Quick & Easy Selvage Project & Quilt Show Tips

A lot of people ask me what they should bring to International Quilt Festival, especially the massive Houston show. It's such a big scene, just attending the show is like planning for a trip. Here is my suggested checklist:

  • Comfortable walking shoes. A must!
  • Business or Moo cards to share with other artists to stay in touch after the show.
  • At least one memory card for camera and extra set of batteries to take pictures of quilts, friends, and happenings.
  • A wish list and money to buy stuff in the Quilting Arts booth.
  • Your smart phone, to follow Quilting Arts on Twitter and keep track of our Tweet Ups for door prizes and photo opportunities while on the show floor.
  • Hand stitching supplies for late-night stitch fests with your fellow art quilters. Be sure to include a pincushion, like this made from those selvage edges that are too pretty to part with. It's from the new issue of International Quilt Festival/Quilt Scene.selvage pin cushions

Selvage Edge Pincushions
By Cindy Wiens

(Finished size 4½" x 4½")


  • Assorted fabric selvages, approximately 1 ½" × 5½" (You will need about 4-6 selvage strips for one pincushion.)
  • Scrap fabric for the foundation, 5" × 5"
  • Fabric for the back, 5" × 5"
  • Bias tape piping, 25" length
  • Zipper or piping sewing machine foot
  • Approximately 1 cup of crushed walnut shells, rice, or sand (Walnut shells are often used as bird litter and are sold at pet stores or online.)


1. To make the front of the pincushion, position a selvage strip across the foundation fabric, 1⁄2"-3⁄4" from the lower edge, so that the finished edge of the selvedge is toward the bottom. Sew the selvage strip in place, stitching close to the finished edge.

2. Position the next selvage strip on the foundation fabric with the lower edge overlapping the upper raw edge of the first strip. Sew the second strip in place close to the finished edge.

3. Continue sewing selvage strips in place until the foundation is covered. Trim the selvage ends even with the foundation fabric edges.

4. On the right side of the pincushion front, use a zipper foot or a piping foot to sew the piping along the edge.

5. Pin the pincushion front to the back with right sides together. With the front side up, stitch the squares together along the piping stitching line, leaving a 3" opening in the center of 1 edge.

6. Turn the pincushion right-side out and press, pressing under the seam allowances along the opening.

7. Fill the pincushion with crushed walnut shells. Pin the opening closed, then slipstitch it closed. For added strength, sew first in 1 direction, and then in the other.

If you can't make it to IQF/Houston, then all you have to pack is your issue of International Quilt Festival/Quilt Scene. It captures the flavor and vitality of the show, plus a gallery of 25 world-class quilts and 25 quilted projects to make. It's the next best thing to being there!

Now, I'm off to find that Carmen Miranda hat!

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2 thoughts on “Quick & Easy Selvage Project & Quilt Show Tips

  1. I was just thinking that I could use all of those short pieces of bias that are left over from my quilting projects to make piping to edge these pincushions.

  2. If you’re making pincushions for a swap or for a friend, or even for sale, be careful of using walnut shells (or any nut shells!)to fill them. There are many people (me included!) who are allergic to walnut shells. Just a heads up.