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.
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!)