blue curved ruler to mark out an oval the size of the joined strips.)
 Cut out base shape and attach selvedges directly onto the base piece, trim away the excess selvedge fabric.
Join the base and container together with a 1/4" seam, right sides together. For more detailed instructions on joining, check out my Easter Basket tutorial here.
Cut out lining base as per size used with wadding. For side lining piece, cut the same length as the quilted selvedge strip but 1/2" higher, (in this case I cut a lining piece 18 1/2" x 5 1/2". (The extra 1/2" is needed to form the trim on top when turned out)
Join the two short ends of the lining piece then attach to base shape, leaving a gap in base seam to allow turn through of stitched container.
 Place liner inside the selvedge piece RIGHT SIDES together and stitch around the top.
Turn the container through the gap, then hand stitch the gap closed. (can do a narrow machine stitch if preferred.)
As you push the lining down into the container, you will find the extra 1/2" allowed in the lining piece forms a neat trim around the top of the container. I top stitched around the edge of the trim to give a neat finish (hint-easier to sew this if you have turned the container inside out for this step)

Turn container back through and you have a snazzy selvedge storage container!

Tips for square container & pencil tin:
When I made the square container, I quilted the joined selvedge squares on the seam & down the centre of each square, so when I attached the square to the base, I made the corners the centre of each selvedge square to give the chevron effect on each side of the container. The base for the square container is a 5 1/2" square. (base for a square container will be a 1/2" smaller square the squares used to attach selvedges too which allows for seam allowance when joining the side selvedge squares into the pieced strip).
 For the pencil tin, I simply attached the selvedge strips directly onto the wadding as I was making a simple rectangular shape with no chevron effect.
I hope you find this helpful and would love to see any selvedge storage you create.


  1. Thanks Robyn, great tutorial. Hugs.....

  2. Thanks Noela, try to put in as much detail as possible......took awhile but like it to be clear. :-)

  3. Great tutorial I can't wait to try it

  4. Thanks Lia, would love to see a photo when you've made one. :-)