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Selvedge Magazine

27 April 2010, 15:02

I’m glad so many of you have been enjoying my recent book reviews, but I’m sad to say this is my last for a while. Selvedge is technically a bimonthly magazine, but with the page count it’s really more of a mini-book, kinda how (no longer in print) Craft: magazine was.

But that’s where the similarity ends, because instead of a bunch of how-tos, Selvedge focuses on the celebration of fabric and textiles, with a bunch of really interesting articles. It’s total fabric porn, written and produced by a small band of dedicated enthusiasts, and I came away not only reading it cover-to-cover, but feeling like I’d learned so much from it. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a sewing/craft/fabric magazine or any magazine for that matter cover-to-cover! This was like 3 weeks’ worth of breakfast reading!

My scanner really doesn’t do these pages justice since the page size is bigger than my scanner size so a lot of cropping had to take place. The pages are nice and thick and the ink SMELLS amazing, so with the artistic layout, it really does feel like a treat to read.

This issue I have here is about quilting, but each issue focuses on something different in the world of textiles (the next one is “the romance issue” with lots of wedding stuff, hooray!).

This feature was celebrating the crisp cleanness of White fabrics. “Life is not an egg and spoon race”, indeed.

This was a fascinating article about 1920s Northern miner’s wives quilting to earn money when their husbands were laid off. The Rural Industries Board was set up to find the best quilters in the communities then put them to work sewing things like the Queen’s dressing gown and the coverlets for Claridge’s!

Check out the beautiful layout and design here – this article is about an Indian designer, but you can practically reach out and touch the fabric.

Here’s a portion of the article on Bengal quilts, which I never even knew existed! They recycled the worn white cloths of their clothes and pulled threads out of worn saris to embroider amazing designs on them, passing them down until they were threadbare and used as rags.

Each issue takes a topic is the textile/fabric realm and really goes in depth on every aspect of it. As you can tell from my site, I’m not much of a quilter, but even I found the articles in this issue to be totally fascinating – stuff you can curl up with like a good book.

V&A Quilts

And even more into the Quilting realm, Neighbour Moore and I met up with Nadia on Friday after work to go see the V&A’s Quilts Exhibition. The amount of detail and time and effort that went into the piecing and hand stitching of those quilts is just jaw-dropping, and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit. It was really great to see modern quilts interspersed with ones from the 18th and 19th centuries, and to learn about the British side of what is normally thought of as an American craft. I also really liked that a lot of the articles in this Selvedge issue (which I saw in the Exhibition giftshop along with a ton of specially-commissioned fabrics!) delved deeper into the quilts from the exhibition – so Natasha Kerr only got one quilt hanging up on the wall, but I got to find out so much more about her work in the magazine (and I see she’s doing a few events at the V&A, too).

Actually, speaking of events, one thing I really like about the V&A’s special exhibitions is that they always do a ton of extras surrounding it, too. So this Friday night they’re holding a whole night of special sewing-related courses and drinks and talks so you can go after work and see the galleries and geek out, too.

And a big shout out for Nadia, too, who’s running a free Patchwork Social all weekend long (and it’s a loooong weekend with the May Day bank holiday, too! yay!) where you just drop in, sew up a quilting block either by hand or machine with their fabrics, and it’ll be pieced into a giant quilt in the end!

While you’re there, there’s also the Grace Kelly exhibition going on right now, too, and right inside the entrance is the McCall’s dress she wore on the first night she met her prince, which is pretty cool! The exhibition itself is kinda small by V&A standards, but there are about 50-60ish dresses there spanning four decades with a ton of designer dresses in there, too. Great inspiration material, and if you’ve got any single male friends, take them along – it’s so chocka block with women going crazy over pretty dresses, handbags, Hollywood glamour, and real-life princesses, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel!

(oh, and I see that BurdaStyle are offering 20% off subscriptions to Selvedge magazine right now if your curiosity has been piqued!)



  1. Curse you!! I had made up my mind to ignore Selvedge because it’s so expensive! Now I am a subscriber!

    This just goes to prove that within the craft blogosphere I am the world’s most malleable person.

    Susannah    Apr 27, 04:29 PM    #
  2. I’m not at all into quilting, but this all looks fashinating. And I love the V&A!! I really have to plan my next trip to London to coincinde with one of their major fashion exhibitions (won’t have the opportunity to see this one… although maybe the Grace Kelly bit…)

    lauriana    Apr 27, 05:11 PM    #
  3. Not a quilt person, but the magazine looks interesting. I like the idea of it.

    Nancy k    Apr 27, 06:42 PM    #
  4. I know it’s a silly question, but where do you get these magazines? Where do you hear about them? Why did you decide to drop the subscription to Threads BTW? I come across it from time to time, and usually enjoy it (only ocassionaly, I’ve only bought it three times, only times I’ve seen it).

    — tg33    Apr 27, 08:37 PM    #
  5. I’ve seen Selvedge at Borders and/or Barnes and Noble in the US. It’s beautiful, but I just can’t bring myself to pay upwards of $25.00 (US) (or is it closer to $30.00? I can’t remember) for something that doesn’t have a proper binding. Too frugal by half, perhaps.

    Amazon (US) offers a subscription of six issues for $115.00 (roughly $20.00/issue), but no individual copies.

    Noile    Apr 28, 12:19 AM    #
  6. Ooh, I’m going to the quilting and the Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A with friends on Saturday. Can’t wait!

    karen    Apr 28, 12:31 PM    #
  7. Noile – Yeah I totally understand on the price – even at £8.50 it’s definitely one of those magazines you flip through at the store, sigh, and put back on the shelf! It looks like the US subscription price direct from Selvedge is also $115, but with the BurdaStyle 20% off it’d take it down to $92. Still a lot for a magazine, I grant you, but if you think of it like 6 sewing books, it’s not quite as bad.

    Another option might be to just get the digital edition of the magazine for £25/year (roughly $38) but then you wouldn’t get the lovely ink smell or the ability to take it into the bath with you. :P

    tg33 – As for Threads, I enjoy some of the articles in it, but the clothes are just so frumpy and the whole thing is aimed at a much, much older woman and the few in-depth technique articles I enjoy (like Kenneth King’s recent series) are all online anyway. But the main reasons I’m stopping my subscription are a) the price went up HUGELY from 2 years ago due to the exchange rate, b) I find I hardly ever refer back to my issues of Threads, unlike all my pattern magazines, and c) their “hard sell” renewal approach REALLY REALLY PISSED ME OFF! For the last 6 months of my subscription they bombarded me with renewal notices, that, when I opened them up inside, didn’t even tell me how much the renewal was with international shipping. So if they don’t bother to realise that in every country outside the US, this bombardment approach is super rude and not even to notice that my address is outside the US and send me the appropriate letters, then why should I give them my money? I know sewing magazines are few and far between, but I’d rather support one that isn’t quite so rude in their business practices.

    Sorry for the rant! You asked… ;)

    melissa    Apr 29, 10:42 AM    #
  8. I love Selvage and use to read it cover to cover with is odd for me, I don’t like to read. I miss it greatly, I use to house sit and the owner subscribed.

    Malissa Long    May 3, 11:37 PM    #

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