Monday, July 27, 2015

Selvage Along: Selvage Strip Pillow Tutorial

Hi all! Today's the first tutorial as part of the Selvage Along. Read on to make your very own Selvage Strip Pillow. It's fun and easy, and don't be afraid to delve into your stash *just* so you can cut some selvages off your fabric (I've done it - no shame). :)

Finishes at 18.25" x 18.25" for a standard 18" x 18" pillow form
  • 20-25 selvages cut 1.25" width away from the end of the text* ** (about 1.75 total width) - and at least 18" long (most half yards and fat quarters will be at this length)
  • Sewing machine
  • Universal needle (easiest to sew selvages with - they are a heavier/tougher fabric than quilting cotton)
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter and ruler
  • Iron and ironing board 
  • 1.75" wide white fabric - 2 - (13" long) strips and 2 (18.5" long)
  • Batting for middle  - 19 x 19
  • Optional - Muslin for back of pillow front (behind batting) - 19 x 19 
  • Half yard of backing fabric OR 2 fat quarters of different fabrics
*You may need more selvages if yours are cut smaller width-wise, or less if they are cut bigger. I am told I cut mine bigger than most sewists. I do this so that I can save some of the prints for projects like this! You can make this project with ANY size selvages - they can even be various sizes! Anything goes. Just have fun. :)

**For my pillow, I chose two colors to focus on (blue and green) plus four "low volume" selvages to quiet them a bit. I dispersed them randomly within the pillows (see two pictures below).  


1. Press your selvages. It will be much easier to sew them together, promise!

2. Sew the selvages together just as you would fabric (right sides together) - just make sure the words are facing all the same way. I use an 1/8th of an inch seam to make sure that the words show as much as possible. Pin, go slowly, and yours will come out beautiful! You can use a 1/4th inch seam if you wish, but you probably won't see all of the words. You do NOT need a foundation behind them to piece these.

3. Sew them together until you have pieces roughly 13" x 18". Trim to 13" x 15". Again, feel free to add as many selvages as you need to get to these numbers.

4.  Slice BOTH pieces into 3" strips. You should have a little sliver of a scrap to throw out.

Soooo pretty. Sigh. I love color.

  5. Arrange the selvage strips so that there are three of each in the middle, alternating like so (see picture below). Really, you could do any design. Feel free to experiment! Sew the 6 middle strips together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press open. Your top should be at 13" x 15.5."

 6. Add a 1.75" white border around the middle selvages, sewing with a 1/4 inch seam. I did this to break up the busy-ness of the fabric. Add the two sides on first, then the top and bottom. Make sure you press!

7. Sew on the extra selvage strips to the top and bottom as seen above (I sewed two green and two blue together, and cut off the scraps). You will also need to cut down the outer selvage strips a little bit when putting your pillow together, but just wait until you are adding the back.


7. Layer with batting and muslin behind your pillow top and quilt as desired. I like to have three layers because it makes the pillow more sturdy (plus, if you ever want to wash the covers, you won't have to worry about your batting being exposed).

I decided to quilt using a wavy walking foot motif (inspired by the lovely Melanie Tuazon).

The following directions for finishing the pillow are taken from my Gentle Improv Waves Pillow Tutorial:

To make the envelope pillow back:

Cut two pieces of fabric 11" x 18.5" and 13.5" x 18.5." The larger one will be on top of your pillow back. Make sure if they are directional prints that you lay them out first to ensure they face the right way!

Fold the bottom of the top piece over twice at a quarter of an inch, press, and sew along the edge. Do the same for the top of the bottom piece. This way, you will encase the raw edges in a "hem."

To make the pillow:

Place the pillow top face up. Place the longer part of the back face down, then the smaller part face down (they will overlap). Pin all the way around and sew 1/4" from the edge. I like to back stitch where the overlaps are for increased security. You can snip the corners if you'd like to reduce bulk.
Flip the pillow right sides out, stuff in an 18" pillow form, and you are done!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! If you make one, please share with me and if you blog about it, please include a link from here.   :)
Join us next Monday for another selvage tutorial. Happy Sewing!
Selvage Along Schedule:

Selvage Along Schedule
July 20 - Intro post
July 24 - Selvage storage/collection linkup
July 27 - Selvage Strip Pillow Tutorial by Jess @ Quilty Habit
<<<You are here!
August 3 - Anna Maria Horner Selvage Feathers Tutorial by Renee @ Quilts of a Feather
August 10 -  Selvage Zippy Pouch Tutorial by Chris @ Made by ChrissieD + mid-way/check-in linky on both blogs
August 17 - Selvage Binding Tutorial by Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
August 24 - Project by Vera @ Negligent Style
August 31 - Project by Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts
Sept. 7 - Selvage Churn Dash Project Share by Helga @ Cluckin' Pineapple 
Sept. 14 - Tutorial round up on both blogs
July 24 - Linky - selvage projects on both blogs
Sept. 21 - Last linky party- link up all your selvage projects!


  1. Lovely! I like the motion the quilting give the pillow, too. :) I really like that each selvage is a bit different width so they strips don't line up perfectly in the center.

  2. I thought maybe they were improv-curve pieced, but now just the quilting! I totally need one of these for my sewing room. Thanks for posting this today!

  3. I thought maybe they were improv-curve pieced, but now just the quilting! I totally need one of these for my sewing room. Thanks for posting this today!

  4. Super cute pillow! Thanks for the tutorial. Besides the great quilting I'm noticing your Oliso iron. It's on my want list!

  5. Such a cute and fun pillow. Maybe I should try one?

  6. Simple design made fab with a strong quilting design - looks great Jess - Chris :D

  7. Wow, from the thumbnail pic I clicked on I had no idea this involved selvedges! Thanks for the tutorial, I love learning methods like this.

  8. Very great use of your selvages! I had no idea when looking at the photo.

  9. cute pillow! I have never used my selvedges before, but maybe a small project like this would be a good start :) I really love the quilting on this!!

  10. Very cute pillow! I like how you narrowed down the colors so it's more cohesive. :D A little more friendly towards non-quilters that way, you know, like husbands. :)

  11. Hi Jess! Your pillow is sew cute! I saw it highlighted over at Needle and Thread Thursday!


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