Something about a selvedge edge

I adore selvedge edges. Wiki says that the term selvedge comes from the phrase “self edge.”  When material is woven, there is a natural edge where the thread ends on one row and then turns to create a new row.  If the fabric has a printed/stamped design rather than one that is created by the actual thread, there is often an edge about a half-inch wide running down the length of the fabric.   Sometimes, the name of the creator of the fabric is printed on that edge and sometimes the colors used in the fabric are also sampled there.

Selvedge edge of fabric

Some people  hoard  save these edges … thinking they might use them in future projects. Below are a few links to a few gorgeous projects from industrious, creative souls who did more than save … they created!

Here is a precious selvedge edge pin cushion!!  

Look at this beautiful purse created from selvedge edges.

And this oh-so-gorgeous skirt! 

I am one to “take things apart.” I like to figure out the hows, whys and whats of a situation, a conversation or a motivation. I like to know what’s behind, underneath or inside a machine, person or book. I want to understand what things do and how they do it.

Selvedge edge of fabric

For as long as I remember, I’ve been drawn to the selvedge edge of fabric.

A paisley selvedge edge - gorgeous.

It is there that, at a glance, you can learn the who, what and why of the fabric. The artist is often named there. How to care for the fabric may be printed. And a swatch of every color used in printing can be seen there … as well as the raw color of the fabric that the design is printed upon. So, that edge is a little index or glossary … succinct, easily accessible and bold.

Selvedge edge of fabric

Even some scrapbook paper has similar edging.

The "selvedge edge" of paper

This particular paper shows a snapshot of the design on the paper and the colors used in the image. Rather than having to pull the entire piece of paper off the rack, you can simply look at the edge to know if that sheet will work for your project.

Not all, but some papers offer color swatches there on the edge. So helpful!

Selvedge edge of fabric

I have not been one to save selvedge edges in the past, but plan to begin to do this in the future. Many of my fabric pieces go together well. I find myself preferring earth tones of burgundy, rust, and olive. I love any shade of brown  … from the faintest off-white ecru to the deepest forest umber.  So the fabrics that I have on hand will mix well together. I think I’ll save and see what I might be able to create in the future.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if people were more easy to read … if at a glance, we could see their colors … laid out from dark to light in a nice tidy row …. easy to find there on the edge of their bolt? It sometimes feels as though some people hide their raw edges … even cut them off and hide them away or toss them … that no one might know the true colors stamped on the fabric of their being.

Selvedge edge

You know, we have the power to make something beautiful from the fabric of our lives. We cannot change the images that have been stamped upon us, but we can certainly take that fabric and create something beautiful. We have the ability. But, this job takes creativity. It takes a willingness to look at the design and consider which parts we want to keep. It takes energy. And surely …  the job will at times …. be painful.

What images are stamped upon your life?
Were you sexually abused in the past?
Were you spoken to in a way that made you feel less than?
Were you the child in the family that had to behave as an adult because no one else would or could?
Were you made to feel that the bad thing that happened … was your fault?
Were you the one ostracized because you shared the tough stuff when everyone else hid it?

The pains can be used for good! They were hard. They left you wounded. But, if you can carefully look at them, you can see good that came. You became stronger. You learned who to trust. You learned how and when to set boundaries to protect yourself and those you love. You became wise. And because you walked through those valleys, you can offer others direction on how to manage similar difficulties.

Maybe you’re still in that tough space. Maybe you’re still learning what to do with the messes and how to work your way through it. It’s hard … but it can be done.

God can heal those wounds. He can help you through that tough stuff. He can take the fabric with its picks and flaws and messy images and help you to use the fabric to create a beautiful garment that you can be proud to wear.

And maybe you don’t believe that. Maybe you don’t have the energy to trust again.
Maybe you don’t know how … or you don’t really want to know.

Maybe then … you could just start with the prayer,
“Lord, would you please give me the d.e.s.i.r.e to move from the hurt
and on to healing … because from right here … right now ….
I don’t have the energy to care. Would you please help me to care again?”

It’s a start.

It is tough work, but it can be done.

I’m working through these things. I’m looking at my raw edges. I’m looking at the printed pattern. I’m using my sharp sewing scissors and my lovely pinking shears to cut away patterns that I no longer want. I’m zig-zagging, straight stitching and embellishing my way into a new beautiful garment. And in all this omitting and re-arranging, there will still remain a beautiful selvedge edge somewhere to keep me grounded in the Creator of my fabric and the glorious colors used to decorate my being.

Selvedge edge

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