One of the most popular terms in the world of Raw Denim is ‘Selvedge’. The term Selvedge (also known as Selvage) relates to the (Self-)Edge of the fabric, which means that the Edge of the fabric is bound by itself. Selvedge denim is produced on Shuttle Looms and has a maximum width of about 30”.
Warp & Weft
Selvedge denim is a woven fabric constructed by a warp and a weft. The Warp is a vertical yarn (mostly indigo dyed in the classic jeans ). The Weft is a horizontal yarn (natural colour in the classic jeans). To construct the fabric you need to weave the Warp and Weft together with a Shuttle Loom.
The Shuttle Loom is a weaving machine. The Warp is set in the loom, and the shuttle carries the Weft yarn across and interlacing the Warp. The shuttle carries the weft back and forth and it ends the edges of the fabric by itself without unravelling. The term Selvedge is based on these finished edges. The edge of the fabric is usually finished with a different color thread. In the beginning the colored threads were instored to identify the mill or the brand, but nowadays it is mainly for aesthetic reasons.
The Shuttle Loom creates imperfections and inconsistencies, these imperfections give the fabric character and an unique texture. Selvedge denim has a tighter and denser weave compared to non-selvedge denim, which makes the fabric sturdier. Generally Selvedge denim means high quality denim, although there are many factors that can potentially affect the quality.
Because of the maximum width and the speed of weaving, it is way more expensive to produce Selvedge denim than regular denim. For the construction of one pair of Selvedge jeans you need double the number of fabric compared to non-selvedge jeans. This explains why Selvedge denim comes with a price. Buying a pair of Selvedge denim buys you quality, authenticity and durability.