For those who have even a passing desire for raw denim, you’ve probably heard the term Selvedge more than a few times. No, it doesn’t make reference to somebody that vends lettuce, selvedge refers to the way a textile has been woven. You can spot selvedge denim by the tell-tale colored lines that often run along the outseam of a pair of jeans, but precisely what does that mean?
Selvedge goes by a lot of spellings (selvage, self-edge, salvage) however it all equates to exactly the same thing-the self-binding side of a fabric woven on a shuttle loom. That definition may seem somewhat jargony, but trust me, all will soon sound right. It’s also important to note that selvedge denim will not be exactly like raw denim. Selvedge describes how the fabric has become woven, whereas raw refers back to the wash (or lack thereof) on the fabric itself.
How is Selvedge Denim Made? So that you can know how manufacturers make selvedge denim factory, we first have to understand a bit about textile manufacturing generally speaking. Just about all woven fabrics are comprised of two parts with two parts: warp yarns (those that run up and down) and weft yarns (the ones that run side to side).
To weave a fabric, the loom holds the warp yarns in place whilst the weft yarn passes between the two. The real difference between selvedge and non-selvedge fabrics is actually all a matter of just how the weft yarn is put into the fabric. Up until the 1950s, almost all denim was produced on Shuttle Looms. A shuttle loom is a weaving textile loom which uses a little device known as a shuttle to fill out the weft yarns by passing forward and backward between each side in the loom. This leaves one continuous yarn whatsoever the sides so the fabric self seals without any stray yarns.
Most shuttle looms produce a textile that is certainly about 36 inches across. This dimension is nearly perfect for placing those japanese selvedge denim seams on the outside edges of a pattern for a set of jeans. This placement isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, but practical along with it saves whoever’s sewing the jeans a couple extra passes on the overlock machine and ensures the jeans will not fray in the outseam.
The demand for more denim after WWII, however, soon forced mills to adopt mass-production technology. A shuttle loom can place about 150 weft yarns a minute on a 36 inch wide textile. A Projectile Loom, however, can place over 1000 weft yarns per minute on a textile that’s two times as wide, thus producing nearly 15 times more fabric in the same time span.
The projectile loom achieves its speed by firing individual (and unconnected) weft yarns throughout the warp. It is a a lot more efficient method to weave fabric, what’s lost though is the fact that cleanly sealed edge. Non-selvedge denim made by projectile looms has an open and frayed edge denim, because all the individual weft yarns are disconnected on sides. To make jeans from this type of denim, all of the edges have to be Overlock Stitched to keep the fabric from coming unraveled.
Why is it Popular Today?
Selvedge denim has seen a recent resurgence alongside vintage workwear styles from your 40s and 50s. Japanese brands enthusiastic about recreating the perfect jeans from that era went up to now concerning reweave selvedge denim in new and interesting ways. Now that selvedge denim has returned on the market, the tiny detail on the upturned cuff quickly became one of the “things to have”.
The selvedge craze has become so popular that some manufacturers have even resorted to knocking off of the selvedge look and producing fake selvedge appliques to mimic the colored lines on the outseam.
The overwhelming most of denim made today is open end and non-selvedge. You can find only xgfjbh number of mills left in the world that still take the time and energy to create selvedge denim.
The most well known is Cone Mills which includes produced denim from their White Oak Plant in Greensboro, N . C ., since the early 1900s. They’re also the last japanese denim manufacturer left in the usa. Other noteworthy mills include Kuroki, Nihon Menpu, Collect, Kaihara, Kurabo, Nisshinbo, and Toyoshima, all of these will be in Japan, Candiani and Blue Selvedge in Italy. Almost all the artisanal denim brands will specify which mill their denim is coming from, so look for the names mentioned above. The improved interest in selvedge, however, has prompted many mills in China, India, Turkey, and elsewhere to produce it too. So it could be difficult to ascertain the way to obtain your fabric from lots of the larger brands and retailers.