Saturday, December 11, 2010

Selvage Snowflake Tutorial

I've been making some selvage snowflakes to go in the background of my Selvage Snowman quilt in progress. I thought I'd post this tutorial in case anyone else wants to make some too. They'd also be cool in a little wall hanging, table runner, pillow cover ...
This tutorial will show my basic approach, but of course the most fun comes in improvising!!! So here we go ...
Cut a square of background fabric. For this example I used a 7 inch square of Kona cotton.

Mark a line down the middle of the square. I used a permanent laundry pen as it was all I had. Whatever you use typically use to mark your fabric is great.
Using your ruler and your judgment, mark two diagonal lines. Make sure they intersect in the center. If you like you can measure down from each corner to keep it all even, but for small squares I would say guess, wing it, freestyle it, you know ...
So, since this six point shape is your basic shape, you could stop here and move on to the step of applying the selvages, but in this example, let's get a little fancier.
Use your ruler to place a little mark out from the center of the snowflake onto each line. In my case, I measured 1.5 inches out onto each line.

Join the marked points as shown above. If you want to go even fancier, draw another set of lines evenly spaced above the first set.
Okay, so now to prepare the selvages. Trim your selvages so that just 1/4 inch of fabric is showing above the white selvage band.
Fold that little 1/4 inch bit of fabric to the back and press. (Try not to steam your fingers!) By the way, like my yucky ironing board? ;-)
Now the sewing part. All the little inside lines get sewn first. Cut each little selvage piece so it ends right along your intersecting line (Each end will be cut at a little angle. Just snip with your scissors.) When positioning it just before sewing, make sure your drawn line that the selvage is covering is centered underneath it.
Sew very close to the edge all around the whole piece.
Here's what the back will look like after several are sewn in place.

Keep covering all your little inside lines. Try not to overlap any selvages to keep the bulk down. Don't worry if your cut edges look a little rough, they will be neatly covered over soon and won't show!
Once all your little inside lines are sewn down, I would give the whole block a quick ironing.
Okay, now to cover those ratty edges. Carefully lay a selvage down the whole length of your first diagonal line. It really doesn't matter which diagonal line you sew first, but after doing a few of these, I find it looks nicest if you save your straight vertical line for last. I would also save the nicest selvage for last as the most of it will show.
And one more tip, if some of your selvages have a slightly wider white band than others, save them for these longer lines. The wider they are, the more of your messy edges will be covered making everything even more secure.
Sew. In this pic, I just have one side of the last selvage sewn down.
The back.
Press and trim! You may wish to trim a little extra bit off each of the vertical sides to make everything less boxy looking and make the snowflake spokes nice and even!
I also typically stay stitch the edge of the block where the selvages meet the edge.
Now make lots more!!
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Thanks so much for stopping by! If you make any of these, I'd love to see them! Also, please feel free to link to this tutorial if you'd like. Happy Quilting and Happy Holidays!


Anonymous said...

i like those snowflakes. eli and tess

Pinkadot Quilts said...

I love these and your banner is so cute.

Rachel's Quilts said...

Great snowflakes. I think I am going to have to try making them. Your selvage snowman is amazing!

Amy said...

thnaks for showing these!! I could whip some up as pot holders!

Morgan said...

These are so cute! Too bad I've thrown away so many selvages. Now I know better :)

savvy stitch said...

These are super cute!

Katie said...

Great idea! I love it.

Barb said...

It's official you are one of the cleverest gals I know!
these are wonderful - thanks for the step outs.
I'm working on liberated letters today, fun, and challenging.

jmbmommy said...

Awesome idea! These look fantastic!

mainer said...

Good tutorial and great idea. Thanks!

beth said...

THIS is such a great idea!!

FabricFascination said...

I love this, the tutorial is very easy to understand and the results are fab.

Mary Grace McNamara said...

What a clever use of selvages! Hard to imagine that we used to throw these away! Your snowman quilt is just too cute for words! Nice job!


Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Oh yay, I love it so much when I see something new, I mean really new - these snowflakes are just genius and so cute too and your blog header is totally and utterly brilliant.

Leila said...


Suzanne said...

Now I know the answer to the question: How did she do that?!

Just amazing!

Nora Buckley said...

Absolutely love these! Now I can combine 2 of my obsessions - snowflakes and selvedges!