Tip: Trim Your Knit Selvages Before Cutting Your Pattern

I just love sewing with knits, and they are a staple in my wardrobe. Here’s a little hint that will make your knit sewing super successful. I notice this especially with rayon knits, though it also manifests in other fabrications. If you look at the selvages of knit fabrics, you will often see a “cupping” effect. The fabric curves at the selvages, because of the finishing the mill uses. This isn’t a defect. It’s an artifact of the milling process. But it can pull your fabric and have deleterious effects on your finished garment. Check out the selvage on this knit that I just used today for a new top:

May cause some problems, dontcha think?

So what to do? Should you leave it alone and cut your pattern? Should you stretch it out and hold it down? Mmmm, in my experience, both of those are likely to distort the cut pattern piece. Instead, I cut off the selvages. This relaxes the rest of the fabric and eliminates any problems. And it’s easy as pie!

Same piece of fabric, not stretched at all

All it takes is about ¾ of an inch to release your fabric. It can actually free up several inches along the selvage, and it gives you great results. I used this today in my McCalls cowl neck top (to be reviewed shortly).

Happy sewing!

9 thoughts on “Tip: Trim Your Knit Selvages Before Cutting Your Pattern”

  1. Rhoda K says:

    Great tip – thanks!

  2. Angela says:

    Oh, I had read about doing this, then some others said not to, but now that someone I respect has said it is a good idea – I will try it very soon. Thank you! Sometimes those little tips can make a big difference.

  3. Kate McIvor says:

    Why didn’t I think of that? I always stretch the selvedges on the table with pattern weights. This idea is so much better!

  4. jsews says:

    Thanks for this great tip – I have tried it and it works just as you say!
    Also, I am wondering if I can share this tip with my ASG chapter in our newsletter, giving credit to you of course! Several of them are afraid of knits and this is one more tip to help them overcome that.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      I’d be delighted and honored to have you share it! I know that fear of knits (my mom instilled it in me), but once you conquer it, an entire wardrobe of possibilities opens up. 🙂

      1. jsews says:

        I love knits and need everything I can find to show them how easy it is. thanks so much! I am with the ASG Cape Fear Region chapter (Wilmington, NC)

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