A “selvage” is the long, finished edge of the fabric. It spans the length of the fabric. Most fabric companies will use the selvage to print the name and designer of the fabric and you might also have a series of coloured dots showing on the selvage. These are the colours found in the fabric’s print and this can be very helpful for matching fabrics.
Try to keep the info from the selvage until your project is completed. If you run out of fabric in the middle of a project, this information can help you track down some additional fabric.
Most quilting cotton fabrics are milled on looms that create fabric that is 45 inches wide including the selvage. To accommodate variances and shrinkage, assume a 40-inch fabric width.
Lately, it’s quite trendy to save and collect selvages from various fabrics to create projects. Fabric designers are including more and more decorative elements such as images, script and colour dots on selvages. I bet that even if you aren’t into collecting these narrow strips of fabric, there is probably someone in you sewing group who would love to be gifted with your selvage pieces. It’s amazing what can be created with them!